你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do / S’mae,
Welcome to 2019.
Einstein’s theories are bobbins. Kent is a car park. Queen are number one, again. Hair is allowed to be grown by choice and we’re being made to watch it. Earth is scarred by more than Brexit. Welcome to the year 2019. I’ve just clicked off from The Funny Thing About… Bigorexia. Russell Kane presented it. He hit the nail on the head and the hammer-in-particular he was chatting about is body dysmorphia in males. We’re all expected to look like the cast of The Only Way Is This Is Essex In Chelsea. So, after that little show I gave Jayde Adams on grief, smart little series with tough, tough topics. Privilege, being little, being offensive and online trolling are also covered. Well worth a look and listen. Made by ITN productions, it is available on BBC’s website. This is what happens when all I can find in the sports news is a story about an assumed 90 year old cycling cheat.
One word that is scary fear. And not, the James Bond meets Jurassic Park kind of petrifying. The year ahead could be a scary one if we all get too weighed down by politics, news, the environmental disasters and the problems of plastic. So, what is there to look forwards to in 2019? Game of Thrones ends too. Must look up Killing Eve and the next instalment of True Detective. I didn’t see The Bodyguard, made by BBC. Peaky Blinders should be back soon too. The War of The Worlds is also being made as British TV series – finally!
I had started writing this yesterday, ahead of hearing of a new series of Luther. BBC released a few teasers. I’d downloaded it and watched it in a state of man-flu. The Heavy’s ‘The Big Bad Wolf’ is one song that I’ve really enjoyed from this series – and its wonderful closing credit choice of songs. Paul Englishby’s input on the scoring also adds a very emotive soundtrack. Red Titanic and their song ‘White Rabbit’ (dubstep version) is deeply emotive. Grinderman’s Palaces of Montezum is ace too.
Back to Nepal.
TV and news aside. In this month on the 22nd, the planes wheels will be touching down on Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. Having already seen Swayambhunath on the large stupa, the Kathmandu Durbar Square, and Pashupatinath Temple, I need to look at things to do in the city. The Birenda Museum was quite small, but closed, on my last visit. The Aircraft Museum doesn’t appeal – set inside one old former Turkish Airlines aircraft. Information on the Mahendra Museum is limited. The Narayanhiti Palace could be interesting but I’m hoping the Colt M16A2, Glock 19 9mm pistol, and other guns of June 2001 by the the penultimate King of Nepal (King Dipendra). He was Eton educated. Say no more. Should have attended North Trafford College or Reddish Vale School – he might have learnt some respect. At least his successor had the decency to be abolished. The Narayanhiti Palace could be a weirdly interesting spot. I wonder if Japan’s Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum awarded to King Dipendra will be on display. Maybe the National Museum of Nepal will be more fruitful. Maybe my footsteps will find the Natural History Museum this time round. I’m growing quite excited by a return to Kathmandu.
The rambling plan – section 1
Despite my residual man flu symptoms (sneezing, aching muscles, headache, testicular pain and so on), I am in full planning mode for Nepal. The plan will loosely resemble the below. Give or take a few parametres. The first part is get the trekking permit, bus ticket and start the small matter of 200kms of walking… only then will it be clear as to the what is possible. Last time I started from the village of Jiri, but this time I hope the trek can start a little further up, but it must involve Kinja and the Lamjura Pass as they were stunning. A further starting point may allow a day to be sat in hand, in case it is needed later.
|KTM: COLLECT TIMS http://www.timsnepal.com/|
|Kathmandu to Jiri (6 to 8h by road) Bus #5064? 0530am?|
|[DAY 1] Jiri 1951m – Ratmate – Chitre – Mali – Shivalaya (New Sherpa Guide) 14km [5.5H] Gaurishankar Permit 2000NPR|
|[DAY 2] Shivalaya – Deorali 2705m – Bhandar 12km [5H]|
|[DAY 3] Bhandar- Kinja 1630m – Sete 2575m 15km [6.5H]|
|[DAY 4] Sete – Dagcha 3220m – Goyam 3000m – Lamjura Pass – (3530m) – Junbesi 2675m 15km [11H]|
|[DAY 5] Junbesi – Phurteng – Ringmu 2730m – Numtala 2360m 17km [9.5H]|
|[DAY 6] Numtala – Khari Khola 2100m – Bupsa Danda 2340m 10km [7H]|
The rambling plan – section 2
The difficult part starts about here. The former section will have geared the muscles and mind. Here the key will be acclimatisation – and adjustment to an increasing altitude. Garlic soup will be on the menu.
