Tag archives for Mountains
The first time I saw the Mount Mulanje Massif it was covered in clouds, but I could feel its incredible power. We spent a few days in the village at the foot of the mountain before we started our amazing ascent. The little town was full of verdant tea plantations. As we wandered around everyone looked at us like we were aliens because they rarely see white people here.
One afternoon we rode bikes to the community mill. The village people take their corn, often their most prized possession, and put it down a funnel until it comes out as sima, (also known as polenta, grits, nshima or corn meal). The following day we went with a missionary from Scotland to a local farm that he helped create. Pride beamed on their faces as they showed us their rows of crops and their new well.
Clean fresh water is hard to come by here. You have to dig down at least 150 feet to reach water, so the fact that they have water to irrigate their farm is extra special. We then went to the local teacher’s home and played with her children and some of their neighbors. Even though we spoke different languages we had a great time. It is crazy what a smile and a soccer ball can get you.
We woke up early the next morning and started our climb with our guide Unix and our porter Daniel. The mountain was a thousand shades of lush green and filled with gurgling streams. When we were about an hour away from our first hut it started to pour. When we arrived we were soaked and ready for a warm fire, a hot cup of tea and yummy Malawian coconut biscuits. The next morning we woke up to a beautiful day with lots of sunshine. We decided to start the day with a swim in a stream that was so cold I thought my fingers might fall off. The freezing water thundered over the edge of the mountain and gave us energy to hit the trail again. Another afternoon storm rolled in before we arrived at our second hut. The lightening looked like it was just seconds away and the thunder sounded like it was booming in my ears. Unfortunately we weren’t able to climb to the highest peak due to weather, but the view from our last hut took my breath away.
I loved our huts, huddling around a little crackling fireplace and making home cooked meals. Our final day may have been the best. We hiked down with a spring in our step. The sky was blue and we were all singing and happy. We stopped at a gushing water fall and plunged into the spinning currents. After 40 miles and an 8,000 foot vertical incline up Central Africa’s highest peak, we were all super proud of ourselves. I will never forget the sparkling lake, breathtaking mountains and kind, smiling people of Malawi, but tomorrow we are off to the brilliant shores of Mozambique.
Hey there readers, how’s it going? This week we were in Dihovo, Macedonia. After 18 months on the road we realize it’s not the places we go but the people we meet that make the journey special. This week we met some pretty fabulous people. The family that ran our bed and breakfast couldn’t have been any more hospitable, friendly and welcoming. We joined them for a traditional lunch one day and met every one from the great aunts to the second cousins. There were even two girls around my age Matea 11 and Alexandra 14. We had a great time together playing cards and eating ice cream. We also did tons of other fun things.
We went on an absolutely, positively, amazing hike in the Baba Mountains. When we got to the top it was pouring rain, we were sopping wet and the wind was howling, but that added to the awesomeness. Our guide taught us a lot about mushrooms and showed us which mushrooms were poisonous and which ones weren’t. If you eat one type of mushroom you will slowly die for two to three years.
Another day we visited the ancient ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis which was founded by Phillip II in 168 B.C. It is the remains of a roman village. There is an amphitheater, church, the foundation of many houses, and beautiful floor mosaics. We also visited the American corner in Bitola. There is a little library area were Americans can go and read. They also have activities and classes offered in English.
For Halloween many American children and some Macedonian children went trick or treating and to a party there. Our last day we went into town and explored the old bazaar which oddly enough was filled with new stuff. The market was full of fruits and vegetables. Apples are in season and so delicious that we decided to get a four pound bag of every kind you can imagine. Another week filled with amazing people and things. Ciao for now, Aubrey.
Our next stop Dubrovnik, Croatia started with a surprise. Aunt Julie came to visit! Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The weather was super warm for October so we swam in the Adriatic Sea every single day. My favorite swim was deep into a spooky sea cave full of birds and other creepy critters.
Hey readers. We were just in Budapest and had an awesome time. We were all super excited to explore the city so we went on a walking tour along the Danube River. Our guide was great and we learned a lot. Did you know that Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe? It was founded in 896. We also went to the healing Turkish baths and soaked in the water for hours. We were sooooooo pruny when we finally got out. The baths were in an old mansion and have been there for over four hundred years.
