Friday, October 30, 2009

October Weather

I think there is no better season than October in the Garhwal Himalayas. I wake up to the sun beating through my curtains unto my bed. The morning air is crisp and cool, but always cheerful with the welcoming sun. The afternoons are always the same: blue skies and warm temperatures. As the sun sets, the cold mountain air settles in and the stars shine brilliantly. No rain, no clouds, and hardly any wind. I've been taking in the wonderful season with daylight hours outside and twilight hours reading books by local writers, Bill Aitken and Ruskin Bond. I've found that I'm not the only one who enjoys this season:

October is the best trekking season when the golden days yield the full fragrance of harvested sap. The sky is a celestial blue and the air perfectly attuned to vigorous marches. Sun-dappled trees and the roar of rushing water coursing off the mountainside stimulate the taste of salt on one's lips while the sifting wind soothes any regret at the sweat. It is good to be alive in high Garhwal in October as the crickets fill the clear air with a deafening drone of plenitude. The intensity of the sky with a few puffed clouds abroad by early afternoon contrasts with the map-like spread of the fields below. Crops of ripening red buckwheat shock the eye as do the yellow stalks of scarlet coxcomb. The multihued greens of the jungle begin to enclose one's progress and range from the deep chrome of oak and dark viridian of spruce to the fresh gloss of chestnut and maple. (Bill Aitken, The Nanda Devi Affair)

This quote gets me particularly excited as I prepare for an 8-day Himalayan trek. I leave tomorrow morning with 11 high school students (11th and 12th Grade) and 3 chaperones. The trek is part of Activity Week, an annual event at Woodstock where students and staff take off on a variety of week-long field trips. Last year, I spent the week in a local village. Our trek is called Kuari Pass, or Curzon's Trail. I'll post more about it after the trip. For now, here are some of the outdoor adventures that have kept me busy in October:

Fairy Glen Activity Week Overnight: Practicing our packing skills with one of the Activity Week groups.

Witch's Hill Day Hike: Passing through Dhobi Ghat, the neighborhood where all the laundry men live and work.

Witch's Hill Day Hike: View of the hills to the east of Woodstock.

Fairy Glen Overnight #2: The perfect way to spend a day off!

Fairy Glen Overnight #2: We woke up to gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountains.

Fairy Glen Overnight #2: Keeping up the WCB tradition of leaving a cedar sprig at the campfire!

Flag Hill Day Hike: WCB friend Katie came to visit for 4 days!

Flag Hill Day Hike: Tibetan prayer flags waving with hills in the background.

Flag Hill Day Hike: View of the hills to the east of Woodstock.

1 comment:

Bill K. said...

Fantastic views! Poetic words to describe Himalayan October! Ya got it right!!