6.22.2018

Adventure Mode on: Manaslu trekking in August (and more)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, hat, closeup and outdoorNamaste! 
I'm sorry for the long silence but I have been busy, in many ways. Recovering from my ankle's injury has taken a while and when I came back to work I had to hurry up with my Philosophy course because just 15 days were left. I'm proud because I managed to complete my program.
On a different level I have been busy with Ramadan. I have a severe chronic anemia so fasting would be 'haram' for me, it isn't that I 'can avoid to': I mustn't. This is a big limitation, not something you enjoy. Ritual fasting is a kind of ascetic practice common to every religions and spiritual paths: Islam, Yoga, Ascesis all mean 'willing submission to a discipline' aiming to the 'self' development by the 'ego' deny. That's why Ramadan is not just fasting, and fasting without the rest is absolutely NOT a valid Ramadan while the rest without fasting definitely is. According to Islam, two chategories of persons mustn't fast: the first chategory includes persons with a permanent problem due to their age or to a chronic disease, the second one includes persons with a temporary problem (a temporary sickness, menstruated women, travelers and all people whose health could be harmed by the fast), these persons must make up for the fast when the temporary problem is over. This in short: Islamic law is very dettailed and with slight differences according to different 'schools' or scholars.
The rest is worshiping, reciting the whole Quran (more or less ten pages per day), dhikr, zakat and being as good as possible. I take this seriously, so dudes it's a demanding month, and when it's over I  - like many Muslims - suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
Manaslu has been on my dream list for some years now and when I fractured my ankle I had just said: "Now it's time to start training because next August I'm shooting high!" In the Quran it's said we make planns... but god is the best planner, that's why talking about the future we add 'inshallah' ('if god wants'). I spent 20 days in bed with a plaster, then I started walking with crutches, painfully and very slowly. After almost three months I'm better, but it's still a long way to my top form. That's why I waited too long to buy my flight tickets and paid them too much as a result. Fortunately I got a very good price for the trekking by Nature Adventure Trekking and I'm looking forward to travel again with my guide and best friend Jaya Rai
I know: summer is NOT the best period of the year to vist Nepal as it's the monsoon season. In Europe we have four seasons basically defined by temperature, in Nepal there are two seasons basically defined by rainfall ammount: since September to December and since March to May the season is dry, in July and August as well as in January and February the season is wet, even VERY wet, with daily pourring rain and heavy snow in the mountains. In the wet season trekking isn't easy, not only due to rain making paths muddy and snow blocking high passes, but also for the risk of slides. Roads in Nepal are always dangerous, imagine with pourring rains... 
According to my friends though Nepal in summer is very beautiful, especially in the second part of August, when the monsoon has lost the most of its power. Fields and forests are intense green, air pollution is less in Kathmandu valley, and several festivals are held. In the mountains the weather should be moderately rainy, with rainfalls concentrated in the night hours. Temperature are around 25 degrees, nothing compared to Iran or even the Italian Alps in August. Umbrela and raincoat should be enough.
The most unpleasant side of the summer trekking in Nepal are sleeches. There is plenty of them, and they are big, invasive and annoying, although inoffensive. Long trousers and long socks seem a good choice, with some repellent. Salt is also said to be good against sleeches...  I'm kinda curious to see them! 
Manaslu trekking is demanding: first of all because the area is a remote and restricted one, at the border with Chinese Tibet, and it takes a long bus or jeep trip to get there, secondly because it's a long circuit, including Manaslu base camp and  Larke La Pass (5,135 m). That's why the permit is expensive and you can't go on your own: it's compulsory to hire a guide and the group must be at least of two. In August my son will join, and we'll have one porter, even if as always I'll travel light.
I'm set to leave on the 6th of August and my flight back to Italy is on the 30th, so I have plenty of time. For the trekking 17 days are a confortable ammount of time, and a few days are left for visits and friends in Kathmandu. By the way... I have been busy also studying Nepali.
Adeventure Mode is one. 

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