Sometimes the alpenglow hits just right. You can see our fresh tracks in the shadows. This photo is a jpeg straight out of the camera. I usually don't edit my photos much but this one had none.
What beautiful feet you have, said no-one ever to me. My alien feet are showing off the American made Bedrock Cairn Sandals I've worn exclusively while in Thailand, covering jungle, beach, limestone scrambles, and perhaps foolishly while motorbiking. I initially didn't think these sandals would be nearly as secure and comfortable as they are. I'm pleasantly surprised to find that they're simply better and much lighter than my old Chacos who have sent most of their production overseas. The other superb American made gear I've been using in Thailand includes: - ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack. - Equinox Parula Ultralite Day Pack - Sawyer Micro Water Filter and Bottles - Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp - Surefire Titan (backup flashlight) - Brunton Truarc 15 Compass (no GPS used, just map and compass) - American Apparel Tri-Blend T-Shirts - Oakley Twenty Sunglasses - Croakies Arc Endless Eyewear Retainer - DUCTape - McNett Gore-Tex Fabric Repair Kit - Fisher Military Space Pen and Rite in Rain Notebook Update: I'm now back home in the good ol' USA, and am immediately headed out for a backcountry yurt trip in the Tetons with my closest friends coming in from around the country. I've been missing out on tons of deep powder while away but will get right back into it now!
Spectacled Langurs = Real life muppet babies? I can't help it, these guys are ridiculous. Do you see the muppet resemblance like I do?
Laid back Ton Sai Beach.
Ton Sai, Thailand. I found my beach. Ton Sai is a rock climber's paradise famous for its limestone karst cliffs, which is just a 10 min hike from the more upscale and crowded beaches of Railay. Other than hiking between beaches you can only reach Ton Sai and Railay by boat.
An elephant hug is one hell of a drug. This was the Thai Elephant Care Center where old retired elephants from logging camps and elephant shows are ethically cared for and pampered with ground up grass and tasty tamarind / ginger treats for their toothless mouths. According to the guide, their oldest elephant is a 94 yr old grandma nearly the age of my own dear 97 yr old Nana... but googling elephant ages says the oldest known elephant lived to 86 yrs old.
I strapped my pack (minus the cold weather gear) to a rental and have been exploring Northern Thailand by motorbike. Lush jungle, cool mountain air, spicy food, friendly country smiles... feeling free. Most people seem to think travelling requires a lot of money. I find it requires time, and far less money than you may think. I tend to spend less while traveling than I would back home, often less than $20 a day. I've visited 33 countries, beginning while I was working as a Forest Service Wildland Firefighter... not as a Wall Street banker. I haven't experienced the world by being financially rich but by budgeting wisely and doing what I love.
Here's a full roundup of the American made gear that I used on my Everest Trek. Every piece of equipment was perfect for the task and I didn't feel like I needed anything more nor less. Pictured is ULA's Ohm 2.0 on Kongma La Pass at 18,136ft ASL before snow storms hit, which is the most comfortable ultralight backpack I've found to date and it's affordable which earned it our Best Buy Award. I'll include this gear in my story with swipe up links where you can learn more about each. Most of the gear is surprisingly affordable; the Feathered Friends down gear is a little on the pricier side but is the real deal and it's competitvely priced with similar spec down equipment. Feathered Friends is the finest quality available and is without a doubt some of my most cherished gear. Hopefully this opens some eyes to some of the cool gear made locally in the USA. Here goes a lengthy list... The American made gear that I used: - ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack. - Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0 sleeping bag. - Feathered Friends Helios Down Jacket. - NWT3K Hardshell Jacket - Equinox Parula Ultralite Day Pack - Darn Tough and Farm to Feet Hiking Socks - Polarmax Top and Bottom Thermal Base Layers and Fleece Layers - Sawyer Micro Water Filter and Bottles - Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp - Surefire Titan (backup flashlight) - Exotac Fire Starter - Stabilicers ultralight crampons - Brunton Truarc 15 Compass (no GPS used, just map and compass) - American Apparel Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Carhartt Beanie (made in Canada) - Outdoor Research Military Gloves - Oakley Twenty Sunglasses - Croakies Arc Endless Eyewear Retainer - DUCTape - McNett Gore-Tex Fabric Repair Kit - Energizer AAA Lithium Batteries for the cold - Fisher Military Space Pen and Rite in Rain Notebook - La Sportiva Makalu Boots (they're great boots made in Italy, I was going to take Danner Crag Rat USA's but received them only a couple days before leaving, which isn't enough time for a big trip)
Everest is gorgeous but some nearby peaks like Cholatse may edge her out. Happy Valentines Day from Nepal. Update: I made it out in an intense 34km and many thousand ft. elevation day from Machermo to Lukla before the storms hit and risked shutting down the most dangerous airport in the world for a week. I'm now in Kathmandu enjoying some fresh coffee while going over photos.