happytramper's Posts

A River of Ice on the Paine Circuit, Far-South Patagonia

The notorious Patagonian weather had been following us uphill for most of the day as we made our approach to the ‘crux’ of the Torres del Paine Circuit trek in Chilean Patagonia: John Gardner pass at 4660’ elevation.  I know, less than 5000 feet, shouldn’t be much of a big deal – but at 51 degrees south latitude and almost within eyeshot of the Antarctic current coming up the Chilean coast a few d...

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Among the nomads of Lycia

Chunks of rough rock far outnumbered actual soil on these dry scrub-covered hills overlooking the Mediterranean on the steep narrow join of the Taurus Mountains to the sea. This section of the Lycian Way between  Patara and Demre wound high above the sea, intersecting remote tumble-down ruins of ancient Lycian sarcophagi and Byzantine churches wrapped in the elegant red of Strawberry trees, a loca...

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The Unexpected Minefields of Cross-cultural Sensitivity

                                            I like to fancy myself a person who has pretty well developed cross-cultural ‘antennae’.  I read ahead about the cultural norms, I advise my travel companions about the local sensitivities and customs of the countries and regions that...

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Off the beaten track in the Khumbu of Nepal: Gokyo to Thame over Renjo La

It was one of those magical, sparkling mornings when the light painted every rock, lichen, yak and peak in surreally vivid relief.  A flock of birds burst upward from an adjoining field like a scatter of buckshot against the blue-violet of the morning sky. We had emerged shivering from our rooms that mid-October morning in our tiny lodge in Lungden, to consume a welcome cup of hot lemon tea and a ...

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Off the beaten track in the Khumbu of Nepal: Lobuche to Gokyo via Cho La

In a place where superlatives ring hollow for overuse, Gokyo finds a way to make an impression. Out the back door of our well-kept lodge in the lakeside town of Gokyo in the northern Khumbu of Nepal, groups of brightly dressed porters stood talking around their cooking fires, smoke curling upward with its now familiar sweet-bitter yak dung fragrance.     The tiny internet room out back was packed ...

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