Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Himalayas

There was something surreal, almost magical, about trekking in the Himalayas. Our journey began with many hours of intensive four-wheel-driving on winding roads through rolling foothills, past villages, across crumbling pathways washed out by monsoon avalanches, and occasionally stopping for a herd of goats or stubborn water buffalo sunning himself in the middle of the road.

We began the first day of our trek in the fertile high hills with the warm midday sun warming our shoulders and the delicate beauty of Langtang peak shimmering in the distance.

As the hours and days went by we gained altitude, passing through temperate bamboo forests and into wooded alpine slopes, thick with old growth trees and hanging moss. As we climbed, lost in our own meditations, we couldn't help but marvel at the ethereal beauty of the scenery.

Eventually we left the forests behind, pushing beyond the tree line to the high plateaus, beckoned by the mountains.

It was a magical landscape, rocky and cold, where the air began to feel thinner and the fog would roll in at a moment's notice eclipsing our path, where an occasional yak would appear suddenly out of the mist to watch us go by.

As we climbed to the highest point on our trek, gasping for breath in that rarefied air, the whole world was spread out beneath us. The forbidding magnificence of the mountains, those sheer faces of ice and rock, was everywhere we turned.

Prayer flags wave in the high winds at the top of many of Nepal's hills and mountains. It is said the prayers written on them are carried away by the wind to spread peace and compassion throughout the world. I think a few of those peaceful and compassionate prayers may have caught hold of me on their way, setting my mind at rest and refreshing me in heart and spirit as I took in the all the beauty of the Himalayas.

(This photo above was taken by my very talented brother, Grady.)

Next post: On Safari


Tartelette said...

I knew it was beautiful but I never could have really imagined what "beauty" was there until I saw your pictures. Oh Elizabeth! How fantastic!

Vanessa Voss said...

What a soul adventure :) Your words and photos are calming. I can see the beauty in your photos, and your brothers photo too! I really enjoyed this post today, thank you.

amy said...

oh so so fantastic! I felt transported there with your words and images!

ellen said...

Oh, thank you for sharing such beauty! May the prayers for peace truly touch this wounded planet and help to bring about goodness for all people of all faiths.
p.s. I just finished a re-read of the Dante Club. I love that book!

a friend to knit with said...

wow. i am so moved by these photos.
what an incredible experience that must have been.

nathalie said...

this is the most peaceful place i have seen. i'm delighted by the prayer flags. i truly hope each flag will fly into the wind and spread goodness around us all. this is amazing. you are a lucky person for exploring this magnificent place we all call home!

Chessa said...

simply beautiful words and image, Elizabeth...thank you so much for sharing. I feel like I am there reading your descriptions. I love this!

ps--I gave you an award today:)

please sir said...

WOW is that even real?! Looks AMAZING!!

Angry Asian said...

Elizabeth -
the 3rd pic is my favorite (which was hard for me to choose cus all your pix are beautiful) but i love the peeks of purples and yellows. and your brother grady has the eye too, just like you! :) ~Lan

Sabrina said...

So breathtaking...oh my goodness! I would love to see this magical place in person. Cheers to armchair travel for now.
As always your pictures are brilliant- I especially admire the first one with the silhouetted trees on the side.

Fifi Flowers said...

Beautiful photos... what a journey!

raining sheep said...

Such gorgeous photos. Did you do fine with the high altitude...some people have a tough time. The flowers you photographed are incredible. What an amazing setting. I am so thrilled you shared your experience through your photos with us.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

these are AMAZING...I felt like I was there with you...the landscapes are so ultra unique, it made me feel a longing to be there again...thank you for these beautiful glimpses into your trek!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Breathtakingly beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

brilliant elizabeth! thank you!!!!! tannaz

Elizabeth said...

Tartelette - Thank you sweetie!

Vanessa - I'm so glad the calm feeling came through in the photos, that really was how it felt!

Amy - Next time you guys will come too!

Ellen - Beautifully expressed, I hope for the same!

A Friend to Knit With - Thank you for your sweet comment. It was incredible.

Nathalie - I'm hoping those flags have some positive effect too!

Chessa - Thank you for your award sweetie!

Please Sir - It was, it was!

Angry Asian - My brother totally has the eye. Way more than I do, in fact.

Sabrina - On of my favorite things about blog reading is the wonderful armchair travel!

Fifi Flowers - Thank you!

Elizabeth said...

Raining Sheep - Actually, on the day of our highest climb the altitude really did affect us and we did not go as high as we intended. Crazy stuff that altitude sickness!

Bonbon Oiseau - So glad I could take you back there!

A Day That is Dessert - Thank you!

Tannaz - Thanks for visiting!

Carolina Lange said...

WOW! Himalayas! How amazing to be able to have that experience! How amazing photos! WOW! Fantastic!
Fabulous post!

ThePeachTree said...

It's been some time since I've felt THIS MUCH envy :) Wow, breathtaking.

Shannalee || Food Loves Writing said...

OK, WOW. This are oustandingly beautiful.

f2images said...

Sounds like an amazing adventure. The views and shots are stunning!

jessamyn said...

oh sweet dream.
how absolutely life enriching!
your brother's photo transports me, completely.
much love to you!

Elizabeth said...

Carolina - Thank you!

ThePeachTree - I can hardly believe I was there myself!

ShannaLee - Thank you so much!

F2Images - Thank you for visiting! It really was an adventure.

Jessamyn - Thanks sweetie, same to you.

linnea said...

You should be a photographer for national geographic :o) Just beautiful!

Hope you have a great Friday & Weekend!

The Lil Bee said...

That tree photo is unbelievable. And I also love the bottom photo your brother took. Wow.

Elizabeth said...

Linnea - You are too sweet, I'm blushing!

The Lil Bee - Thank you! And I will pass on your compliment to my brother as well!

d.Sharp said...

Just stunning! Thank you - a delight to see.

dolcechic said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

Elizabeth said... and Dolcechic - Aww, you guys are making me blush. Thank you!

ric said...