Summary of our trip to Dolpo

We’re back from Dolpo, and what a trip it was.

I am back-posting daily notes for those of you who want the details, and I’m afraid it’s many pages. The notes go back to October 10, the day we flew up and left contact with the internet. Although they are all posted with today’s date, I have tried to arrange them so that they display in chronological order. To see all the entries, you will have to click the “Older Posts” link when you reach the bottom of each page.

For those of you who don’t want the details, here are the statistics:

• 25 nights mostly in a tent
• 4000 photographs
• 100 blue sheep but 0 snow leopards
• 300 kilometers walking
• 7 passes over 5000 meters (16,500 feet)
• 6 courses of antibiotics for digestive problems
• 1 strained muscle but 0 serious illnesses or accidents

Our trip went through all the major parts of Dolpo, one of Nepal’s most backward but interesting regions. The civilization and language are Tibetan, and much of life still revolves around the short growing season and the long yak caravans.

The scenery is astounding, though mostly high desert rather than the spectacular mountains one normally associates with Nepal. Although we did see some classic Himalayan views such as Dhauligiri and Lake Phoksumdo, much of the trip was on the north side of the Himalayan crest, where the terrain resembles the high deserts of Tibet and the American west. Wildlife is sparse in these desolate regions, but we were able to see Himalayan blue sheep (bharal), vultures and golden eagles.

Dolpo has always been difficult to reach and travel in, and it was virtually off limits for most of this decade, as it was the center of the Maoist uprising that decimated this poor country until a few years ago. Trekking infrastructure is minimal and even food is limited, so we had to bring in most things from Kathmandu in a full camping trek. Although the food and company have been great, the camping took its toll and we are happy to be back to the city, at least for a bit.

More details in the daily postings. At least look at the pictures!

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