Aaron Martina is an Florida based programmer and an international man of mystery. Well, he's not all that mysterious but he does travel the world now and then taking photos, eating interesting foods and diving the depths.

Himalayan Photography Trip - Trekking day 8 - April 27th, 2011

This is part of a series that document my trip to Nepal. You can find all of the blog posts here. I awoke in Deurali at around 6:30am which was a little bit later than most days on the trek so far. Our day's hike up to Machhapuchhare Base Camp (MBC) was just a short 500m elevation gain so that is probably why the sherpas didn't start the day as early. We got our morning tea at 7:30am followed by breakfast around 8:30am. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and pancakes which I had good portions of both. We got on the trail around 9:30am.

The trail up to MBC still followed the Modi Khola river in fact we crossed it a handful of sites. The terrain was extremely rocky and all of the plants seemed dry and brown. The walls of the canyon were occasionally broken with beautiful cascades of water.

waterfall on the way to MBC

Dry flower

The elevation gain made us constantly climb although at different grades. So in other words, we were always going up. Considering that we started at 3200m the air was a bit thinner for climbing but my body seemed to be doing alright albeit I was always breathing heavily.

Avalanche Risk Area

[A comforting sign]

The river was a constant companion on our trek up to MBC. We had to cross it at least four times using little metal bridges that did not look all that sturdy or stable but they did the job.

bridge over troubled waters

flowing river

Damion and waterfalls

[Damion attempting to get a good waterfall photo]

a group of cairns

[A set of cairns by the river]

I took a picture of Monika taking a picture of some flowers.

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some pointy mountain

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A pile of snow and ice below a waterfall

[Snow and ice below a waterfall]

The day was pretty comfortable as it was overcast and a slight breeze. There was one spot where we stopped for a break and the sun broke through the clouds and started to heat us up. It actually became a bit uncomfortable because there was no shade and I was wearing warmer clothing. The sun was still out as we started back up to MBC but then we turned a corner on a stone outcropping and a cloud blocked the sun and the wind, and I mean wind here not just breeze, picked up. The temperature dropped 30 degrees in seconds. Without a doubt I was cold but I also didn't want to stop to put on another layer of clothing just to have the weather change immediately afterward. After a couple of minutes I relented and stopped and put on a jacket. I instantly felt warmer and I continued up the path. Of course, just as I had guessed, the weather improved within a couple of minutes as the wind dropped almost completely away. Between my exertion and the jacket I started to get a little too warm. Now I'm in the same pickle, do I remove my jacket just to have the weather change again. I took a gamble and removed my coat and I immediately started to get back to a normal temperature. Luckily, the weather cooperated and didn't make me feel like a jackass. Well, at least not more of a jackass that I already am.

I had been at the back of the group with Chris and Karma like usual. We had all stopped in order to remove clothing and take a short water break. We started up again and about 10 minutes later Chris twisted his ankle. This is the second time on the trek that Chris had sprained this particular ankle. The three of us stopped as Chris and Karma discussed what should happen. Well actually first Chris brought out his little handheld video camera and documented the emotions that he was feeling at that moment. And I documented (photographed) him.

Chris and his sprained ankle

The decision was made that Chris would not continue up trail and instead would turn around and head back down to Deurali or Bamboo and meet up with the group the following day as we headed back down. This meant that Chris would immediately stay where he was while Karma ran (yes actual running) up the path and tell the rest of the group and in particular Tendi what had happened. Then Karma would return to Chris and assist him down the path. This left me without a sherpa. Now typically I am pretty diehard about doing stuff on my own but I had some trepidation as I wasn't familiar with the terrain and I too have a propensity to sprain my ankles and this situation would leave me without a sherpa. Basically I was told to walk slowly and very carefully up to the group which we had no idea how far up the trail they were. I continued on up and luckily the group was relatively close as I think I only walked for about 10-20 minutes before meeting up with them.

After meeting up with the group I helped describe what happened to Chris to the other trekkers. After a short break we continued on.

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[A look back the way we came]

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[Waterfalls and snow in the cracks and crevices of a hill]

weather station?

[I think this was a weather station]

We had hiked for about another 45 minutes since our last break before MBC was in sight but what a wonderful sight it was.

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Here Shaun and I took a picture of the vista that we came from.

from MBC

I'm not certain what this shed was for but it was kind of neat so I snapped a picture of it.

small shed outside of MBC

in the clouds

Right when we arrived at the campsite at MBC, 3700m, we had little time to drop our gear before we were called to lunch. Lunch served around 12:30pm consisted of noodle soup, french toast, french fries, salami, and garlic sweet corn. After lunch I headed to my tent to take a short nap. I guess my body decided a short nap was not in the cards and I slept off and on for 3 hours.

I was roused around 4:30 to 5pm when pre-dinner tea was served. Between tea and dinner I decided to explore around MBC and in particular find the western toilet that was touted on a sign near the entrance to the guest houses. I did not find this mythical creature so I headed back to the campsite. Dinner was served around 6pm and was composed of mixed vegetable and bean soup (mostly beans) followed by dal bhat, mixed vegetables with meat, curried vegetables and we finished up with mixed fruit for desert. I can't imagine that I was super hungry as all I had done since lunch was slept. And what did I do after dinner? I went directly back to my tent and slept. I knew we were going to have an early morning the next day and apparently I was still pretty tired.

Himalayan Photography Trip - Trekking day 9 - April 28th, 2011

Himalayan Photography Trip - Trekking day 7 - April 26th, 2011