Isn’t it about time to start up hiking again? Well, we all have taken an atrophy break for a few months, but with the warmer weather (above freezing, woohoo) I’m getting the earliest signs of spring fever. When I wake up in the morning I don’t have to break through the ice on my blankets, and my shampoo isn’t frozen any more. I feel a light buzz of adrenaline now that the sun sets later and my legs are anxious to go run around the block. I’m in a wide valley surrounded by mountains, and I always look up and imagine hiking to each of the many peaks. However, the snow is still pretty thick and the temperatures still must be as cold as my apartment, so I don’t plan on any hikes up there just yet.(more…) cold wear heritage hiking landscape mountains Sherpa society snowboarding steep trekking
Let’s not move on from Pangboche just yet, there’s a little bit of history to uncover for the village. Our source for background information and creative story telling is Pema Dorje again. This village is one of the most significant places for him in the region and he makes a point of visiting the Lama Gyeshi often for counsel in making decisions and receiving blessings in carrying out his somewhat risky line of work as a trekking guide. Pema explained to me that Pangboche is one of the oldest Sherpa villages in the Khumbu region, so it has hundreds of years of history. I’ll have to check some more detailed accounts of the Sherpa history to verify whether Pema means Pangboche is the first Sherpa village of what is now eastern Nepal, or if the fact is that the original Tibetan settlers first founded other villages to the east or the west from Solu Khumbu. Regardless, Pangboche has a heritage reaching far back in the history of the region, so there was time to develop some interesting stories, fact or myth as yet undetermined.(more…) Buddhist Lama myth Pangboche Sherpa society yeti scalp
Happy New Year and be safe!
I know it may seem I’m repaving the old pathways up through the Khumbu trek with my review of the villages and sights from last October. Yes, it’s entirely true that I’m passing through all of the same trails in my mind and mentioning a lot of familiar areas and ideas from before, but consider that this is now the time to look back on the experience and draw out deeper impressions of our experiences trekking in Nepal and perhaps to remember it more the way I want to rather than how it really happened. In any case the real benefit is just to make sure I adequately covered all the angles and experiences to bulk out the overall coverage of this blog and to give a complete collection on the topic to keep the search engines fully engaged in this site. If I repeat myself enough times I’ll get the details right and the site crawlers will finally figure out this is a blog about travel in the exotic land of the Ghurka tribes and has nothing to do about alcoholism counseling. I mentioned alcohol in one entry and for a month I was drawing ad slots about booze and interventions and mormon.org. Anyone following me during that time may have wondered why I wrote “Trekking in Nepal! Trekking in Nepal! Trekking in Nepal!...” for days on end. I was sending a subtle message to try to place myself in the travel listings instead of among the 12-step program industry.(more…) hiking landscape lodge mountains safety Sherpa society travel Trekking in Nepal
Alcohol consumption is a customary part of Sherpa culture, and it seems that it is available to everyone of all ages in Nepal. Traditionally the Sherpa people brew their own “chang” (rice beer) and drink it heavily for social gatherings and parties. This is actually a very mild alcoholic drink, with an alcoholic content comparable to weak American beers. It is served warm (like Japanese sake) and it is a little sour with a yeast smell (like pizza dough). The Sherpas will prepare a batch and let it sit at least a month to get a richer flavor and higher level of alcohol. The Sherpas prepare “rakshi”, distilled from potatoes like vodka, but again it’s kind of weak (Pema will be hurt). I didn’t see anyone passed out from the drink, and I never heard any complaints of a hangover while we were on the trails, so it doesn’t seem like there is much of a drinking problem in the mountains. However, you would think someone was hitting the sauce pretty hard by seeing all the porters carrying enormous stacks of beer cases up from Lukla. Those cans of beer (San Miguel) are priced a little high for the Sherpas I’m guessing, so it’s for the benefit of the trekkers.(more…) alcohol Kathmandu sherpa customs Sherpa society tradition