“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end… where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”
Of course, the trudge up wasn’t always easy…
I started out the New Year in Nepal, excited to see what adventures 2014 would hold.
Me and my trusted stead, Hank.
Two Nepali women on the flats.
Prayer flags at night.
Me and one of the many goats I’ve tried to take with me!
A patient man waiting by the water.
One of the many playful monkey who intertained me in Nepal. Many of them were so tame (since they know humans equals food) that they would sit on a bench with you.
Dinner anyone? I love that in most of the world meat is openly displayed as a dead animal, rather than packaged away in a dainty wrapping that is made to have us forget it was once a living thing.
I celebrated my 21st birthday surrounded by children at a home I had been working at, more grateful and happier than ever to be where I was that day.
Wearing one of the suits an Indian family had gifted me months before.
Just before Kevin arrived I decided that I needed one last solo adventure, so I bussed across the country to the rural area of Far Western Nepal in search of adventure. After a local bus ride into the hills and a days walk, I ran into this tiny village of mud huts which has rarely, if ever, seen foreigners. Though the children ran from me at first, I was eventually invited into this completely isolated part of our world, the sort of place where electricity and running water are still inventions of the future.
When I arrived they were boiling surgar cane juice to make a very sweet brown sugar which they served to me on a leaf.
After the children had found my camera they wanted me to take photos of them, though the adults were more wary. Shy and giggling these women then asked for theirs since they had never had a photo taken before, and though you could never tell from their serious expressions, they made me delete every photo of them laughing since it took them a few tries to keep a straight face.
Gramma and the cat! She wanted a photo with everything from this cat, to her granddaughter, to her cup.
Behind this boy is his house, the house I stayed with during my four days in the village.
The room was extremely smokey as they cooked on an open fire in the small enclosed mud hut, and I kept having to step outside for a moment since I couldn’t breath or see.
And then Kevin arrived on March 10th, nine months after we had last seen each other in Bend Oregon as we went our separate ways. (He then saved up money, tracked me down, and flew out to join me… I know, he’s a keeper.) We started to cycle west, though we ended up doing more pushing than cycling in a few areas where the road wasn’t yet finished.
We then set off on what was suppose to be a twenty day trek through the Maluku region in Nepal, though Kevin fell sick after five days (typhoid fever) so we had to turn back.
We encountered many porters during our trek as they would run up and down the mountain supplying different tea houses and many climbers, and a few Trekkers, relied upon these for food. Kevin tried their basket on, though it would take a lot of practice to hike with it!
Our first glimpse of some mountains after a few days of rain.
We also camped in front of a school in a very small village as there was no other flat ground around.
A wonderful camping spot just before the storm hit.
These Nepal porters would run up the steep hills, even in the snow, wearing nothing more than flip flops. They were in amazing shape to say the least!
One of the tea huts on the approach to Makalu Base Camp.
Collecting water from the only source around.
Drying everything off after a stormy few days.
We then entered into India, where we began our journey in the northwestern region of Punjab.
We loved the Sikh people we met in India for their gentle and respectful attitudes, as well as for the belief in equality.
The Sikh temple at sunrise. It was the most impressive temple we visited because it was so clean and friendly, and we ended up spending many hours as it was such a reprieve from the normal chaos of India.
Not a typical cycling outfit, that’s for sure.
We cycled up and into the mountains, through Kashmir, and then into one of our favorite regions of this whole trip, Suru valley.
Kevin fishing in Kashmir valley.
Near the top of one of the most beautiful passes we have ever climbed. There were walls, over six feet tall, of snow at the top.
Descending said beautiful pass.
Of course, the trudge up wasn’t always easy…
Eating dinner in a Shepherds hut we were lucky enough to stumble across.
Cycling into Suru valley.
Following the winding road up and over the mountains.
Awkward selfie mountain photo shoot.
We then arrived in Ladakh, the barren high altitude desert found in the Indian Himalayas.
Typical Ladakh: a barren moonscape.
A typical Ladakhis village.
Camping in the barren high altitude desert of Ladakh. We were over 3,200m for over six weeks.
One of my favorite lakes.
One of many monasteries throughout the region.
We trekked through Zanskar valley which ended up being one of the most fascinating places. These tiny villages, days away (by foot) from any road, are all situated over 4,000m meaning that these Tibetan Ladakhis survive some of the harshest winters known to man.
Crossing one of many rivers.
Switchbacks are inevitable.
The villagers have to work hard in the summer to harvest enough food to last them through the harsh winters. Barely and potatoes are a staple in their diet.
They eat a lot of barely bread for breakfast and dinner.
Here is a couple we stayed with in one of the small villages.
The green on this barren landscape is farming fields.
These are the typical Ladakhi houses. The animals lives in the first story, while the humans lives up top.
Many of the homes had an impressive collection of dishes, most of which were passed down for generations.
After the trek we continueD through Ladakh, cycling the famous Leh to Manli “highway.”
We were lucky enough to hear the Dalai Lama speak twice, once in a small village in Zanskar, and again at a very important Tibetan Buddhist ritual where 200,000 people gathered.
A typical village and monetary perched on the hill.
I was grumpy on one pass, so Kevin gave me flowers!
Nothing like a nice empty road.
Home sweet home.
On top of one of many passes. The highest one we did was at 5,600m.
Cycling in the rain!
My kind of road!
We love sleeping in shepherds huts, and this one was especially great.
Wind and rain and everything’s great!
One of many river crossings.
Come back tomorrow for part two of 2014!
For a photo of the day and other updates follow me on facebook here, and for some awkwardly cropped photos from our journey, follow us on Instagram @awanderingphoto!