Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post trip from Cali-

Hello Friends- Been a few weeks since i last posted here, and, as you might expect, the cycling journey is complete!

Made it into Berkeley after a little under 3 weeks on the road- seeing so much of the wild expanses still to be found in the great southwest- Somehow, after arriving here, i just haven't made the time to put down into words all the flavours and essence of the journey, tho its played thru my mind many times-
How does one even begin to articulate the experiences and impressions left from 1200 miles alone across the barren, beautiful deserts and craggy, desolate ranges?

Of days grinding out seemingly endless miles on arrow-straight roads at 7mph- wind-whipped and dust-covered,
to the thrill of crossing tha Pacific Crest, finally gaining the final summit of the Sierras after 5+ hrs of climbing up the eastern slope?

...to see the humor in the all of it, when you can, at being outside the "rat-race", whether that means missing out on $4 a gallon petrol,

... or being ran out of a perfectly good campsite in the wine vineyards of the central CA valley in the middle of the night, with no place to go except the shoulder of the road -nuclear reactor and barbed wire abode-

...to perhaps hold it all with a bit of equanimity,

To see it all as just part of "tha

Somehow, it feels, at the end of the day, that the essential gift of it all, is the time, and spaciousness which bleeds thru from all that open-ness-

whether its spending time philosophizing with ur travelling partner (this is 'yote- he's from NV) ; )

cranking out some miles with a kindred spirit (thanks Greg!)

or being wrapped back tight in the arms of the one ya love-

Really being there for it all, taking the time to feel into it, one senses, sometimes clearly, sometimes peeking from the edges- a look into something deeper, something timeless & sublime-
Thanks for following, ya'll-

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ely musingz

Well gang, made it safely cross UT these last 7 days, racking up more hrs in a week than i've probably ever put in on a bike in a month! Bout 57 hrs on the steel steed (and i won't tell ya how many miles, cause the avg. spds quite depressing.. ;-)

but lemme just say, if ya ere plan ta ride cross utah canyonlands, carrying a trailerload uv stuff, opt for tha triple!) honestly, its been one helluva lot tougher going than i ever expected bike touring ta be...

and, a whole lot more engaging as well- with the land, with the locals, and with the thoughts- 7-8 hrs of saddle time a day gives one lotsa time to sort thru it all- = ), rejoice in tha good, and spin out the bad... its all there ta work with-

so, some of the highlights from tha rd? canyons of the ancients,
in eastern utah,

to the cool, azure waters of lake powell, and the ferry ride across-

the wide open expanses of petrified dunes and narrow, bottomless gorges of the Escalante'

- 8 hrs oer the Burr trail from Lake Powell to Boulder city (ut), w/ 6400 ft of climbing and 64 miles covered (in 7 hrs!?! ouch!) = 0 (but nothing in comparison to these two amazing folks... riding their way from point reyes, ca to delaware... already been on the road for 6 mons!?! Yowza! godspeed guys-

tha endless climbing from panguitch up to Cedar Breaks NP, with its surreal, hoodoo formations of crimson sandstone-

the desolate sage and sand sea of western utah and eastern NV-

the surprises the lie beneath this land- fantastical grottos of colour and form, set in dark, cool moistness in Lehman Caves NP-

such contrast with the overlay of stark, harsh vastness...

and yet, thru-out it all, a sub-stance of beauty- sometimes easily yielding to perception, at others, the faintest hum, nearly inaudible- beneath the howl of wind and relentless, piercing gaze of the sun... until, exhausted, defenseless, one lies back in the shade of juniper, wearing the crimson soil, and settles into the rhythm of place...

its a sweet journey, yall- =)

oh, and one more thang, when ya say "massage therapist", in NV, it ain't tha same thang... ya been warned- ; -)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Well, it ain't walkin, but....

