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Nepalese Notebook: September 25th, 2014

September 25th, 2014Besi Sahar 760m.
You never expect it, but the high mountains soon give way to the low, and the day comes when it is cloudy and humid and easy to forget what is near.  Everything simply disappears without importance, and even if we believe in it, have seen it with our own eyes and accept it wholeheartedly, the lapse is too great, change is too certain, and what was once a thousand year old glacier is now the fountain you drink out of.  Now it is only a busy little Nepalese town where colorful buses pass, where street vendors and shops remind you of the growing indifference of what had once seemed normal, and a fleeting sense of accomplishment gives way to restlessness.  Could we have done more?  Having the trek over is short-lived, and looking back upon the hardships of the trail reminds one of a melancholic sort of comfort that creates new adventures and even more hardships before the time it takes your muscles to recuperate from the previous journey.  Pushing onese…

Nepalese Notebook: September 17th, 2014


September 17th, 2014

Samagaun 3550m.

Clear morning; Lho was as a spring day in the sunshine of the early hours, and everything that seemed untouchable yesterday was for a moment understandable, creating once more another aspect to our journey.  There was a strange feeling of confidence all around, and it seemed that wherever we were going that day, was indeed the one and only thing that mattered to anyone who crossed our path, and most importantly, to us.  Manaslu Himal (8165m.) and Manaslu North (7157m.), covered in the whitest snow, were visible for the first time, along with many other unknown peaks, showing us what our trail had yet to encounter, and proving still that we had much more to climb.
We visited the Ribung Gompa on the way out of Lho, a Buddhist Monastery, and were greeted with hellos from the monks who were busy making repairs far away in another building up the hillside.  A young attendant monk waited on us and showed what buildings we could look into and explained things in a quiet, offhand manner.  At one point, some bells began to ring, but we forgot to ask what for.  We arrived at Shyala not long after this, on a beautiful alpine type trail, passing old trees and rushing streams, always with the Manaslu to our left or in front of us.  We were able to make out the bright colors of the High camp and camp 1 situated on the mountain's glacier at about 6000m. and 5200m. respectively.  Shyala is a bright green plateau before the next ascent to Samagaun, where we ate lunch, and where, unfortunately, I started to have stomach problems.  Not far from where we were eating, and associated with the same house, was a stocky girl of no more than 13, up to her knees in a basin of dark red liquid, swishing around a bundle of yak wool with her feet.  She seemed rather amused and proud of our watching, but did not stick to the task for too long; her hands and feet were stained through.
From Samagaun it is 8 days to the nearest road; a photographer landed by helicopter only a short time after our arrival.  Our room is more or less a shanty and the voices of the family here can be heard from every side, quite disheartening in a way.  No appetite tonight, but a rest day tomorrow.

Douglas Thornton

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A Poet's Journal: September 23rd, 2013

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The Flute

Douglas Thornton

Ever tender and touching the moment,
When pressing himself the flute to my mouth,
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Master.  My stiff and timid lips were shown
To breathe an air pure and harmonious,
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Please note that Seasons Of Mind may be bought through any distribution channel (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc...) or by going to your local bookstore and ordering a copy.  But also, by clicking on the image below you get 10% off.  The ebook is still in the process of being formatted and should come out in the next week or two.

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