NEPAL 2005
In August of 2005 I took a journey to the Himalayas of Nepal.  I had over a month of vacation coming up and had no plans.  I always wanted to go to the Himalayas so I got a Lonely Planet book, an airline ticket to Kathmandu, packed my backpack and took off with no itinerary or plan.  I had a pretty a good idea of what I wanted to do, and firmed up my plans while spending 3 days in Kathmandu.  I decided that I would trek the famous Annapurna Circuit, a 21 day hike that takes you around the entire Annapurna massif, reaching elevations of over 18,000 ft.  As side trips I would go to Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world at over 18,000 ft, the Dhaulagiri Icefall at the base of the 8000 meter Dhaulagiri, and a trip to the Annapurna Sancturary, a spectacular glacial moraine at 15,000 ft surrounded by a cirque of 8000 meter peaks.  A total of 37 days.  So on September 10, 2005 I left the comfort of my dingy 3 dollar a night hotel in Kathmandu and set out.
Despite visions of desolate high mountian landscapes and unpopulated wilderness, Nepal is quite a tropical and populated country.  On a major trekking route you will be sweating most of the time, and walk through numerous villages encountering many local people along the way.  Roads are only found between the most populated areas, so most of the country is a network of trails between small villages.
The local bus from Besi-Sahar to Khudi, the start of the Annapurna Circuit
The old rickety suspension bridge crossing the Marsyangdi river into the village of Khudi.
The Marsyangdi River leading up into the Annapurna region and the first glimpse of the Himalayas
A porter in the lower Marsyangdi river valley.  These guys are small, very muscular, and incredibly strong.  A guy half my size would be seen carrying 3 times my load, barefoot or wearing flip-flops, and not even breaking a sweat in the 85 degree heat.  They balance the loads on their foreheads making for very strong necks
Nepali children playing in the mud, on the trail to Chame.  The monsoon season is still in its full glory and I have not seen a hint of a Himalayan peak since I left Besi-Sahar.
Local Nepali friends running the guest house in the small village of Bagarchap
A couple of other trekkers and some locals, getting out of the heavy monsoon rains, warming up, and drying clothes in a guest house in the village of Pisang.  Now at over 10,000 ft, the temps are cooling off to the mid 40's, but of course its still raining and I am denied the spectacular views of the surrounding peaks.
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The interesting village of Braga carved into the hillside about 30 minutes walk from Manang
The Mani Wall entering the village of Manang
Looking down on the Village of Manang (3540m  - 11,614 ft.)
Porter carrying building materials up the Manang Valley
Yaks!!!!  These guys look harmless enough but they are very unpredictable, much like a Moose.  Several days before while I was leaving Chame I came upon two Yaks on the trail.  The Yaks were ahead of me to the right, slightly uphill as I was walking along a steep grade.  To my left was a 4 foot stone wall.  As I approached the Yaks one started getting real irritated, snorting and stomping and brandishing his pointy horns in my direction.  As I got closer, sure enough, he came charging at me!  I immediately ditched my pack on the ground and hopped over the wall to my right.  He came up to wall snorting and waving his horns around, then became disinterested and took off.  Just minutes before I almost got run off the trail by a guy on a horse, but thats another story........