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 11 - April 30th, 2011

This is part of a series that document my trip to Nepal. You can find all of the blog posts here. I awoke the next morning in Chhomrong around 5:30am. I hadn't slept well the night before but I wasn't able to go back to sleep after I awoke this time. As I lay in my sleeping bag I heard sniffing sounds outside my tent and although I didn't unzip the door to take a look I made the assumption that it was one of the local dogs looking for some food that may have dropped outside of the tent. When I did finally crack open my tent it was sprinkling outside. This did not bode well for the hiking the rest of the day. When the rain let up some I exited my fabric cave and used the facilities. When I returned to the tent the morning tea was being served. This was about 7am and it marked the beginning of the morning routine.

Sunrise from Chhmorong

Thilo in the morning

At around 8am breakfast was served which consisted of chocolate/cinnamon crescent rolls, scrambled eggs, corn, and toast but I didn't have either of the last two. The crescent rolls were purchased at a local bakery. I guess that' s an advantage to being in Chhomrong.

Breakfast time

There had been a group discussion sometime the previous day to determine the path we were going to take to finish the trek. There were two choices with one being the longer and more difficult and the other being shorter and easier but also leaving us with extra downtime. The majority of us picked the shorter route. It was also determined that Clarence would leave us in order to get back to Pohkara and Kathmandu a day earlier to ensure that he was prepared to return to Hong Kong. The majority of us then chose the shorter, easier route because we were pretty much done with the trekking. I think sherpas were glad that we made the easy choice.

We departed from camp around 9am. We began by climbing stairs up to Chhomrong proper and passing through the guest houses and other businesses that cater to the trekking hordes. Once we crested the top of the city and started downhill we had a view of our destination, New Bridge, which seemed very far away and very far below us. Which way do we go? Maybe this sign will help.

This way

We took a short break mostly to gather the group together and then we headed down the path which consisted mostly of stone steps. We passed through a couple of small villages and the path crossed what would be considered the front porch of a handful of homes. We really didn't see many of the residents of these homes.

more terracing

Remember that marathon that we witnessed the start of?

IMG 4476

A couple of junior DogFellas:


Our next real stop was at a guest house labeled Jhino. It was very well decorated with all types of flowering plants and it's claim to fame was that it was the closest guest house to the hot springs. Just a 15 minute walk down (and probably 45 minute walk back up) to see the hot springs. I think if we had planned it better we would have stopped here and made a detour to see the hot springs. Instead we had quite a long break in Jhino. I think it was extra long because the sherpas were inside the guest house catching up on Nepali tv. Our group's entertainment was a goat that was standing on a bench nearby eating some twigs and other vegetation.

resting in Jhino


a goat on a bench

A goat and Chris

After a long while we hinted to the sherpas that we were ready to continue on and we continued our descent down to a river crossing. At this altitude the river was flowing very briskly and the bridge didn't look all that solid but surprisingly it was.

This is the New Bridge?

After crossing the river there was very little tree cover and the temperature and humidity had gone up. The path led back up the hillside and the elevation gain at the beginning made the trekking difficult. There weren't as many stairs but it always felt like we were climbing.

Finally we turned a corner around a jutting of the hillside and our climbing stopped, for the most part, and the path leveled out. This was a welcome reprieve from climbing. After a short while we were starting to descend and we reached our destination at New Bridge, ~1500m, just before lunch. We dumped our gear in a pile and sat down at a table under the roof of a small pavilion. We were served "juice" and teas and lunch came shortly after. Lunch consisted of cauliflower salad with a warm dressing, spam, salami, rice, mac & cheese, and curried vegetables.

garden with

overcast skies

I don't recall if it was before or after lunch but Clarence left the group with Sonam and a porter to head down to Naya Pul so that Clarence could catch an earlier flight to Kathmandu the following day and not be too rushed. We said our goodbyes just in case we didn't meet up with him again in Kathmandu before he went back to Hong Kong.

After lunch we relaxed at the table. The weather was still humid but it was overcast and there was a slight breeze. I decided to take this opportunity to dry some of the clothes on the campsite's clothesline as the weather had never been optimal for me to do this on previous days. After accomplishing that one chore I rejoined the team as they sat at the table. We had a ton of time on our hands and so we just chit chatted for a bit. Some members of our group decided to take the opportunity to go into their tents and take naps.

During conversation the idea of having photo assignments to stretch our creative sides came up. My assignment from Chris was to use completely manual mode and to make sure that the subject of the photo was out of focus. I took a dozen or so photos but it started to be difficult to find interesting subjects and I returned to Chris and he gave me a second assignment. I had to walk 50 steps and after that I couldn't move until I took 50 photos. I really enjoyed both assignments although I really failed the second one as I only snapped 18 shots. It was fun and I plan on making more assignments for myself in the future. We reviewed our shots and critiqued each of the photos that were deemed worthy.

After that we continued to sit around the table and chat and laugh and just enjoy the day.

At around 4:30pm someone declared that it was beer time. This is very significant on a trekking expedition as it signifies that the affects of the Diamox (it changes the flavors of carbonated drinks) have diminished. It is also a celebration of a successful trek as this was our last night on the trail. Someone bought the first round of beers for everyone (a soda for me). I'm not certain who bought the round but it was cheered loudly. This was the first alcohol that many had consumed since Kathmandu. The second round was purchased by Karma and the other sherpas (I believe) including a Fanta for me. Finally we convinced Karma and Dawa to join us in toasting the successful trek. It was an enjoyable time for everyone.

Sometime around 6pm dinner was served which consisted of pea soup with garlic, pizza, green beans, spaghetti (which I declined), chicken sausage, and dessert was fruit salad and fresh bananas. After dinner we continued to converse around the table until people started to drop away and head to bed. Although the day had not been the most strenuous I was ready to hit the sack. I gathered up the clothing I had hung up to dry and entered my tent. Sleep came quickly.

My "New" health kick

Himalayan Photography Trip - Trekking day 10 - April 29th, 2011