Heidi, Ally and I decided it would be a good idea to visit the Himalayas while we are in India, so we packed our bags with the warmest clothes we had (Um, a hoodie? I bought some socks too.), and headed to Darjeeling. Two long train rides (one was 17 hours, the other was 9), and a 3.5 hour jeep ride (Shared with 15 other people. 18 people in one jeep. For 3.5 hours.), we made it. Holy Indian cows, I forgot how cold winter is. A new acquaintance, Kanadhi, said, "You came from the oven to the fridge!" We told him it was more like the oven to the freezer.
Our first day was spent getting our bearings in the lovely town.
At the Wyndemere Hotel. Not where we were staying. Thanks for the coat, Dad.
Our second day was spent buying mittens, hats, scarves, coats, etc. in preparation for our mountain trek. Here's the "mall"
Yes, I said trek. Four days of hiking up and down mountains, Four nights trying desperately to stay warm while sleeping on "beds" made of wood. It was fantastic. Mostly.
>Jidhi, our guide. Let's just say there's a certain adjective that rhymes with his name and describes him quite well*. I have no pictures of him.
>Fog. We didn't get to see Mt. Everest. It was kind of cool, thought, walking in limbo for a few days. But I still need to see Everest someday (see, not climb).
>Did I mention it was cold? Even the goats were cold. I wanted to bring one in to cuddle in my bed with me, but no goats, cows, yaks, chickens, or even a cat were allowed in this lodge, though they all tried.
>I went hiking in the Himalayas!
>This woodstove. Took a while to get going (Flammable blue cleaning fluid, rum, and a plastic water bottle were all methods used by the mountain dwellers...), but once it did (Thank you, cricket bat) it was nice and cozy. We chatted with a Frenchman that evening who was running the trail...our self-esteem went down a few thousand points. He was probably in his late 50's. Or older.
>My lovely hat kept me warm too.
>I went to Nepal! I slept in Nepal for two nights! Here I am in India (my left) and Nepal (my right):
>There were inspirational messages keeping our hopes alive in the trekkers huts we stayed in.
>While we didn't get to see Everest, we saw Kanchenjunga on our drive back to Darjeeling. It's the 3rd highest peak in the world. Gorgeous.
Here are some more pictures from the hike:
You can almost see a little chalet partially in the fog at the top of this picture. This is where we were headed--Sandakphu, 3636m.
And this is where we had come from. It was a steep day.
These goats were so excited to see us! They bounded up like little puppies!
At Kalipokri, or Black Pond.
Sunrise on our last morning.
I loved it.
*The one not-bad thing about Jidhi was that, after telling him at least 5 times that we don't drink tea, only hot lemon water, he finally understood that we don't drink tea. From that point, he'd automatically ask for "nimbu pani" (lemon water) at our tea stops. Then, he started carrying some lemons, and when we'd arrive at our stopping place, he'd say, "Do you want lemon water? I came the lemon! Ohohohoahahaha!!!" (I classify this as "not-bad" and not "good" because it was still creepy, coming from him.)