We felt the soul of the city the minute we arrived in Krakow, Poland. There were tons of charming cafes, restaurants, and cathedrals. We stayed in the center of the Jewish Quarter which is the more bohemian, residential part of town. The days were filled with so many fun things, and a couple of very sad things, too. We zipped around town in a golf cart with a college student who told us all about their history. Did you know that at one point Poland didn’t exist and if anyone even said Poland they would be shot by a communist leader?
On the tour we went to many churches, synagogues (Jewish temples) and museums. One of the churches had a stone water fountain. If you drink from the fountain you are suppose to live for at least 100 years. We tried it, but it tasted like rotten eggs… icky!
Emily: Hooray! Today we went to Whitefish Mountain. Not only is it a wonderful resort, it is also home to the absolutely amazing… ALPINE SLIDE!!! The Alpine Slide is a huge slide that goes down the mountain. To get up, you go on a ski lift, or you can hike up. (I normally went on the ski lift.) To get down, you could go the extremely boring way, (a.k.a. the ski lift) or you could ride down the Alpine Slide on a self-controlled sled. I loved going on the Alpine slide; I went on it four times.
After riding on the wondrous Alpine Slide, we went up higher on the mountain by riding in a gondola. (You could also ride a ski lift chair.) It was a somewhat long gondola ride. (It really didn’t matter to me because that I was in the “Party Gondola.”)
At the top, we decided to go on a hike to Flower Point. To get there, I would first have to hike on a very large hill, and luckily, we were at the top, so we got to go downhill for a lot of it. Along the way, we tried to identify many different flowers and trees. After walking for a while, we decided that unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for us to go all the way to Flower Point. So, we had to turn back. On the way back up, it was very hard for me to hike because it was so steep.
When we got to the top again, we jumped into another gondola. This time however, it was about to rain. It was so foggy and cloudy, that it had a spooky touch to it. When we got to the end, we tried to go on the slide the rest of the way down the mountain, but it was closed because of the rain. So, without a rain jacket, I hopped onto a ski lift with two other people, and rode down. We started to sing songs. However, in the middle of the ski lift ride, the chairs stopped for a few seconds, and then eventually moved on. (That was scary!) When we got down to the bottom of the mountain, we got on the bus to go to the hotel.
As an added bonus to this wonderful day, in the morning, we got to meet Jack Hanna. I asked him this question: “If you could be a kid for one week, and go anywhere in the world, where would you go, and what would you explore?” He said that he would want to go to Rwanda, where the mountain gorillas live. Today was such a great day. (Too bad it’s our last day in Montana!)
Ben: Today was our first day waking up on the west side of the Rockies. We had lunch on the edge of a small cliff that had a great view of Hidden Lake. Since Hidden Lake’s water is glacial runoff, the water was a teal blue from the glacial “flour,” which forms as the glaciers crush the rocks to a fine powder. There was a chipmunk that would crawl on our boots looking for food.
After lunch, as we started hiking back down the mountain, we saw a female mountain goat with twins, which our guide said was very rare. (I named the goat Georgina the Jumping Goat! I like to name all the animals I see, so I named the grizzly bear that we saw earlier in the week Benny the Bounding Bear!) The mother was still losing her winter fur, so it looked like she had a ripped coat on. I wanted to go cuddle with the babies, but I doubt their mother would have appreciated that. As I was passing a grove of trees, I saw some snagged goat hair, which I stuffed into my pocket.
