THE SUN IS SHINING, MT. BAKER IS SMILING…

…and all’s right with the world! I must say that I miss the snow from “back home,” but there are some who say it’s overkill, and admonish me to be happy with my 55 degrees and enjoy the early spring! It’s hard for me to believe that the flowering trees are already pink and white and the rhododendrons are out. But what amazes me even more is the grass, which has been green all winter, and is now being cut on a regular basis.

I walked along the beach last evening…two blocks down the hill from me…and here’s what my iPhone saw. It’s not a fancy camera so you’ll have to imagine the soft pinks and coral shadings on the mountains.

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Now to continue my trek in the Yolmo/Helambu region before I head out for a new hiking season in the Cascades. “Catch up” is my standing New Year’s resolution.

How exciting it was to wake up and see blue sky after all that rain! But there was still too much snow and ice on Ama Yangri to attempt a one-day climb, so down the strenuous path we headed to the river and ate lunch at the River View Lodge. In some of the villages we saw on our descent, Cary showed us where many small apple trees were being planted on the terraces, as part of a new agricultural program in Nepal. We also passed many very old mani walls and chortens nestled in the forest. There is a very strong Buddhist presence in this area, since the Yolmo people migrated from Tibet in the 18th century and intermarried with the local Tamang, Rei, and Sherpa people.

After lunch we climbed up a steep, rocky trail for three hours, reaching our guest house, the Himalaya Lama Lodge, in late afternoon. It was three hours of relentless scrambling through dense forest, with a few switchbacks over a newly constructed and very elemental road.

 

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During the night it rained, but there was a magical sunrise the next morning in time for our exploration of Upper Melamchi and its sacred caves. Next time: the end of the trip and our return to Boudhanath.

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