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[TR] The Himalayas, India: Himachal Pradesh - 11/28/2009

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Trip: The Himalayas, India: Himachal Pradesh -


Date: 11/28/2009


Trip Report:


Here's how it went....


Last month (October 2009) my friend Fred Beckey and I set upon making a reconnaissance of varous peaks in a remote area of the Himalayas in northwest India, in the province of Himachal Pradesh.


The getting-there took us from Delhi via a fourteen hour overnight bus ride, to Manali at 1,950meters (6,398 ft), in the Beas River valley. Manali is an important hill station in the mountains near the northern end of the Kullu Valley with a population of approx. 30,000. This town marks the starting point of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and, from there, over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the northern areas of the Tibetan Plateau.


We provisioned and hired porters in Manali, then traveled by jeep for about nine hours, up and over the Rotang Pass on the rugged Leh-Manali Hiway. The highway crosses some of the highest mountain passes in the world, including Rohtang La at 3,978 meters (13,051 ft), Owing to the high altitudes some travelers experience mountain sickness (as did one of our porters, surprisingly) - but neither Fred nor I had ill effects, either on the road or on while trekking.


Because we were heading into an area that is not considered a “trekking route” and is well off the beaten path, (only a limited number of westerns have visited the upper end of the Miyar Valley - and these are climbers going in after the stupendous rock towers), it seemed that packing in some school supplies would be an appropriate thing to do.


There is a school in the village of Upper Chailing, which is at the “end of the road” from which we began our journey on foot. This school serves children of all ages. Upper Chaling is a small Buddhist settlement, where the primary work objective is agricultural, primarily growing potatoes and raising yaks and cattle. Electricity was brought into the area just recently, and also up the valley to the next village, Kanjhar,


(NOTE: The Indian Government has been hard at work, attempting to improve the lives of people that live in rural areas. Along the major roads and highways we witnessed the advancement of infrastructure by way of road and bridge building, electrical and, solar-power installations, cell phone towers, water-sourcing and public-toilet projects - all money well spent).


The village proper of Kanjhar is home to approximately three families, but has a primary school that serves the younger children of the surrounding area; approximately twenty children attend school here. The village and schools are not served by road - only foot-paths, and at various times of the year are cut-off from the each other due to weather and terrain issues ….. Washed out bridges, too much snow, floods and other problem.


Through the generosity of so many friends and acquaintances, - we were able to take hundreds of pencils, pencil sharpeners and dozens of erasers to these schools. These supplies were desperately needed, and beautifully received. Most families in this region are impoverished and live on less than a dollar per day: these simple items were highly prized; just sending children to school is considered a luxury.

After spending over a week trekking up the Myar Valley (then reversing course for the trip back), we made our way back to Delhi, then headed off to Darjeeling for yet another reconnaissance. The plan was that we‘d skirt the border between India and Nepal by jeep until we were able to pinpoint by line of sight the peek we were interested in …..


While in Darjeeling, we met with Colonel Neeraj Rana, who is the Principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) (www.himalayanmountaineeringinstitute.com). As we had a few supplies left but were short on time, he was quickly enlisted to help out with the delivery of the remaining pencils to even more schools this time heading into Sikkim, off towards Kanchenchunga

, via the packs of the students at HMI.


I hope you enjoy the pictures of the children, most of which were taken in Upper Chailing.

It was a great trip. Thank you to so many of you for your generosity - your thoughtfulness has touched the lives deeply of children who live so far away from the world that we know.


~ Megan

PS ...yes, I have many more pictures of the trip, and beta. Please email me if interested in viewing.










Gear Notes:

Trekking horses are available - which we did not use. Make arrangements well ahead of time if you want to hire them.

Edited by Puma

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Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful story and pics, Megan. Makes me think that Thanksgiving came a month early there, for all of you. :)

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Wow thanks Megan, these are nice photos and a sweet story. I like the picture of the kids clinging to Fred's arms... AWWW!! I've been contemplating an India trip and your photos are inspiring. :)

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More pictures, please.


Late in coming back at you Musky333 - you or anyone can view more pics via my facebook pages (email me and I'll send the link). I prefer to not go thru the upload mode on this site (as I'm not the speed-queen on using this system) and I have dozens of images.





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Many readers have emailed me direct and asked for more information and images from this trip specifically, and they have been directed to where more phots can be found, plus additional resources.


Along this line, there will be a *semi-private* showing of slides from various trips that Fred has taken to the Himalaya's over several decades. These slides will be shown in conjunction with a little bit of birthday cake this coming Friday (January 15th) in Seattle to celebrate his 87th year.


If you are interested in viewing these slides at this small soireé, please email me at: mbondpauli (at) hotmail.....for details and for the specific (undisclosed) location, as the headcount is limited.







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