Evidently, I’ve signed myself up for walking 800km from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, across Spain to Santiago de Compostela, starting April 21st, 2015, ten weeks from now. I’ve been vaguely aware of this famous pilgrimage for several years, it’s extremely popular in Ireland, every outdoors shop has complete packing lists and the staff are all well versed on the necessary equipment. Millions have made this trek, but I didn’t imagine I’d be one of them. When reading about reasons people make this journey, many (especially those doing the full 800km on the most popular route) are religious, in transitional phases in their lives, are having some sort of crisis, or are looking for answers. I am none of those. I’m compelled to walk mostly, out of a sense of adventure and general love for long-distance trekking, though I’ve never done anything of this length before. Continue reading
Day 1. 3160m
We left the dusty city of Gondar and wound our way North, towards the Simien Mountains. We drove through villages, slowly gaining altitude, though you couldn’t tell we were anywhere near mountains, farm land and dust stretching forever into the distance a long the road. Suddenly, we pulled the car to an overlook, what had previously been flat plains now gave way to stunning, raged cliffs perched impossibly high, and precariously, over the color blocked farm land below. If it weren’t for the haze, it appeared you might beagle to see for miles. We had entered the National Park. Continue reading
Warning: Long Post!
A week long trek through the Annapurna/Dhaulagiri region of the Himalayas.
The first morning I felt surprisingly calm, I was excited of course, but very little in terms of anxiety about the upcoming climb. We got ready, showered, attempting to be as clean as possible before 5 full days of being gross, and waited to be picked up. When we got to the gate (Machame route) it was full of tourists, not surprising, but haven’t seen that many white people in one place in quite a while. It was pretty funny watching all the locals selling them kili hats, shirts, water bottles, etc at about three times what they should be paying. It’s funny how easily you get used to bargaining after living here for only a few months. The first few miles were easy, uphill rescue road type trail, all of us in good spirits. We stopped for lunch at an outcropping in the forest, which looked like it could easily be in the Pacific Northwest. After lunch we started the harder climb where we actually started to gain altitude. I felt really good so went ahead with one of the guides while Genny, Julien , and Winn stayed back at a slower pace. After about four hours of hiking we hit our first camp (Machame Hut-3,000 Meters). Throughout the day it was pretty hot so just hiking in a tee-shirt, but once the sun went down it got really cold really quickly. Our tents luckily stayed fairly warm, and they provided constant hot water for tea. The food was surprisingly good, probably better than at CCS, which is confusing since it’s on a mountain… But the hot soup was incredible, maybe we were just tired. Overall, the first day was an easy 6 hour intro.