Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

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Archive for March, 2011

जोगी

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 21, 2011


आर्थिक दरिद्रतालाई छिचोलेर

आफु भित्र को “म” लाई चिन्ने कोशिश गर्दै

सांसारिक प्रलोभन भुलेर

अपनत्व बुझ्न खोज्दै

खल्तीमा एउटा क्रेडिट कार्ड

अनि परिचय पत्र बोकेर

डोके-झोलामा झुत्रा-झाम्रा कोचेर

डुल्दै छु जोगी झैं पश्चिमी संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका |

 

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Jogi Travelexperience: Day 5 (Mt. Biking in St. George, UT)

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 17, 2011


March 15, 2011

After three consecutive days of skiing, my body was rather worn out. On the fourth day, I experienced mild fever and cold. Hence, I decided to skip skiing yesterday and instead stayed in the hostel to blow off steam. I felt quite weak the entire day and didn’t do much besides feeding and hydrating myself. For today, the fifth day, our plan was to drive down to St. George, UT and mountain bike in a canyon.

I woke up with immense enthusiasm and body was all charged up. We left Camelot Hostel in SLC at 5:30 AM and it took us around five hours to get to St. George. Red Rocks Bicycles was the first bike shop we went in to see if they rented mountain bike. They did, but they were all out today. The second bike shop we tried was Bicycles Unlimited. It was pretty elaborate bike shop and I was quite impressed with their services. I rented a Canondale dual suspension mountain bike for a day. Mark and I hit the road immedietely.  Instead of driving down to the canyon, we rode out bikes from the bike shop. After riding the bikes in the streets of St. George for almost over an hour, we arrived the gateway of the canyon. St. George has very wide bike lanes and I must say that it is one of the most bike friendly cities I’ve ridden a bike in. The weather was simply superb. Clear blue sky with plenty sunshine, temperature in the premise of lower seventies Fahrenheit ! It felt like Spokane in mid-summer.

Bear-Claw Poppy Trail is what we tried. It had a variety of difficulty levels and some of the parts of the trails were pretty intense. The rented bike was pretty cool but it did take some time to get used to it. Thus, I was being very cautious in every drops and bumps and started with easier sides. Gradually, I promoted to more difficult ones. Some of the drops were pretty scary as they were unexpectedly narrow and deep. I almost landed with my head at one point but my reflex action of leaning backwards avoided that accident. I stopped for a minute after that and hydrated myself. I was a little thrilled. The trail obviously is a gift of the nature. Nonetheless, people who fabricated it must be appreciated. Monstrous cliff on each side of the trail, wild flowers and cacti pretty much every where and random cloud shapes were very eye-pleasing. Time after time I would think that I must have been dreaming, for though I’ve always wanted to do all these things I had not quite planned them.

Beginning of the Bear Claw Poppy Trail

We were in the trail for a couple hours and we headed back to the city. St. George is a very neat city and it appeared that most people were quite affluent.  Almost over 80% of this city is occupied by the Mormons  (source:Wikipedia). The influence of Mormons was quite evident. After completing the mountain bike ride, we started our little quest for Polygamy Porter. Mark is quite obsessed with that beer. We stopped at Costco and walked through every isle in search of Polygamy Porter. We had no luck. Eventually, I asked one of the staffs at Costco for help. With wide smile in his face he asked me, “You are not from this state, are ya ?”. I said “no”. “Oh well…there’s only one bar in town and only one liquor store also. You could get some wines and beers at Walmart and Smith’s”. I was happy I didn’t tell him what exactly we were looking for. He gave us the direction and we headed to Smith’s. I came up with a quick hypothesis. A person with alcohol addiction problem should not spend time and money in a rehab. If he/she were to move down to St. George or any Mormon town, the problem would be at least mitigated if not totally resolved. Mark did find Polygamy porter at the Smith’s and he grabbed a whole case of them. The graphics in the case was ridiculous (see picture). Mark appreciated the beauty of the city like I did. But his conclusion was that he couldn’t be paid enough to live there. Don’t ask me why.