Howdy Y'all!
Greetinz frum Glen Canyon (yeah, just had to come thru here... they even spelled it right) ;-)
4th day on the rd, outta Durango, n itz been an adventure, for shore!
Second day out of Cortez found the bike and i reachin a sort of agreement that i would not exceed 25 mph on the downhills, and in exchange, she wouldn't try to turn me into roadkill- =-) (i still push tha threshold on that top end speed, n she's slowly warming up ta the thought of 30, tho its a risky prospect- )

But wait, lemme back up for a minute, for those of you that didn't "get tha memo" ;-)
i'm cross country on my bike from durango to good ol' cali for the next 2-3 weeks- following roughly the 'western express' route as designated by adventure cycling (i don't have the maps, its more fun to figure it out as you go, i've found- =-) )
Made it thru the Navaho nation on that second day, along montezuma creek, passing thru Bluff, and on to Comb wash, my first dirt/gravel segment of the journey- lots of warnings from the folks at the restaurant in Bluff didn't curb my enthusiasm to ride this bit, as i'd been told it was a must see, with very lil traffic... both entirely true... however (comma) sand and loose deserty soils don't ride well w. road tires and a bob trailer, loaded w/ 1oo lbs uv stuff! my scorchin second day avg of 14 mph quickly turned to 6-7... w/ lots of pushin, cursing, and flailing of limbs thru the sandy bits...
heres a lil peek at the first successful dismount of the journey... skinny tires, trailers, and sandy roads make for a dicey trio-

the road ahead...

thats all for now, folks... gotta go down some more calories and get in some much needed rest for the miles to come! keep ya posted as i can-

Friday, May 28, 2010

Movin' on...

Its been a while since i put an update out, but tonight seems fitting-

overnighting in bangkok, my first stay in an airconditioned room in almost 6 mons! (the plane ride today, i realized was the first climate controlled space i'd been in since landing in Kathmandu... bizarre! strangest thing is, after a while, it just seems normal to always be a lil bit too hot or cold.

a quick run down of the last 4 weeks, after coming down from the mtns-
-bus trip from hell! tumlingtar to pokhara, 2 days, 20ish hrs of travel on dirt, rock, and super scary exposure rds, riding up on top for much of it, because the seats inside just ain't made for long legged westerners- realizing a few hrs into the bus trip that the reason we were flying maoist flags off the bus corners wasn't to ease our passage thru potential road blocks, but that all my fellow passengers (i.e. comrades) were maoist supporters heading to kathmandu for the big transportation strike planned for the following day (which ironically enough, is why i was on the bus in the first place- tourists usually aren't harmed by the conflicting political factions, but being alone in a maoist hotbed during times of conflict still ain't all that smart).....gettin' puked on by the cutest little nepali baby that just couldn' t handle the jostling and heat... actually, i wasn't alone- she also managed to cover her father, and three or four other folks sitting in the back row... this was about the same time i decided to ride up top again... i'll take my chances with low hangin wires and possible ejection any day over heat, dust, and sharing a seat with 5 other folks that outta seat three. ;-)
- riding out the 6 day maoist strike in pokhara- no motorized transport, big, sometimes intimidating protest marches down the empty streets- all businesses officially closed, so we'd sneak around to the back door, give a lil knock and the restaurant owners would let us in fosome "speak-easy" dining... must be sorta what prohibition was like, eh? best part of the strike though, was the biking on completely car/bus/lorrie free roads! kids and their parents playing soccer in the rds, adults learning to ride bikes on all that open asphalt, and amazingly clean air! it did have its finer points...
-kayaking clinic w. my buddy jason on the seti river, meeting up w. some super cool folks from round the world, and trying our hand at running some small rapids and learning the eskimo roll...
- bat cave explorin- nepali style... better bring your own headlamp, because there ain't no guided tours here- you pay your fee- they turn ya loose to go exploring!
....thats the short and sweet on the last few weeks in country, folks... its all somewhat of a blur, in need of some time to digest....

a glimpse into today:

last morning
a day of celebration
and sadness
lil morning chi-gung
prince hotel

breakfast burrito in
sagarmatha bazaar
feeling the buzz-
not quite anxiety-
more excitement,
with a time-frame...

some last minute purchases
oil paintings
of the mountain gods
bit of
n' smoothin' out
travel plans

feelin' such longin
and disbelief that
could be so near-

and then
frantic airport rush
the hustle and bustle
clock tickin away
hour n' a half- 30 mins
extra baggage me-lee

clamoring aboard
brightly coloured
stepping into
a different world
clean and glossy
nothings tha same...

