Sunday, September 04, 2011

Nepal photos - red pandas, Himalayas and more

An endangered red panda - aka the firefox - in eastern Nepal. Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I am excited about a new documentary being produced by my friend Tim Gorski of Rattle the Cage Productions - How I Became an Elephant.

I met Tim and other members of his film crew (including Jon Kane, who did some video on the new documentary) while trekking through Nepal in 2007 and after this he moved to Thailand and began filming elephants. I'm not sure the backstory of how this film came about but it looks amazing. It tells the story of the 14-year old Juliette, who became passionate about saving the elephants of Thailand. I know that Tim has lived in Chiang Mai for some time filming and researching this story, as well as the undercover wildlife trade.

He and his colleagues are raising funds for post-production, so by all means if this is the kind of work you like to support I give my wholehearted endorsement of Tim and his work! You can donate here and it's a nonprofit, so a fully tax deductible donation. After seeing the sneak peek, I started looking through my Nepal photos and realized that I still have not put many on the blog so with that, here are some final photos. [Past blog posts with Nepal images are here: Thank You India, and other Nepal stories, powerful and sad (orphanage in Kathmandu), it's not my imagination (jetlag, that is), Reflections on non-attachment and jetlag from hell (the best of my images are in these last 3). And then there's this funny story about what happened in Nepal... Speaking of butt hairs.]

You can read the article I wrote for National Wildlife mag, Fighting for the Firefox, online. I also wrote a travel piece for Travel Channel Online: Trekking through Nepal's Grand Ridges.

This is the whole group me on the left, next to Mickey, Mei-Ling. Behind Mei-Ling is Brian Williams, head of the Red Panda Project, to his left is Tim and to his Jon. I don't know anyone else's name except for Sonam (2nd from left on back row) and Kamal (to his right). The photos was actually at the end of our trip but just thought I'd put it here to show you peeps.We were on a quest to find red pandas in the wild! And we saw 3 different individuals. Very few Westerners have seen red pandas in the wild. So I feel lucky! We were not guaranteed to see them either. We had some fantastic trackers who found them almost on the last day of our trek. I don't think I have published most of these photos before! Aren't they cute!!They walk pretty slowly and don't get scared of people. They let us watch for a long time. Their underbelly is black, strangely enough!
I really like this image; the yellow leaves complement the panda well. And a closer up view of the same photo.The image is a little dark but it's so cute!
Before we got to eastern Nepal, we spent some time in Kathmandu. This is a rickshaw driver. Notice how very narrow the streets are, and they have not only people and rickshaws but also cars!!Want meat?No horn zone!A set of bells at the Monkey Temple or Swayambhunath stupa. There are a zillion stairs to get up to the top! I published a couple of pics from there in previous blogs but here are a couple more.
I love this photo! Macaques are everywhere at the monkey temple. I actually never saw any in the wild once we left Kathmandu.Another photo of monkeys at the temple. One of the many Buddhas at the monkey temple.
The river in Kathmandu was so filled with trash. Nasty!
So we set out on our journey, after flying from Kathmandu to somewhere in eastern Nepal that I should remember but I don't. I'll have to ask Brian, our fearless leader - Executive Director of the Red Panda Network. From left, this is Chuckles Borromeo, Mickey Mestel, Brian Williams and Tim.
Me hiking through the mountains.
Clouds would come and go, so the temperature during the day would switch between being freezing and then needing to strip down to a tank top when the sun came out. At night, it was always freezing and I wore every single layer I had to bed! This is a random town in eastern Nepal that we stopped in. I don't remember. We got a kick out of the shirt the little girl had on - Iron Maiden! I'm assuming it was some hand-me-down rather than the fact that she was a fan... The kids in this and other towns would just stare at us like we were so interesting and odd. I love this series of photos. The home and window and the kids - all are so photogenic. The brother and sister took turns looking through the window and then they came outside.
I went with Brian and Kamal to set up a photo camera to try to catch snapshots of the red pandas. It took a good while and during that time the sun went down and I got some amazing photos! See below...
Kamal and Brian setting up the camera. We found red panda poo nearby, which was a good sign!
LOVE this photo. One of my faves. I believe the trees are the very rare Himalayan yew. We only saw them in this one spot.
This photo was snapped before the other one actually.

As it got darker and the sun set below the horizon it turned pink and blueish.Gorgeous! Such a treasure to be able to see the sky change so dramatically.
This is a boy who lived near where we stayed one night, camping in their yard basically! It was near the town of Sandakpur on the India-Nepal border. As this Wikipedia article on the Ilam district says, it is the highest point at 3,000 meters. I thought it was higher than that (that's about 9,000-something feet). Hmm. Here's a map that was on the India border.
A map we saw earlier in the trek - um, I dont think I can read this one! This was one of the last nights there, at a tea plantation we camped at. This is Mei-Ling and Brian overlooking the tea field.We saw a lot of Tibetan prayer flags.
The Himalayas! We were in the "foothills" at 10-12,000 feet, the highest we got, which is high atop the Rocky Mountains in the US!
One of our campsites along the way.
Another of our tents.
Another shot of the clouds that descended on us as we hiked.
Not sure where this was taken.
More houses. They were often quite colorful. A woman and her photogenic home. It seems like one of the Three little pigs homes that if the big bad wolf huffed and puffed it would blow down though!
Mei-Ling and Brian talking in the town of Maimajhuwa where Brian moderated a meeting of all the "forest guardians" in the area - a program he started in order to help protect the red panda. You can read more about it in my National Wildlife Magazine article! I think we may have hand-washed a few items of clothing. I washed my hair!! I was the only one to do so I think the whole trip - ha.The forest guardians and some of the members of the Red Panda Network.We stayed with a family the night of the forest guardian meeting. Tim, Mickey and I stayed with this family and Mei-Ling and Brian stayed with another family. The room where they cooked became verrry smoky!Tim in his room, the next morning. Interesting how they put newspaper on the walls. In my room, whoever's room it was, they actually had a prominent, framed photo of Britney Spears kissing Madonna. Yep. Strange but true. If we got lucky (ha) there was a toilet. Toilets in the east are just holes that you squat over. Oops, they didn't have space for that final T!Rhododendrons in the mist.
Corn and other crops outside a home.
A lady with a nose ring. I think that we didn't see a lot of women with noserings and I'm not sure what they signify.
The two cute kids at the home of the above lady.
Nepali kids are so photogenic!

1 comment:

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