by Steve Ford, 2010

In October of 2003 we went to Nepal for an absolutely wonderful adventure. We spent several days in Kathmandu, and then flew to Pokhara to begin our trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Following the mountain trekking, we did a little rafting and visited Tiger Tops, a jungle wildlife refuge in southern Nepal on the border with India. This article has selected photos from this four-week adventure in no particular order. As you may discern from the following photos, we found the people of Nepal to be very friendly and exceptionally happy, especially considering the extreme poverty that many of them endure.
Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu
An old man in Kathmandu
A loving hug, Sanctuary Lodge
This happy lady made our lunch at Komrong, a little village we passed on our Annapurna Trek.
Another happy face at Komrong.
A seasoned dancer in in Pokhara
This girl was wearing her finest for the Tihar celebration in Kathmandu.
A flute player at Sinuwa, a rest stop on the way to Annapurna.
Our guides and porters enjoying Nepali millet wine (more like white lighting) after an arduous hike to Deurali at about 10,000 feet elevation. Upon arriving, the trekkers immediately hang stuff out to dry... from this point on the only place to effectively get things dry was underneath the dinning room table where they kept a kerosene heater running most of the time.
Looking across the valley from the ridge we were climbing (a 60% gradient) in the blazing sun at 7,000 feet elevation.
These stairs were roughly a 100% gradient.
Everything is carried this way in baskets... even other people. When someone is sick they are carried to the clinic this way in a basket that has a little seat in it. We met a paraplegic woman who had traveled all the way to Annapurna Base Camp in one of these seats.
Carrying straw.
A door-to-door kitchenware salesman.
Millet terraces.
Believe it or not, this little shrub is a rhododendron.
We saw this girl herding goats across this bridge as we passed underneath in a raft.
Five goats.
A baby goat.
We arrived in Kathmandu during the festival of Tihar. Over the course of a week various creatures are celebrated by presenting them with a garland of marigold flowers, a tikka mark on the forehead, and a good meal. We happened to arrive on the day of the dog (how auspicious).
This pooch's tikka was a bit smeared, and I suspect whatever he was given to eat was by far his best meal of the year.
This youngster had just received his garland and tikkas on the last day of the Tihar, when sisters and other female family members celebrate the male youth of the family.
This boy is about to receive his tikkas and garlands from his sister. The fruits are also her gifts for him.
Another celebrity...
In southern Nepal we saw Rhinos.
This was the most common view of them as they were very shy, and fled when ever we got close to them on our four-legged elephant vehicle.
Believe it or not, this was our taxi to the airport. That is our luggage in the caboose.
This boy was herding pack donkeys along the trail to Annapurna...
Although the figures don't look quite right to me, I think this guy is teaching the times tables...
His students, in Chomrong...
I will never forget the sublime smile on the face of this girl in the pink and yellow sweater.
Happy faces...
A demure smile...
A pretty face in the sunshine...
This girl seemed a bit wary, but provided the perfect pose with that stone.
This boy's smile was so memorably endearing. He projects the happiness and friendliness that was so common among the people of Nepal. They have so little, and yet...
they are so welcoming.
Roasted corn anyone???
Annapurna, the 10th tallest mountain in the world.
The sun sets on Annapurna South
Machapuchre. Climbing this sacred mountain is forbidden.
The sun rises directly over the summit of Machapuchre as it is seen from Annapurna Base Camp at 13,550 feet.
As we were nearing the end of our trek we passed this old woman doing some sewing in the sun outside her house.
We asked her if we could take her photo and she obliged.
She collected these Marigold flowers...
When she noticed me with my camera she started to get shy...
Very shy...
Overcoming her shyness, she presented us with these Marigolds which she hung on our ears. We reciprocated by rolling up some paper money and putting it behind her ears. A wonderful conclusion to a great adventure!