lookin' out
portal window
kath-valley surrounds
feel wizened eyes
for this dirty town??
for the rawness
of life here
and the beauty
it unveils

feel my soul
with the richness
it has known
when i came
it was as foreigner
now theres a sense
of leavin home

touch folded hands
to third eye center
n bid farewell
to those i've known
and to all
who rise each morning
ek cup chia'
their fates unknown

tho i guess
this could be said
of us all
to speak the truth
in this land
of snows n majik
every day
one's shown tha proof-

as i journey
cross the skies
smooth as glass
o'er ridge n ravine
mind thinks back
on hard fought
sweat and blood,
so much i've

known the
bitter and the sweet
n' paid my share
of dues
but i wouldn't
trade one moment
'cause tha path
its been true-

look forward to seeing you all sometime soon. i'll put up some last pics of the adventures when things settle.
thanks for all the encouragin' comments, emails, thoughts and prayers you've all sent out these last months- it meant so much to recieve some warmth and well wishes from back home.
peace, y'all-

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mera summit day

sooo, after the chilly, early am wake up, Lakpa and i started up the climb... this shot is probably 430 am or so, the light just beginning to filter in from the eastern skies. you can see one group ahead of us on the mtn- a french canadian team from montreal?? the summit is over the ridge visible behind the group-

looking east from the upper expanses of mera. the sun had just risen...

a lil while later- the views west... that peak in the far distance w/ tha snow plume coming off her is none other than Sagarmatha- aka Mt Everest- ... the highest point on earth. twas damn windy on mera at this point- gusts maybe 30-40mph, but it looks a lot more breezy on the upper slopes of Everest, no??

on tha top! wow...
wind stopped for a few mins for us, allowin some high fives and a few pics a'fore heading back down... what a morning-

lakpa leading the way back down... one heckuva lot easier in this direction, just gotta watch where you're goin, and not these breathtaking views... this is lookin east again, probably Makalu- 5th highest mtn in the world, in the far background...

back down at mera la- the pass over from hinku valley to the country northward... if you trace the ridge in the background, on the left side, up to the summit, that is basically the route we walked.... had broke camp and were descending back to Khare at this point... n all this before 12 noon... what a day- thank you lakpa-

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

goin up mera...

from the upper hinku valley, mera dominates the skyline to the northeast... a really daunting mountain, from the perspective of size-

Mera peak is 6476m, compared w. the highest mtn in N. america- Denali, in AK, at 6194m, but is really easy from a technical perspective. Lhakpa and I took 2 days and 1 night on the mtn, choosing to limit the time camping above 5000m (and consequently staying a whole lot warmer!).

we stayed in the lil village visible at the bottom of this pic for 2 nights, khare, where these amazing eagles were soaring, just overhead...

us on the way up to the glacier, from khare...

this is the route up to high camp, basically a long walk on glacier, tough from an altitude perspective, otherworldly from a sensory one...

we walked along this saddle,

then spent one night at high camp, ~5700m, (i can't recommend the three season tent, actually) my guide was smart enough to sleep w/ his buddy down the hill in a proper expedition model...;-)

what it feels like to "wake up" (ya never really went to sleep)- at 200am, 5700m, really friggin cold, and jazzed on life!!

n' what the voices in my head sound like at this point....

Friday, April 30, 2010

down from tha hills...

hey everybody!
greetinz from lakeside in pokhara, a world away from the land of snow 'n ice...
spent a bit over 6 weeks in the mtz, this last bit, counting my time from shivalaya to lukla, and tho it was harsh n steep at times,
twas worth every step!
since tha last post from namche, ive been largely off the beaten tourist track,
heading east thru makalu-barun np, down to bhojpur, famous for its kukuri knives, and across to tumlingtar, where i'd planned to fly
back to kathmandu. went over 2 weeks without seeing another westerner, finding my way with tha lil bit of nepali i picked up along the way,
the occasional local with english skills, and a lotta luck... Great adventure!!

leaving lukla, i headed over zatrawa-la, the pass just east of town, and in so doing, passed from from solu-khumbu region into makalu np.
beautiful, remote, country up there, rhodedendrons in full bloom, and panoramic views back north and east into solu-khumbu.

yaks in tha hinku river, keepin cool!

buff momos, anyone??

views north up the hinku valley, makalu-barun np...

at the head of the Hinku valley, near the base of mera peak, i was able to buy a climbing permit from the local "sherpa mafia" ;-), and find a superb climbing guide, Lakpa Gyalgin Sherpa.
after a lil "difference of opinion" on the permits validity between the kathmandu "authority" and the localz was resolved, (the mafia, and consequently, i, won ;-) ), we were off to climb mera...
nexzt installment- mera pics and southward ta bhojpur-
peace, yall-