Monthly Archive for: ‘July, 2016’

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Coming out of the peace and isolation…

Coming out of the peace and isolation of the mountains is never easy, and especially this time around. I emerged from the simple tranquility of #Samdzong 4 days ago – a place where life is hard, certainly, but profoundly simple, where the nonsensical forces of war and bigotry, violence and hatred and greed and power are somehow muted by the base reality of existence and the fundamental need to do so. I came from that into the world of 24 hour news cycles, political vitriol of an adolescent ilk, reports of human depravity beyond imagination let alone comprehension, floods and famines and finances. Real, true, and important, for certain, but always reminds me of the solace I find in the mountains and part of what draws me back time and again. As James Ramsey #Ullman wrote years ago: “The mountain may well be a way of escape – from the cities and people, from the turmoil and doubt, from the complexities and uncertainties and sorrows that thread our lives. But in the truest and most profound sense, it is an escape not from, but to, reality.” #liveyouradventure #bestmountainartists #dktm

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@clarkliesl @mreverest7x @coryrichards and the #Mustang team…

@clarkliesl @mreverest7x @coryrichards and the #Mustang team made some amazing discoveries in ancient funerary caves near #Samdzong several years ago. The artifacts – an intact, wooden “coffin” box, beads, copper pots, some dozen human skeletons, and three stunning gold masks – tell the story of early inhabitants of the high #Himalaya, and the trade routes that existed long before the roads of today were cut. The high country of Mustang still undoubtedly holds many answers, and many more mysteries. Thanks to the dedication of Pete and Liesl, archaeologist Mark Aldenderfer and his team, and the Nepal Department of Archaeology, those stories are being told and history written. | In this photo, Pete Athans rappels out of one of the Samdzong caves to the ground below. #liveyouradventure

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My kids started calling him “Baliyo Euta”…

My kids started calling him “Baliyo Euta” – strong one – and rightly so: despite two horribly, gruesomely shattered hind legs – likely from a poacher’s trap – and enduring at least a day in the relentless, baking sun of Mustang, he was still fighting. As our teammate, Birat, carefully propped tree branches above him to block the sun and offer a respite from the heat, he hissed loudly, baring his teeth and pawing at the intrusion. Moments later, he laid back down, exhausted, conserving energy. Later in the day, as the sun shifted, he got up, dragged his mangled body behind another wall and found shade. After 12 hours, officials from ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) arrived; it wasn’t the local head from down in Jomsom – a mere 2 hours away – but rather 2 dedicated PhD candidates working in Lo Manthang. Working well into the night – with a disparate crew of researchers, our film team, and many Chuksang villagers – we managed to get the wounded leopard into a containment cage and carried safely down to the village. Our hope was that the powers that be would make the decision immediately to fly the leopard to Kathmandu for treatment by experts at the Zoo. By late morning the following day, the decision finally came: the snow leopard would not be flown, but rather driven in the back of a jeep down to Jomsom where he would be treated by a vet from the Zoo who would fly in from Kathmandu; once it was healthy, it would then be flown to Kathmandu for further treatment. We still wanted an airlift, but this seemed like a reasonable plan, and we had little leverage in the situation. So, by late afternoon, with excitement and promise, Baliyo Eka was driven out of Chuksang and down valley to Jomsom. We said our goodbyes to the local officials and researchers, and continued our journey north, filled with hope for this beautiful animal’s life. En route to Lo, our hopes were buoyed again when we heard he took in food and fluids. Sadly, 36 hours later, we got the news that the leopard had died in Jomsom. [Please continue reading the story in the comments section.]

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Beautiful morning for our flight to #Pokhara,…

Beautiful morning for our flight to #Pokhara, with glimpses of the Himalaya peeking through the monsoon clouds. We’re off, out of Kathmandu and bound for #Mustang – excited to escape the heat and humidity, and to get shooting. | In this photo, #Machhapuchare, or Fish Tai, rises above Pokhara and the foothills. #liveyouradventure @clarkliesl @mreverest7x @clark_finn

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Long before it was on the map…

Long before it was on the map as a tourist destination, #Nepal was well known throughout South Asia for its artisans. #Newar craftsmen traveled far and wide to create, their skill and precision refined and cherished. And, the craftsmen are still at it today. In this photo, goldsmith Ujjwal Bajracharya heats a bead of gold using a wax lamp and mini mouth bellows, and later pounds the gold amazingly thin and flat using a hammer and anvil. His skills, handed down through generations, century after century, are not unlike those of whoever created the fine, silver and gold funerary mask discovered in a dusty cave above the village of #Samdzong, #Mustang, by @mreverest7x, @clarkliesl, Mark Aldenderfer, @coryrichards, and their team several years ago. Excited to be returning once again to Mustang to help capture and share these amazing stories of the history of Nepal, the Himalaya, and the Silk Road. #liveyouradventure #silkroad #goldsmith

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En route back to #Kathmandu, #Nepal, for…

En route back to #Kathmandu, #Nepal, for another spell exploring and shooting the caves, landscapes, ancient history, and ancient peoples of #Mustang. It’s been a year since I was last in Nepal; it always seems like too much time has passed between trips, and yet when I touch down in that familiar, magical, wonderful land, it never seems like any time has passed at all. | In this photo, a woman prays behind a veil of juniper smoke at #Swyambhunath. #liveyouradventure #homeawayfromhome

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Sending happy birthday wishes to His Holiness,…

Sending happy birthday wishes to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who turns 81 today. He’s spread the timeless gospel of compassion and empathy for decades, and continues to be an inspiration to so many, myself included. I hope that someday greater wisdom can permeate the frightened corners of the Chinese government, and the Tibetan right to spiritual freedom can return to the Plateau (and, to the Uighurs and so many more). I will keep my fingers crossed for that eventuality, but won’t hold my breath. #dalailama #hesnotathreat #liveyouradventure

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And, finally, a bit of proper sun…

And, finally, a bit of proper sun just at the end of the day, with waves and driftwood on the shores of Loch #Linnhe. #liveyouradventure #lgg5

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Got some nicer weather today for a…

Got some nicer weather today for a little walk in the hills above #Glencoe up the Coire nan Lochan. Kids had a great time, despite the rain, gazing at waterfalls, sweeping ridges, cloud drama, and huge slugs. Amazing terrain here in the Scottish Highlands! Definitely hoping to come back when there’s snow on the ground and ice on the rocks! #liveyouradventure #lgg5

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He never wanted the mountain named after…

He never wanted the mountain named after him. In fact, Sir George #Everest – who was born today (July 4) in 1790 – was very much in favor of finding local names for peaks surveyed under his watch as Surveyor General of #India under the Great Trigonometric Survey. However, Peak XV, identified in 1856 as the highest peak in the world after being measured by Bengali mathematician Radhanath Sikdar, had no easily identifiable local name that then Surveyor General Andrew Waugh could find. (French maps, of 1716 showed the peak as named #Chomolungma from the north in Tibet; #Sagarmatha, the now-common name from #Nepal, is a more modern addition.) Thus, in 1865, despite his protests, the Royal Geographic Society named Peak XV officially Mount Everest. Sir George Everest padded away the following year, in 1866. #liveyouradventure #everesthistory

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