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ground cover; this I had not experienced in India before. Theo's descriptive detail of the flora and river topography were most interesting. I must digress for a short rant against the senseless development efforts in the area. The extreme mobility of these young mountains clearly shows that permanent structures such as dams have a poor chance of survival, and limited life as the reservoirs fill up with landslide debris. The building of large hydro projects along all the Himalayan rivers (nearing 30 on the Gori Ganga alone) will totally destroy the natural ecology of these areas. This is a gross insult and theft of the livelihood of the local peoples, to generate a resource (hydroelectricity) for profligate use by distant consumers in the plains. Local impacts are heavily on the negative side. To illustrate this point about instability, many of you would have heard of the attempts by the CIA along with Indian agencies to place nuclear powered listening devices on first N anda Devi, and then N anda Kot. The story reads like a Mr Bean comedy of errors, though possibly with dire consequences: The first device was swept into the glacier on N anda Devi and remains "somewhere up there" undiscovered: a nuclear ecological time bomb still hanging over us. The second was buried by the snowfall and became dysfunctional very quickly, but was at least retrieved. I better get back to the narrative before I blow my top. Owing to the poor condition of the Gori Ganga trail, it was mostly not passable for loaded pack animals. We met some shepherds coming down from the high pastures, and many Nepali porters, mostly carrying loads for the Indio-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). But there were NO vehicles of any sort; what a joy! Our pace was very deliberate, as Shamsher had damaged his knee while cycling back in San Francisco, and I was proceeding with caution; still with some trepidation that I could go the course. So we took five days along the Gori Ganga to climb from about 5,500ft (1680m) up to Martoli at 11 ,000ft (3350m), the trail swinging up around the landslides with great regularity, making us work considerably harder than the old trade route along the river. 12l Rose Bowl January 2014

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