BOOK NAME: Peak
AUTHOR: Roland Smith
14-year old Peak is obsessed with the sport of climbing. He attends climbing camps, has had previous experience with climbing, and it happens to be known that Peak’s parents were formerly renowned climbers. All this to say, Peak is so engrossed by climbing that he has taken the initiative to start climbing several New York skyscrapers! All fares well for Peak until the worst possible scenario occurs: Peak is caught and arrested by the New York Police Department while he is scaling the Woolsworth Building. With Peak’s story buzzing throughout New York, and the court threatening to sentence him for a few years in a Juvenile Detention Center, Peak’s father, Josh, offers to take custody of Peak for a little while until things calm down in the city. Josh takes Peak to the towering slopes of Mount Everest where he manages a climbing company. At the mountain, he offers Peak an opportunity to reach the summit of Everest, which Peak cannot resist. However, attempting to reach the summit isn’t exactly a walk in the park for Peak, as he must strike a mutual bargain with his father, endure the hardships of climbing the world’s tallest mountain (i.e weather, sickness), and deal with stubborn Chinese authorities and his father’s aggravating clients. Here, in this book, Peak writes a detailed account of his adventure in the Himalayas and the numerous emotions and struggles he must grapple with in his quest to conquer a merciless mountain.
Peak was one of the best books I have ever read that deals with the genre of adventure survival/nature. Roland Smith carves out a spectacular fictional novel about climbing Mount Everest and at the same time, decorates that novel with a rich, vivid storyline. In other words, Smith doesn’t just fill an entire book on basic knowledge facts on climbing Everest but also manipulates that knowledge part so that it revolves around a centralized story. As a result, readers are not only enriched by facts about Everest, but are also entertained by Peak’s experience scaling the mountain. I’d also like to commend the author for his excellent character depth and development, as he assembles a group of memorable characters each with their own unique traits/characteristics. For example, readers will definitely be able to remember Zopa, a strong-willed Buddhist monk whose wisdom and experience in climbing mountains are revered by those who interact with him. Other unforgettable characters include the amiable, humble Sun-Jo, one of Peak’s closest climbing partners, Holly Angelo, the grouchy journalist who always wants things her way, and Captain Shek, the Chinese captain who always seems to be suspicious about all the climbers on Everest. While readers go through the book, they will be delighted by Roland Smith’s unique style of writing as he shares every one of Peak’s thoughts. Readers will laugh at Peak’s jokes that spring out from his mind and will be able to interpret every emotion that he goes through during his climb. The book also gives great insight into the difficulties of climbing Everest, from the infamous climbing condition known as HAPE to oxygen deprivation, and also takes a cultural look at Everest, delving into the world of Sherpas (the natives of the mountain who assist the climbers).
There were barely any negative aspects in this book and I’d definitely suggest this book for all adventure/action, nature, and science readers. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this book a 10, as it is definitely one of the best young adult novels Roland Smith has ever written. Check out this book whenever you can, and I’ll guarantee you’ll enjoy it!
A team from National Geographic and The North Face, including National Geographic contributing writer Mark Jenkins, reached the summit of Mount Everest on Friday, May 25. Team leader Conrad Anker reached the summit on Saturday. He did not go with the rest of the group because of exhaustion.
What did it feel like to be on top of the world’s tallest mountain? “It was awesome,” said team member and The North Face athlete Hilaree O’Neill. “There is a 360-degree view of the Himalaya, and you could see over into Tibet, all of Nepal, and the mountains. It was amazing just being able to stand up there, and experiencing that made the whole thing worth it.”
Photograph by Emily Harrington
We pulled up to San Antonio, our refuge in the high country near Aconcagua, the western hemisphere’s highest summit and stood in awe of the magnificent Andes Mountains. We were ready to do some hiking.
We started our first morning with our new guide, the montana perro (mountain dog), the best guide on the mountain. We hiked up the river bed and down the snail trail. It was gorgeous. The sky was sapphire and the wind was blowing, it was a fantastic day for a hike. The vast mountains took our breath away. We saw so much wildlife, from stallions and cows to colorful birds and foxes.
We went back to a delectable dinner in the refuge after our big adventure with a really big appetite.
Read the whole post »
Our trek in the Himalaya mountains was awesome! When we left our lakeside cottage in Pokhara with our guide K.B. and our porter, who happens to be K.B.’s dad, it was fogged in and hard to see the mountains.
Our first day was relatively easy. We trekked about 4 hours among rice terraces and little villages. We ended our day in the pretty mountain town of Hille and checked in to our first teahouse, Mamta’s. The sun was shining. We rested and started talking with some great ladies from Portugal. Then we enjoyed a nice dinner of Dal Bhat, a traditional Nepalese dish with rice, lentil soup and vegetables. The Nepalis believe it will give them 24 hour power.
