AMBASSADOR'S

Crossing The Himalayas #6 / トラウマの大ヒマラヤ山脈横断♯6

2015.07.10
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Crossing The Himalayas – India GHT #1: By  Justin “Trauma” Lichter

After finishing Nepal, we had to catch a flight back to Kathmandu in order to go to India. It is illegal for a foreigner to cross the border at remote locations with trail border crossings, even though locals can cross without an issue. As a result the logistic hassle continued. It was mandatory to head back to Kathmandu and then cross the border by flying into India and then travel back to the other side of the border.

We returned to Kathmandu in high spirits after completing Nepal in 47 hiking days. We went out for a few celebratory meals and ice cream, relaxed for a day, and posted photos, caught up on e-mails and Internet. Pepper had to head home to start work and I headed to New Delhi to get organized and start hiking across India.

Entering India was overwhelming after being in Nepal. I walked in along after spending the past couple of months hiking with Pepper. Customs immediately gave me a hard time and skirted me into the line with increased scrutiny. Apparently it is illegal to carry or have a satellite phone or any GPS in India. I had a satellite phone for this trip in order to communicate with home and as an emergency phone. They gave me a hard time but eventually allowed me through. India’s homeland security and interesting permit system would come in to play a few more times throughout this portion of the trip.

I headed out of the airport and into the busy street with a bunch of touts trying to lure me into their taxi. I found a hotel in New Delhi and started to get organized and lined up for the trip. I needed to find maps, food, and the permit office. It took me a few days to get everything lined up because of the bureaucracy run around, but that was ok since I needed to take a couple of days off to recharge mentally for the next 700-1000 miles.

I walked and zipped around the city for a couple of days trying to find maps and permit information. Sometimes I hopped into the abundant and fairly cheap auto rickshaws to help speed me around. It was nearly impossible to find maps of India, let alone good topographic maps. I had a few that I carried over with me but the only ones that I could find in Delhi were horrible. They were called topographic maps but they didn’t even have a topo line on them. They had an orange line signifying a ridgeline and a blue line signifying rivers. Dashed lines showed trails and some passes. Nothing was accurate but it was the best I could find anywhere. I searched the entire city.

I had a similar experience with the permits in India. I visited government buildings and spoke to so many people that my head was spinning in circles. Nobody could give me a straight answer and everybody sent me to someone else. It boiled down to the fact that if a permit was required you really couldn’t get that permit, most likely unless you knew someone really high up in the government, essentially making two places that would be fantastic for hiking and would be perfect along the GHT route, Unta Dura and Kolindi Kol, not hikeable. It’s sad. In Nepal the government issued permits to raise money. The permits varied by price but for the most part you could visit any part of the country as long as you were willing to pay, with one or two small exceptions. In India, the opposite was true. If they mandated that you needed a permit, you couldn’t get the permit so essentially it was off limits. I adjusted my planned route accordingly and it included some extra road walking. A bummer, but at least I’d make some decent time and be able to get to some of the highlights of the area. I was ready to crank out some miles.

I stocked up on some last minute food and was even able to find some Domino’s Pizza locations to get a few high calorie meals. The strangest thing on the menu was pizza made with paneer cheese, the blocky Indian cheese. I steered clear of that and went for the more traditional pizza that I had been craving for months.

After loading up, the next morning I flew to the closest city to where I would resume the hike and took another long bus ride to get back to the border with Nepal. From there I started hiking again and heading west. Fortunately, upon finishing Nepal the food got a bit better in India and I was able to maintain my already skinny body weight. Luckily, I really like garlic and cheese naan and I was able to find Domino’s pizza a couple of times so I was able to stock up on calories in a more common method, binging. People were amazed at the quantities of naan, Coke, and other food I was putting away, but it still wasn’t helping me gain any weight with all of the elevation and additional miles I was hiking. My body felt good and I was cranking out the miles.

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JustinLichter

JustinLichter

1980年、ニューヨーク州生まれ。現在はカリフォルニア州レイク・タホ近くの山中に住み、スキーパトロールやグラナイトギアのパックテスター兼アドバイザーをしながら世界中のトレイルを歩いている。2006に約1年間(356日)で約16,000kmを歩くトリプルクラウンを達成。2007年に南アルプス、及びニュージーランドのサウスアイランドを、2009年にはアフリカ大陸をサポート無しで約2,900km歩く。最近では2011年のヒマラヤレンジ約3,200kmや、2013年メキシコのコッパーキャニオン約800kmをハイクトリップ。2002年以降、約56,000kmを超える距離をハイキングした世界中から注目を集めるハイカー。著書 『TRAIL TESTED』詳しくは、2014.01.31に掲載されたTRAIL TALK #001を参照。

http://www.justinlichter.com/

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