|[DAY 7] Bupsa Danda – Kari La – Paiya 2730m – Surkhe 2293m 14km [7H]|
|[DAY 8] Surkhe – Muse – Nurning – Phakding – Benkar – Manjo (Monju 2835m): 1000rs entry fee at Sagarmatha National Park – Jorsalle 15km [7.5H]|
|[DAY 9] Jorsalle – Larja bridge 2830m – Namche Bazaar 3440m 5km [4H]|
|[DAY 10] Namche Bazaar|
|[DAY 11] Namche Bazaar – Phunke Tenga – 3250m – Tengboche 3860m 12km [6.5H]|
|[DAY 12] Tengboche – Deboche – Pangboche – Dingboche 4360m 10km [6.5H] 5am ceremony|
|[DAY 13] Dingboche: Nangkartshang Gompa|
|[DAY 14] Dingboche – Duglha – Lobuche 5020m [ 1 day]|
The rambling plan – section 3
This will be the toughest planned route. There is no margin of error in time. If a day can be gained before here, it will be an unexpected miracle.
|[DAY 15] Lobuche: Gorak Shep 5357m/5140m – Kalapathar – EBC 5357m|
|[DAY 16] Lobuche – Dzongla 4840m/5545m [4H]|
|[DAY 17] Dzongla – Cho La 5420m – Thangnak (4765m) [7-8H]
|[DAY 18] Thangna – Gokyo 4750m [4.5H]|
|[DAY 19] Gokyo – Gokyo Ri (5360m) – Pangka (4455m) or Machhermo (4410m) [5-7.5H]|
|[DAY 20] Machhermo – Himalayan Rescue Association – Dole (4200m) – Phortse Tanga (3600m) [6H]|
|[DAY 21] Phortse Tanga – Mong – Namche Bazaar [6H]|
|[DAY 22] Namche Bazaar-Phakding- Chauriharka – Lukla [6H]|
|[DAY 23] Lukla Airport-KTM|
Then a day’s rest, some food, maybe a wander and a flight back the next day…
The rambling plan – let’s get ready to ramble
Between now and then there is much to do. Recovery, training and to double check my insurance cover is adequate. It isn’t mega-hard to prepare for, but it isn’t a walk in the park. Well not Scotland Hall Road Park [Newton Heath, Manchester], anyway. Less danger but more yaks, though. It isn’t a marathon but it does share some similarities. The biggest one is the need for stamina – both mental and physical. You are able to do this – but can you do it? That’s upto your mind. Attitude and altitude are similar words and probably make a good marketing slogan.
The thing about the Everest Base Camp trek is that every year young and old people walk it. The thing to remember is that it comes with easier distances, longer wanders and optional extras. Slow and steady wins the day. There is no race. Only your time constraints bind you. Many complete the up in around 8 days with just 3 days down. That’s allowing minimal acclimisation and elevation adjustment. The golden rule of not staying 300m more each day can be achieved. The problem with just 11 days on foot, is that the views and the feel for the place can’t fully be savoured – and the local life can’t be fully appreciated. I’d hate to waste a view.
This next week I must wear in my walking boots (two pairs) to work out which ones are best suited. Then, I need to buy some duck tape for emergency repairs to said boots. My rucksack I already know to be comfortable and bigger than the Vango Sherpa 65L bag I had last time. This Vango 90L bag may be a bit excessive but I don’t plan to take the 25Kg I carried at the last walk. They’ll be a few practice treks and even one with Here! Dongguan magazine at the Dongguan Botanical Gardens this weekend. I won’t be overwhelmed by training like last time, and it will be a fun process getting myself readily mobile again. I won’t be Usian Bolt. Proper practice and prepartion prevents piss-poor performance. After all, fun is supposed to be enjoyable, right?
High altitude sickness, lower jetstreams, increased bad weather… these are things you must have in your mind, be prepared to accept and meet with bodily adaptations or call it quits. A response will be needed and if you’re fit enough, you’ll rise or fall – or best just turn yourself around. The first discomfort will need pushing through. The second too. There may be more. After that, it is amazing how far you can go. Endurance grows rapidly. Difficulty and challenges may increase but you become stronger and most ready to it.
My recovery will need some aerobic exercise. I have football, cyckling and some jogging on the next 12 days of things to do. I must be able to breath and focus. The recent man-flu hasn’t been ideal. Difficulty and duration will be built up again – and hopefully I’ll feel more viking than mouse. There will be steps and one park already have my name on it. The park with my name on it and I will be good friends soon.
The strength of mind to enjoy a view, rather than bend down and try to catch breath, will be a motivation. Our bodies are designed to walk. They’re dedicated vessels for this kind of activity. This is why the park with my name on it, will see some running, some rest walks, some lighter jogs and some step sprints. I will run my balls off. Fatigue will know my name. I may do a few lunges and squats to get the lactic acid boiling. Stretches before and after will be normal.
Things to be mindful of include: time to prepare; time to adjust; increased nutrition (calories and protein); dynamic stretches in the morning; static stretches at night; and
The Himalayas await…
再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye / Hwyl Fawr