Read the whole post »
On August 23, a 40-year-old woman named Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria climbed to the top of K2 (Earth’s second-tallest mountain). With this ascent, Kaltenbrunner has become the first woman to climb all of the world’s 8,000-meter (26,246-foot) peaks without using extra oxygen. That’s 14 climbs in all!
Photograph by Ralf Dujmovits, National Geographic
BOOK NAME: Princess Academy
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Frantically trying to learn the rules just to fit in? Sounds a lot like middle school, doesn’t it? Well if you have ever had any of these feelings, then I think you’ll enjoy reading Princess Academy.
Mount Eskel is the home of Miri, the main character in this book. She is named after the beautiful hardy flowers that can actually survive on the mountain (much like Miri). The people on Mount Eskel work in a quarry which produces Linder that they sell to lowlanders, what they call the people who live in the village in the valley. Women, men, and children all work there, so Miri wonders why she can’t work there too. Since she is already fourteen, she should work in the quarry with the rest of her people. Yet her father forbids her to even enter it! Miri has to deal with this mystery and the other mystery of “quarry speech”.
On top of it all, we learn that the prince is now of marrying age and his religious court has determined that the future bride will be found in Mount Eskel. So, all of the girls that are old enough will have to go to an academy to learn how to be a proper princess. Miri can’t marry a prince! She would miss her mountain home too much and have to marry a stranger when she already has someone she loves. The girls soon learn that life at the academy is not fun but they stick together and fight back to finally show that Mount Eskel girls are just as smart as the girls from the lowland. This is a fun read about overcoming adversity and not worrying about what others think of you. If you’ve ever been made to feel inferior, then give this a read and you may just start cheering for yourself.
Hi, my name is Becca! We have arrived at beautiful Cusco, nestled in the Andes mountains. On the flight from Lima, early in the morning, we passed over the mountains and munched on crackers, very excited to land. When we got there, we got on a bus and drove to a welcome party, complete with marshmallows, advice, and coca tea. I liked the coca tea a little, and it really helped with the altitude sickness. I took some photos of the nearby fountain and pretty flowers.
Afterwards, we got back on the bus and started driving up the mountains. We drove in a zig-zag line, so that the sudden change in altitude wouldn’t bother us much. Along the way, we saw small villages and waved to workers and kids going to school. They have to walk several miles each way to get to school every day! I could never do that. Our guides, Luis and Edgar, told us about the buildings in the villages: the straw and mud bricks that dry in the sun, the crosses in between miniature bull statues on the tops of the roofs, the formerly Spanish houses that have the coats of arms above the doors…. We learned a lot.
Read the whole post »
Hi! I’m Cady. Cusco is amazing! Yesterday afternoon, we saw some of the marvelous creations of the Inca. They built terraces on the mountain side to experiment on how plants grew in different humidity. The terraces were circular and they had steps going up the side. The Inca brought stones from the river to build the terraces, which have lots of layers. A man that the Inca called a priest had a house on the terraces where he and others could take care of the plants. When you stood on the edge and looked down to take a picture, you could see the amazing structures that the Inca built long ago. If you looked hard enough, you could almost see the Incas working. A research group had just finished restoring it and looking for clues to how the Inca lived and farmed. They used aqueducts to irrigate the terraces. Although they were also used for farming, the terraces were also a temple, a place to worship the gods. Just looking at the terraces, you could tell how magnificent the Inca were.
Photograph by Jake Norton
Four mountain climbers who have climbed Mount Everest are now taking a shot at reaching the summit again. Peter Whittaker, Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn, and Melissa Arnot began their expedition to the top of the world’s tallest mountain on March 30. Some of the climbers are going for records on their way to the summit! Dave Hahn is going for his incredible 11th Everest ascent, and Melissa Arnot is attempting to be the first American woman to reach the summit without extra oxygen.
Read more about the expedition and check out daily dispatches on National Geographic Adventure.
Quiz Your Noodle and find out how much you REALLY know about Mount Everest.