With its name sake taken from the accent civilisation which once ruled the area , the Lycian Way is a footpath which covers a distance of approximately 334 miles. This costal route stretches from Oludeniz to Geyikbayiri and has been listed by the Sunday Times as one of the worlds top ten walks.
Walking around the small fishing village of Ksilokeratidi how many cats would you expect to see when you turn down one road?
These pictures don’t do the situation justice, they were everywhere up trees, on the wall etc. No food or obvious encouraging factors just a slightly intimidating situation.
scattered lodges and stunning surroundings at Orsho ,where the trail is surrounded by dotted memorials to lost climbers.
As Jin Kwon quotes “one piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.”
Yes i most probably could have made it by myself however the group made it a far more enjoyable experience.For the past 9 days we have lived , breathed and eaten nearly every second together. What was mine became yours and together we did it. Of course there were times we might have annoyed each other but that just life and is something you laugh about afterwards.
From Gorak Shep the walk is a draining scramble over an ever-changing rocky path across the Khumbu Glacier. The last section is probably the most dangerous and totally unexpected , you have to run the gauntlet of falling rocks that could take you out like a bowling bowl takes down a pin.Totally bemused , I’m not sure if its the lack of oxygen however all i hear is our guide say ” what ever you do, do not stop – move, move, move!”
I had read and was prepared that many people have unrealistic expectations of Base Camp, looking around at all the large boulders was like where do people pitch their tents. Being out of session there was no one camping, just your usual prayer flags wedged between rocks at the bottom of the Khumbu Icefall.
Your trusted guide book describes it as a “semi-permanent village of brightly-coloured dome tents” with a “fascinating,with groups from dozens of different nations playing cards, gambling, eating, reading, strumming guitars and doing everything possible to fill their time while they wait for the green light to climb to the summit”. Part have me regrets not seeing the camp in that state however it is impossible not be taken over by a state of achievement in reaching the camp.
We all have our personal moments of quiet reflection in the warm sunshine before joining the group for celebrations and photos.You congratulate everyone and everyone and vise versa, the world becomes one for a brief moment in time.
Final words have to go to saying that this was probably the best place in the world to celebrate my birthday,i still can’t believe that they carried all the way to the camp and then apologized that it probably wasn’t the best quality. Who cares, such an amazing thought.
The worlds highest glacier.
Spanning elevations from 4900m to 7600m, the Khumbu glacier paves the way to Everest Base Camp.Its spectacular ice wall is famous with climbers summiting Everest as one of the most dangerous obstacles on the standard south col route.
Gorak Shep (5160) at the foot of Kala Pattar and for the 1952 Swiss expedition the base camp for the Everest Summit.
Today is the day , we are going to make it to base camp.Getting up before dawn there is not much time other to get a quick bite and to fill our bottles with hot water. Yes it has to be hot anything that is not hot will instantly freeze.The initial section of the trail follows a narrow gap between the glacial moraine and the mountain wall. Our guide informs us that we have luck on our side , the weather gods are calm. Often freezing winds blow a gale down the narrow pathway adding further torment to tired , altitude effected trekkers.
The pathway turns into a toboggan run, I’m not sure who was more shocked , the yak or myself as i went skidding down an incline narrowly missing colliding into the yaks rear-end.Crampons was have defiantly been a beneficial aid. Our guide jokes with us ” normally its not icy like this, the recent storms in India has caused chaos”
Lunch was taken at the village of Tukla, its difficult to really call it a village after much of it was washed away during the 2007 floods. Its better described as a cluster of tea-houses sharing a courtyard set beneath some impossibly long prayer flags stretching across the valley. The combination of a slightly iffy stomach and being at the altitude of 4620m severely limited my appetite. Enjoying the sunshine in the very muddy courtyard the game of leaving the toilet to the very latest minute began as did my love for mint tea.
Leaving Tukla behind the trail literally goes up, up the gravelly terminal moraine of the Khumba Glacier.Weaving up the well worn path for about 45minutes is known mean feat, your body stains for every breathe you take.Luckily our guides are well trained and stop for regular breaks and the encouragement of those heading in the other direction spears you on.
