Category Archives: Everest

The Best of 2014

I’ve been doing this for  2009, 2010, 2011,  2012 and 2013. How does 2014 stack up? While not without blips, it had some of the highest highs (literally).. When I look back on this year though, however, I will remember another amazing year on the road.

2014 will be characterized for me by the hospitality of so many people who took me in, cooked vegan dinners, showed me around their home towns, and just were genuinely nice. It’s a year that I’m very grateful to have had.

January 2014

Life of Pai

Life of Pai

Pai is one of my very very favorite places in the world. For me, it’s nearly a perfect town–filled with vegan cafes, surrounded by nature ( waterfalls, gorges, and hot springs) and moving at an easy pace of life. If I could move there tomorrow, I just might.

February 2014

Back to Kuala Lumpur

Back to Kuala Lumpur

February was a great month for me. I saw Ayutthaya and Sukkothai, spent some time on the resort island of Langkawi, and rediscovered Bangkok. The return to KL, where I stayed at my home away from home Agosto Inn, though, is what I’ll remember the most. KL is my favorite city in Asia and it remains a great place to wander for hours.

March 2014

The High Himalaya

The High Himalaya

The hardest hike of my life, but so incredible. 3 weeks in the Himalaya, with highlights including Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Ri, and thousands of Yak sightings.

April 2014

Kathmandu Tattoo Convention

Kathmandu Tattoo Convention

While not quite as low-tech as Burma, the Kathmandu convention does experience several power cuts a day.  It’s also great to walk out to the posh Yak & Yeti hotel, where international businessmen give the stink eye to the scroungy backpackers who trek in one weekend a year. I was lucky enough here to work with Nic Pretty Ink, who designed and delivered an Ent tattoo in less than ideal working conditions.

May 2014

The tea plantations of Bali

The tea plantations of Bali

Though I didn’t really enjoy Indonesia, there are a lot of beautiful places there. I didn’t really have a camera during this time, only a 1 megapixel phone camera. So this picture does not do the reality justice. Another thing I do love about Bali is the preponderance of Hindu temples everywhere. They’re beautiful and unlike other temples I’ve seen.

June 2014

The almighty Trolltunga

The almighty Trolltunga

My first weekend in Norway was close to midsummer. My friends and I drove to the west coast in one of the most beautiful road trips I’ve ever been on. After some stealth camping on the side of the road, we got up, mountain biked to a hiking trail, hiked to a cliff, climbed a via ferrata up the rock wall, and then made our way to the Troll tongue (long one of the places in the world I most wanted to see). Just an average weekend for the hardy Norwegians, but for me truly one of the best experiences of my life.

July 2014

Rocking at Roskilde

Rocking at Roskilde

I’ve raved about the festival already, but it was a chance conversation with a Canadian and a Dane at about 13,000 feet up in Nepal that brought me there. Not only did I see bands like the Rolling Stones, Jack White, Stevie Wonder, Outcast, and Les Claypool, but I made so many awesome new friends.

August 2014

The Streets of Stockholm

The Streets of Stockholm

Of course, I shouldn’t have even been there. My plan was to go to the UK, Ireland, and France. I even had flight tickets and places to stay.  UK Immigration had other plans though and to be honest more time in Denmark and a chance to meet with friends in Sweden was a pretty awesome backup plan.

September 2014

Autumn in Portland

Autumn in Portland

I had just been back in Portland last summer, but lacking a proper autumn for years made the pumpkin crazy time so nice. Portland is so walkable and always changing and though I don’t get to NE that much, I do enjoy that area quite a lot.

October 2014

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

A grand road trip has to culminate with the Grand Canyon right? Though I saw Zion and Vegas and the redwoods and Lassen and Shasta, the Grand Canyon was damn impressive. I wasn’t really expecting it to be so vast and incredible and I’m so lucky to have finally seen it.

