Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Kali Gandaki.......Road?

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This post is about a story I read on the BBC News website, yesterday. On BBC World News in my car, I sometimes hear the 'From Our Own Correspondent' piece. I read this story yesterday about the new roads being built in Nepal written by James McConnachie.

Click here to read 'New roads bring change and danger to Nepal'.
Click here to listen to 'New roads bring change and danger to Nepal'

The Kali Gandaki gorge runs through the second half of the Annapurna Circuit trek, and is widely considered the deepest gorge on the planet. On either side of you, you have Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri - the tenth and seventh highest peaks, respectively. When walking through the gorge, you are at approximately 8200ft. Meanwhile, the peaks on either side of you rise more than 18,000ft higher than that. One of the other issues with this gorge is a naturally created wind tunnel, of sorts. After about 11am, winds that blow North get bottlenecked in this gorge, which creates exceptionally high winds practically every day. I experienced this firsthand, and have certainly taken note to leave Ranipauwa earlier in the day than I did.

Well, I wrote James to share my experience. About an hour before reaching Jomsom, a couple I was walking with during that day and I were walking along this road, and came across a pretty startling sight. Nature had obviously been fighting back, as there was a weak point in the road, and it had collapsed. A crane that was being used for this construction was laying on its side in the dried up riverbed! So the danger was pretty obvious.

I received an email from James not long after, and he responded to this - I had emailed the above picture - as well as my comments on the stones that the bus drivers obviously had for constantly riding this route.
Dear Walt

Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I think that might have been the very crane repairing one stretch of the road when I was there in late September... Totally agree about the drivers. They hate it - have to get really revved up inside before they begin the drive.

Let me know how your October trip goes? You may know I write a guidebook to Nepal, the Rough Guide, so I'm always looking for updates and reports.

With thanks


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