Namaste from Nagarkot

09 October 2017.  Landed in Kathmandu, Nepal.  


I’m  still amazed at how easy to travel halfway around the world in such a seamless manner. 

A bit of planning helped.  Although one can obtain a visa when landing, procuring it in advance helped me beat the lineups at immigration. 

After so much planning and thoughts put into what I  needed for the Everest Base Camp trek, i was relieved that my packpack… and its precious content….made it to Kathmandu as well.  

After procuring a Nepal SIMS card so I can remain in contact with you, I quickly headed to Nagarkot….an hour drive away from Kathmandu. 

On the way, i enjoyed the sights of rice fields and the overall lushness of the area.  

I checked in at the Eco Home hotel.     I like it that a portion of my dollars will go to “Roofs  for 28 families”…Families which were impacted by the disastrous April 25, 2015 earthquake.   It was a fortunate turn of events that it happened on a Saturday.  This allowed to spare countless precious children lives as they were not in school when it happened.  

Nagarkot is all I expected….a great place to avoid the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and to remain focused and relax before my trek to Everest Base Camp. 

Shortly after arriving into Nagarkot, I was immediately touched when a young girl who could not be more than 2 years old smiled at me from the comfort of her home porch and said Namaste as I was deambulating  the streets of Nagarkot past her home.  

Namaste is how you say Hi in Nepali… but it is said with so much more meaning than the way we greet each other in the western world.  

Nagarkot is rustic and peaceful.  It is nestled against the hills which the locals also use for terrace farming.  Terraces are very smart way to retain water for farming on steep hills.  


 


10 October 2017

I  went out for a trek as soon as the sun came out at 0600.  

A few minutes uphill into the trek, I started seeing many snow capped peaks…. my first true sights of the Himalayas.  



As it is located high on the fringe of the Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot commands one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley. You can see 8 out of the 13 Himalayan ranges of Nepal from there.  

The ranges include Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh himal range, Langtang range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, Mahalangur range (Everest range) and Numbur range with views of the Kathmandu Valley. 

After a Nepali breakfast: chapatis, vegetable curry, masala omelette and a banana. …. I went out again to try to find a way to the highest point in Nagarkot….a place where I can have unhindered views of the Himalayan ranges. 

During that trek, i ended up with a doctor from Catalan who found himself in the same predicament that I was i.e. not knowing which of four directions to take.  

He thought he was in good hands with a more experienced trekker.  Knowing my limitations…. and propensity for getting into trouble….I thought I was in good hands with a doctor.  

As it turned out, we were mostly helpless…. although we did eventually find our way back to our respective hotels…..without injuries other than to our pride.  

It appears I will have to hire a guide to help me find my way around the meandering paths the locals use to go about their day. 


For Mia and Liam…..any the geology lovers….millions of years ago, the Himalayas did not exist:

The Himalayan range, topped by 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is now one of the largest and most distinct geographic features on the earth’s surface.

To give you an idea of its size, The range, running northwest to southeast:

  • stretches 1,400 miles (2,300 kilometers);
  • varies between 140 miles and 200 miles wide;
  • crosses or abuts five countries: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and China
  • is the mother of three major rivers: Indus, Ganges, and Tsampo-Bramhaputra rivers; and
  • boasts over 100 mountains higher than 23,600 feet (7,200 meters)—all higher than any mountains on the other six continents.
….but did you know that….Millions of years ago, there were not Himalaya, let alone Mount Everest.
Then, how was the Mount Everest formed?
This is hard to understand….even for adults….your mom and dad will explain to you the following…..
Millions of years ago, theAsian continent was mostly intact, but India was an island floating off the coast of Australia. 
Around 220 million years ago, around the time that Pangea was breaking apart, India started to move northwards. 
It travelled some 6,000 kilometres before it finally collided with Asia around 40 to 50 million years ago. 
Then, part of the Indian landmass began to go beneath the Asian one, moving the Asian landmass up, which resulted in the rise of the Himalayas. 
It’s thought that India’s coastline was denser and more firmly attached to the seabed, which is why Asia’s softer soil was pushed up rather than the other way around.
The Himalayan mountain range grew very rapidly in comparison to most mountain ranges, and it’s actually still growing today. 
Mount Everest and its fellows actually grow by approximately a net of about a centimetre or so every year. 
That’s in comparison to the Appalachian Mountains, which developed some 300 million years ago or more, which is actually decreasing in peak elevations as it erodes.
The continued growth in the Himalayas is likely due to the Indian tectonic plate still moving slowly but surely northward. We know the plate is still moving in part because of the frequent earthquakes in the region.
Now, if you do the math, you’d find that if the Himalayas had been growing at the current rate for 40 million years, they should be about 400 km tall! Once the infrastructure was in place, this would have given us a much cheaper way to put things into low Earth orbit and beyond. (For reference, the International Space Station typically orbits at between 300 km to 400 km.)
So what happened? 
In part, the rate of vertical growth has varied over time, including in favor of more horizontal growth. And, of course, gravity and erosion having limited the mountains’ growth significantly.
India merging into Asia became the accepted theory about how the Himalayas were formed around 1912. That’s when Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist, came up with the “Theory of Continental Drift” which gave us our first ideas about Pangea, tectonic plates, and the thought that continents were moving away from or closer to each other.
What does the future for the Himalayas look like? 
Undoubtedly, the mountains will continue to grow, though at the same time eroding too; but the net is expected to continue to grow as the Indian tectonic plate doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. 
That means more earthquakes and, over time, slightly taller mountains to climb….

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