The Kali Gandaki River makes a great gash through the Himalaya. The river's headwaters are in the Mustang region near the border with Tibet. It then flows south through Mustang (formerly a kingdom and subject of a future post) through gorges and valleys. South of the town of Jomsom, it cuts through the mountains again. "The river then flows southward through a steep gorge known as the Kali Gandaki Gorge, or Andha Galchi, between the mountains Dhaulagiri, elevation 8,167 metres (26,795 ft) to the west and Annapurna I, elevation 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) to the east. If one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference between the river height and the heights of the highest peaks on either side, this gorge is the world's deepest." (from Wikipedia). Eventually, the river flows into the Ganges, after flowing over an immense megafan, comprising sediments eroded from the rapidly uplifting Himalaya.
|My 2011 waypoints along the Kali Gandaki valley, with elevations in m above sea level. (Maps drawn with ESRI ArcMap software.)|
|Jomsom before landing at JMO.|
All in all, this has been a spectacular trek, a passage through geologic history as well as botanic altitude zones.
Change is coming. The villages here are still poor, but they have electricity and serve hikers who are making the Annapurna loop trek. Most lodges have rooms with private bath, but hot water is still rare. The towns have schools and health clinics. The road is a treacherous dirt and rock trail carved out of the mountain-side. As of 2011, busses and jeeps regularly broke down or fell off, squashing their occupants.
Photographs taken with a Panasonic G1 digital camera, some RAW files processed with PhotoNinja software,