Pretty cool drop right between the boulders

Graphics in the case of Polygamy Porter

After refueling our cooler and food supplies, we headed to Vegas [“From the city where you can’t find a stinking beer to the Sin City!” -Mark Waters]. The view on each side of the highway was mind blowing. We were passing through Virgin Mountain range. It seemed like all those monstrous cliffs were silently speaking to me but I failed to communicate with them. I am not quite good at expressing this feeling, but I feel like hills, cliffs, mountains all are dynamic and animate. After around two and half hours of driving through the mountains, we entered Las Vegas. The city was visible around 30 miles away and the air in the city looked almost as polluted as in Los Angeles. It was quite densely shrouded by smug. Las Vegas is so much larger than I had envisioned. The main strip of the city is full of elaborate architectures. The billboards in the highway mostly pass information about casinos, adult stores and motels. One of the billboards that caught my attention was “Australia’s best export: Thunder Down Under”. The billboard displayed around 6 semi-naked guys and it just looked ridiculous. Las vegas is definitely a unique city or say the Sin city. But I guess I am not sinner enough to associate myself with this city in any way.

We headed down south towards the Red Rocks Canyon in Mojave desert. It was an adventure finding the campground and the venue. After helps from a friendly park staff and another bitchy park staff, we were able to find Phil, the person in charge of Red Rocks Rendezvous. Unfortunately, the camp ground will be open for us starting tomorrow only. Thus, we had to arrange some other sort of accommodation for tonight. We headed further south to find a camp ground. Again unfortunately, the camp ground was full. So we headed back north and decided to check out Bonnie Springs Ranch, a classic western hotel. The setting of the entire facility reminded me of western movies with cowboys, horses, guns and whatnot. It was like going back in time. Here I am in a hotel room, the furniture look antiquated, the TV must have been from the 60’s and I can see donkeys and canyon in the back yard. It can’t get any western than this, can it ?

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Jogi Travelexperince: Day 3 (Ski Utah!)

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 13, 2011


The started out in a rush. I’d set the alarm to go off at 2:30 in the morning but we didn’t notice the alarm at all. When I woke up, it was already 3:40 AM. So, we packed everything up in a jiffy and left Driggs. After about four and half hours we arrived Salt Lake City, a huge city surrounded by beautiful mountains. The plan was to ski at Alta, and we did so. The weather was simply gorgeous. We were told that it was awful yesterday with ton of clouds and snow which worsened the visibility in the mountain. Fortunately, weather today was in our favor. There was barely any cloud in the sky and the sun was shining as best as it could. We started out with a quick black diamond run. The snow at the top was powdery, thus I was rather slow. I am still not quite good at skiing downhill on a powdery slopes, specially in a mountain like Alta, which is famous for its steep runs. Alta is a very modern ski resort that applies state-of-the art technology. Unlike in other ski resorts, Alta’s ticket has a radioactive barcode that is automatically detected in each gate. Thus, one doesn’t have to display a ticket entire time. The chair lifts are also fancier in that the loading dock is automatically moving forward like as escalator. In addition to that, it is a popular heli-ski spot. Because not all the mountains in the resort are accessible by chair lifts, pro-skiers chose to heli-ski. Another cool fact about Alta is that snowboarders are now welcome there!

As the day matured, I started skiing rather harder runs. I still tend to lean backwards, which makes me a bad skier. However, I am gaining more confidence on harder runs like black diamonds. I tried hiking up a near by mountain that was not accessible by lift and ski down that steep powdery hill. The snow was at least 2 ft deep and it must have been over 60 degrees steep. It was a disaster. I stumbled pretty bad and my skis got buried in the snow. I had to work pretty hard to stand back on my skis. Though it was extremely difficult, it did give me some new experience. At the end of the run, I was glad I made it to the base in one piece!