November 2014

Hiking the kalmiopsis with Mom and Storm

Hiking the kalmiopsis with Mom and Storm


 
A good deal of my time in the States was spent at my mom’s place in Southern Oregon, where we cooked, baked, played games, and went on lots of walks. This day, a hike with Storm the Wonderdog, was one of the best as we had chickpea salad sandwiches and dill pickle chips plus the day was so clear and beautiful.

December 2014

Olympic Park in Winter

Olympic Park in Winter

December should have been my first month on a 9 month contract in China, but I had to call an audible and ended up back in Seoul. Catching up with old friends and realizing that Seoul is sort of a second home to me–plus finally getting a real winter after years in SE Asia–made December a great month.

Everest Base Camp – Day 21 Salleri to Kathmandu

I was out the door by 4:10 in the morning.  This was best case scenario, but in true Nepali fashion it was merely to drive backwards, half-an-hour to the last town on the trail, over a dark bumpy road.  3 guys got in and all sat in the middle row, with me.  The back and front were entirely empty but there we were, 4 men needlessly pressed together.

By 5 we moved on and gained/lost people.  Now there are 3 people in every layer, save for the middle where we have 4.  At a quarter to 7 we stopped for a tea break.  It was light and the roads were swarming with people walking on their daily business.  As a night owl, it’s always nice for me to be up early in the morning.  Still it had been almost 3 hours on the road and we had, what, 12? 15? more.  We climbed back into the jeep and listened to hours and hours of very loud filmi music.

At 8:30 we changed jeeps.  The only bit of excitement before that was the guy behind me spewing all over the place.  It took some time to get going, but we all got back into the same places and eventually rumbled back down the mountain.

But progress was very stop-and-go.  Even when we went, it was slow, over new roads and through dusty river valleys.  But mostly we stopped as serious construction was taking place.  Lots of new bridges were nearly built and the road was paved in many areas.  We avoided all those and snailed along as quickly as we could.

Construction

Stopped for a good daal baht with a great potato curry around noon.  I was hope that are within 6 hours of Kathmandu.  We leave and drive through a long river valley.  It’s beautiful in an entirely different way than the mountains, hundreds of people, goats, water buffalo, children playing and swimming, and just so much life everywhere.

Road Building

But there’s so much construction too.  After lunch, we stopped easily 10 times to see a dump truck slowly loaded with rocks and dirt from caterpillars.  Each break took 15-20 minutes as busses, cars, and motorcycles impatiently queued on the narrow roads.

A few times we found tarmac and sped up to heady heights of 20 or 30 kilometers an hour.  It would always devolve into crazy winding paths through villages or up mountains, though.  I am really enjoying the constantly changing landscape, and with the window rolled down I can ease out from the press of the crowd.

At 5:30 we stopped for tea and I got some fly-covered cold and no doubt quite old (but still quite grubbing) aloo and roti for 50 cents.  I’m starting to worry that we’ll get there late enough that finding a room could be a problem.  The dude who speaks a little English tells me we are 2.5-3 hours from Kathmandu now.

At 6:30 we stop for gas at the “Buddha Oil.”    One of the 4 dudes in the middle got out and though he was temporarily replaced by a man with a chicken, we ended up only having 3 guys in the middle from here on out.  Much better.

It started to look like Kathmandu around 7:30.  Some people get out but I stay in, waiting to see something familiar.  Eventually we are at the end of the line and I have to get a taxi back to Thamel.  The guy quoted 400 rupees to me, to which I responded with a “maybe 300?”  We weren’t that close though (always the worry) and it took over 20 minutes to drive back there.  (Though he pulled the whole “not-enough-change-trick to charge me 350 in the end.)

The best luck–even at 9 pm Shree Lal had a room! It was on the 5th floor, sure, and my long-awaited first hot shower was freezing.  But I got my stuff and back and had a huge thali for dinner.

In all, it took 17 hours to make the trip.  I looked up how close they were on the map and had to check several times, as it’s about 80 miles away.  Despite being up since 4 (impossible even for me to sleep on those bouncing jeeps) I stay up until 2 am and buy a plane ticket to Norway this night.  Stupid internet.

This is the end of the EBC hiking account.  Thanks for reading!