Sri Lanka and India

We’re picking up our postponed trip to South India and also
joining Bob and Anita for a month in Sri Lanka. We plan to post
blogs and some photos while on the trip. Presuming WiFi so we can
post with our phones and occasionally Internet cafe stops should
make it possible. We have two house sitters while we’re gone:, my
brother, Steve and a Susan a friend from New Mexico. Both are
escaping cold climes.

In the air now. Just passed by St. George, Utah and Cedar Breaks. Lots of snow.

The airplane is nice. We’re on Emirates with a layover in Dubai. If we’re not too tired we’ll have time to explore a little.

Several inches of legroom compared to domestic flights and well equipped seat back, that is, well equipped screen and 110V and USB charging plugs. The plan is about half full which is a surprise these days. But this is a slow season. Hope to post this in Dubai.

We plan to blog this trip which shouldn’t be too hard technologically, just have to make the time. I didn’t have the time or technology to post on the Nepal trek and didn’t finish writing up the trip, but I did cover more than half the trip and posted on our blog at Links to photographs also from the Nepal trip are on the blog.

Nepal Trek

A rocky start to another adventure. Nepal, India and Cleveland.

I’m leaving for Nepal tonight for my four-week trek. I had thought we were leaving tomorrow night, because the flight is at 1:30 am on Wednesday. So Wednesday was imprinted. I’m on the same flight as a couple who is also going and Louisa is planning on taking us all to the airport. And last night they called and asked were we really on the same flight because they became aware that they were leaving tonight, not tomorrow. I checked and I am. So it’s been a bit a scramble. I had more or less a day’s cushion built-in to my schedule, but still. Also got my absentee ballot and we have all those wonderful propositions

Off to the airport after Louisa prepared a wonderful farewell dinner prepared by Louisa which we all enjoyed. My dad shared his photos from his 1977 Peace Core stint on Nepal.

Paul, Judy and I realized at the airport that we had an 11 hr layover in Hong Kong and a fellow passenger said a 30 min. train will take us to town. Whirlwind tour–got off at the Hong Kong Central stop. We went to the herbal medicine area. Popular is ginseng from the US. A trip on the tram to the top of the mountain (Virginia?) to get an overview of all the tall building. Then on to Kathmandu.

No blogging while on the trek since I didn’t bring my satellite phone;)

MTBing Twenty Mile Trail- Roots & Rocks- Jasper, Alberta

Click to see short video of Greg riding the Twenty Mile Trail
I needed to pee in the worst way when we arrived at the trailhead for Twenty Mile Trail Loop in Jasper. I found some bushes a little ways from the parking area and just as I was yanking my bike shorts up I locked eyeballs with a ten-point elk buck about 10 feet from me. The look was either surprise or “I’ve seen that before.”

Cabin Lake

We climbed a steep short switch back and old logging road up to Cabin Lake. A smooth single track that traversed the hillside proved be a sweet one up to the high woodland Saturday Night Lake where two loons swam and dove side by side.

After Saturday Night Lake the trail became gradually more rooty and rough as it wound it ways thru a lush forest of berry bushes, poplars and douglas firs. Nice red ripe delicious berries, just right for bears to….. never mind! – just keep riding!

And there was mud. Lots of mud and woop-dee-doos of nothing but roots for several miles before we hit the swooping downhill back to the car.
And as a perfect book end to the ride, we came flying around the last big turn and came to a screeching halt as we came face to face with a fifteen point elk in the middle of the trail. Oh Canada eh!

Two weeks on the road and now in the Canadian Rockies

Finally sitting in a cyber cafe after two weeks on the road and posting. I’ll try to fill in some details. We just arrived in Banff, Canada this morning and easily found a nice campsite a few miles out of town. A rain shower while we were setting up our campsite. Except for yesterday a rain shower at some time of day or night has been the norm; but the rain only lasts for ten or twenty minutes once or twice a day. Yesterday started with a clear blue sky. A bit cloudy in the evening, but no rain. Banff is a real tourist town and is a lot more developed than when I was here thirty years ago skiing. But that’s not too surprising. Lot’s of shops and eateries and condos. Busy and probably more so tomorrow—today’s Friday.

We just came from four nights in the Kananaskis region about 30 miles east of Banff. Kananaskis is a valley that connects to the main valley that runs east of the Canadian Rockies (Continental Divide). Two bike rides—one a bit tough—lots of hike a bike and rain. The other was fantastic. A 2000 ft. climb up a fire road followed by a fantastic downhill with bits of everything—steep, rocky; roots and more roots and flowing down through the trees. And wildflowers and scenery.

Did I say scenery? The Canadian Rockies has scenery. Mountains of all shapes and sizes. A distinct treeline. In seemingly a few hundred feet, goes from trees and green to grey rock. I think the rocks are sedimentary which is much different from the Sierras which we are used to. Have to wait for pictures.

We’re camping here for six nights. Visit some museums, buy some souvenirs, hike and bike and take pictures. Then we’ll move north to Jasper. We’ll stop by the glacier on the way or make a day trip out of it.

We started our trip with a long drive to Callahan, Calif. to visit Gary and Mary. Callahan is the setting for the annual Hayden family get together. Callahan has been the home of the Hayden clan for several generations and Mary is a Hayden. Mary married Gary, one of Greg’s college roommates, at the Callahan church in 1968. We were happy to be invited to attend and meet more of the family. And in particular, Sara’s fiance Scott, a worthy addition to the clan. As you might guess, Sara is Mary and Gary’s daughter. Unfortunately we’ll miss the wedding.

Then off to Bend, Oregon to visit Steve, Greg’s brother. We all kayaked on the Deschutes River which runs right through Bend. Bend has a stong outdoors orientation with many good restaurants and outdoor shops. Oriented to tourists and the environment. But suffering more than almost anywhere from the housing collapse. I don’t remember the precise numbers, but housing prices are approximately halved from the peak. We only had time for one bike ride, but it was a great ride in a city park about two miles from the city center. We did an out and back in the forest and a flowing fast mostly smooth trail. 25 miles. Steve had initially planned to show us the more popular hard core riding, but the weather was threatening so we had to get out and back early. We weren’t disappointed in the Mrazek Trail.

Then a two day drive to Canmore which is just down the road from Banff. Just after we crossed the Continental Divide we saw a moose along side the road. It wasn’t a good place to stop and we were late, but we realized that it’s probably the only moose we’ll see. In our campsite in Kananskis the rangers were around with their antennas tracking three bears that were near camp. They work very hard to keep the bears from getting habituated to humans and to prevent any harm to we humans. They must be doing a good job, because they don’t need bear boxes in the campsites. It’s fine to leave food in your car which doesn’t work in California (many of you know that Greg’s learned from personal experience).

But back to Canmore. We made that our first stop because they were having a three-day folk music festival. A great festival in its 33rd year. Held in the town park. Workshops during the day and six acts each evening. Most of the audience persevered through the rain showers each evening. A bit of an adjustment for we Californians. But we wrapped ourselves in a tarp, put up our umbrellas. A good mix of long time and new performers: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Geoff Muldaur, Vieux Farka Touré (Ali Farka Touré’s son, but totally different style), and Matt Andersen, a young blues musician.

Some Canadian Rockies photos.