The restaurant in the base was pretty funky, though very classy. Mark had a pint of Polygamy Porter and we were laughing at our idea of approaching a girl with that bear as a punch line. I always thought it was bit of an exaggeration, but i was wrong. Salt Lake City seems to be immensely influenced by the Mormons. Billboards about church of the latter day saints are pretty much every where. I have an impression that most people here are very religious.

At the end of the day I realised that I had lost my camera. I was as pissed as Eric Cartman (not quite). We’ll going back to Alta and Snowbird tomororow to ski again. I hope I will find it in lost and found section tomorrow.  ☮

Fun day at Alta

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Jogi Travelexperince: Day 2 (Jackson Hole, WY)

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 12, 2011


Panoramic view from the Gandola Summit (9,095 ft.)

Despite plenty of time to sleep, i didn’t get much sleep last night. I hit the sack at around 8 but I was waken up by a crazy nigthmare of Mohammar Gaddhafi destroying the world. His evil actions and attacks on world’s nuclear power plants and weapons of mass destruction blew up the earth. Never had I dreamed something this crazy.We left the hotel at 8:15 am to catch the first chair lift at the Jackson Hole. The weather was awesome, sunny with shiny azure sky. The Teton range looked gorgeous and the valleys on the way were splendid. Lift ticket at Jackson Hole was pretty expensive, but I totally think it was worth it for this amazing spot. The first tram took 100 people including ourselves to the top of the Rendezvous Mountain (10,450 ft). The elevation gain was roughly 4000 ft, meaning everytime we skied to the base, we would have skied 4000ft vertical distance. The resort is monstrous. Though the view of the mountains in all direction were mind blowing, the snow condition was not as good as that in Grand Targhee yesterday. So I’d have to say I enjoyed Grand Targhee more than the Jackson Hole.

The first run we did was a black diamond from the top of Rendezvous mountain and it almost freaked me out. It was extremely steep, so steep that I couldn’t see the ground five feet infront of me. Thus, for the most part of that run, I just traversed until I gained enough confidence to carve the snow. Carving snow is something I started focusing on today. I realized I had been skidding more than carving. We took every chairs possible and skied as much as we could in 6 hours. By the end of the day, my muscles were sore and my mind was ecstatic. We headed to downtown Jackson to hit a local brewery. Snake River Brewery was pretty awesome. I tried some Le Serpetine, a fruity beer that very much tasted like rice ale (jaand/chhyang) back in Nepal. I enjoyed every sip of it.

Its about 8 pm local time I am ready to catch some z’s. I need get up at 2:30am to hit the road. Peace now!

P.S. We ran into a Ski patrol who traveled around Nepal in 1972 and 1996. He mentioned his experience in Arun Valley and Lomanthang Pass, and about his friend who trains Sherpas in Khumbu Mountain Clinic.

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Jogi Travelexperience: Day 1 (Grand Targhee, ID/WY)

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 11, 2011


Leaving at 11 last night, we arrived Driggs, ID at around 9 in the morning after a treacherous drive through snowy passes in northern Idaho and Montana. Thanks to Mark’s Subaru 4wd that mitigated the risk of possible accidents. After checking-in in the hotel, we left as soon as possible to hit Grand Targhee Ski resort, a fabulous world class ski area. Fortunately the weather was awesome. There was a slight forecast but the sun was visible. Snow condition was great and it was scarcely crowded. The view of Grand Teton was magnificent! I am really impressed by the chair lift’s speed, it is just so quick! It was an outstanding day for skiing and I think I did relatively better in this amazing mountain. I focused more on controlling my speed and maneuvering skis without leaning backwards. There’s still plenty room for improvement. I bet I will be a skier with whole different level of skills by this time next week. My legs are stiff like an iron rod and now I need give them some rest. Hot tub shall do the magic! Peace for now.

Grand Teton (13770 ft.) on the background

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