Topping the ridge not only are you blessed with stunning views there are also the memorials to lost climbers and Sherpa.As the Lonely Planets states “The largest memorial commemorates Babu Chhiri Sherpa, who submitted Everest 10 times, but died after falling into a crevasse on his 11th attempt at the peak in 2001. A smaller stone chorten stands in memory of Scott Fischer, who perished in the 1996 Everest disaster.”
This served as a stiff reminder of never to take the mountain for granted, we are not immortal.However it was impossible not to play around in the snow like a bunch of kids, there was not meant to be this much snow during this time of the year but the recent storms over India had led to this snow.
Trekking through the relatively flat valley offers much welcomed relief after yesterdays effort however the well rutted ground means that you can never rest on you laurels.
The desolate landscape that has been shaped by past glaciers offers stunning views of the peaks of Taboche and Cholatse.
The village of Dingboche sits in the stunning valley of the Imja Khola and right under Ama Dablam was the base from one of the most challenging treks of the whole journey.The challenge of acclimatizing on the slopes of Chhukhung.
Our acclimatized lungs struggled and strained to get oxygen around our bodies , it felt like after every couple of steps I’d ran a marathon. The fresh melting snow and mud just comprehended to situation.
Although we did not summit Chhukhung (4730) the views were amazing , a great reward for all our hard work.
Reaching Dingboche (4410 m) the last few minutes felt like hours on my tired legs stumbling over the rocky the path like a night on the town after one to many.
The relief of reaching our tea house ( yes we have indoor toilets), warming up with a hot chocolate and resting those legs is always short lived when our guide announces ” time for a short acclimatisation walk”
My body groans however many trekkers employ the golden rule “climb high, sleep low” to help speed up the process of altitude acclimatisation.
When time is of the essence this is though to trick the body as by exposing the body to higher elevations and triggering the adaptive process.But then at a lower attitude the body has an increased chance of restorative sleep.The body has enough available oxygen to avoid the effects of exposure to altitude.
Research is mixed regarding this technique with the argument that the acclimatization process does not happen in a matter of minutes and must be given ample time.
My feelings are mixed , your body needs rest in order to recover from a days walking. Lactic acid and other waste products build up in the muscles, which produce weakness and fatigue. At significant altitude this is a lightener process due to the deprivation of oxygen.Also by being cold your body burns more energy, energy which is required for the restorative process.
However watching the sunset over nearby peaks and the thick mist role in over the valley is priceless.It also prevents you from having a cheeky afternoon snooze whilst waiting for dinner. Avoiding afternoon snoozes was another golden rule our guide spelt out to help us get a good night sleep.
Leaving Namche Bazaar the fog soon cleared.A welcomed tea break to replenish our energy supplies was spent in beautiful warm sunshine with stunning views.
Taman Negara covers 4343 sq km damp and thick virgin jungle aging in approximately 130 million years.
Inside this buzzing tangle, ancient trees with gargantuan buttressed root systems dwarf luminescent fungi, orchids, two-tone ferns and even the giant rafflesia . Hidden within the flora are Asian elephants, tigers, leopards and rhinos, as well as smaller wonders such as flying squirrels, but these animals stay far from the park’s trails and sightings are extremely rare.
However i can nearly guarantee that you will come up close and personal with harmless leeches (they will follow you if you run )and an impressive array of flying and crawling insects no matter how much bug repellent you put on. Staying at the seen rather better days,faulty towers like Woodlands Resort you don’t even have to leave you room to experience this. Their standard rooms are musty cave-like and in the basement and the corridors are like a mass graveyard. On the plus side was the swimming pool perfect for an afternoon cool down or for drying your clothes.
There are many activities to encounter whist spending a few days in the park.
Jungle trekking gets you up close and personal and also very sweaty just like being in a steam room but slightly noisier . The 1.7Km to Bukit Teresek takes you to a peak at 334M .Rewarding you with magnificent panoramic views of Gunung Tahan fabulous forest canopies that cover the hills and valleys.
Inside the park is the longest suspension bridge in the world, 510M long and 45M above the ground level.one of the most memorable memories for you to bring home even it the views don’t do it standing on the wobbly platforms will.
Boating can be either a relaxing ,peaceful ride or an exhilarating ride that faces seven rapids along Tembeling River. There are opportunities to swim in the warm waters but even on quieter sections you need to be aware to the hidden currents.
After all the days activities dinner can be had in one of the simple yet very tasty floating restaurants.