Dec 17 2011

Cheshire Hunt Conservancy – Thanksgiving morning, 2011

It has been a family tradition since before I was a teenager. Thanksgiving Day was only one of two days every year my parents closed their business, The Avon Grove Diner. Since the diner was closed we could go to the hunt together as a family. Over the years, I have been to the hunt in short sleeves and in snow. You never really know what the weather will bring till the day breaks.

This year was pleasant fall morning. The Cheshire Hunt Conservancy put on another terrific event this year. There were horses, hounds, horsemen/women, townsfolk, kids, antique cars, etc. There was even a stand to get some hot chocolate. Although quite a few participants brought their own supplies for tailgating.

Kerin and I have posted a few images below to pique your interest. To see more, please visit our gallery page, gallery.

Aug 28 2011

Hurricane Irene – August 28, 2011

It has been a while since I experienced one of these but on Tuesday, there was an earthquake. its epicenter was about 180 miles away. My car began shaking while I was sitting at a red light in Newark, De. At first I thought it might be some college students rocking the truck. But the van next to me was moving also. Then I realized it what it was. It has been over 100 years since an earthquake of that magnitude shook our area. Of course for those who live in areas prone to earthquakes, this was a nothing. But it was an event on the east coast. People are still asking “where were you during the quake”.

So as not to be out done, the weather served up a hurricane for the weekend. The eye passed here about 3 hours ago. We have seen worse in this area. But I do not remember flooding this bad.

The lowest point in our little town (OK, it’s an intersection and only a 3 way intersection at that) of Glen Mills.

Chester creek usually takes a horseshoe shaped path around our good friends, the DeMarco’s , home. Today the creek usurped the back yard.



Sweetwater Road leads out of downtown Glen Mills to the Sweetwater Farm bed and breakfast.  At least it did yesterday.


Of course, it can always be worse. This revolutionary age home has been consumed by the Brandywine River. One can only assume this is not the first time.


An earthquake on Tuesday, a hurricane on Saturday and a flood on Sunday, does anyone know how to get rid of locust?


Please see our gallery page for additional photos.

Aug 7 2011

Getting close…

We were up early on Friday morning to join the Buddhist monks for their morning prayer session. The Buddhist monastery in Tengboche is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region. The monastery has been destroyed twice, once by earthquake and once by fire. It is by far the most ornate building we encountered on our journey.

After visiting the monastery, we had breakfast before we set off. I had scrambled eggs, toast and water. This became a breakfast staple for me until we reach Gorak Shep. This morning I even had dessert after breakfast (Hey, I am vacation!). There is nothing like a $4 Mars bar to start your day off on the right foot.

The day starts off downhill which is not a good sign for a day that will end 1800’ higher than it started. But that is what trekking in the Himalayas is like. You always have to go down to cross a river before ascending the next ridge. In fact there are four river crossings today. One is about ½ mile past Milinggo. The next is just past Pangboche. Then comes Shomare and finally the last crossing is at Tsuro Og.

Mt Aba Dablum (I think)

Lunch was in Pangboche, one of our river crossings. We dined at the Somam Lodge and Restaurant. Fried potatoes and shells were on today’s menu. These meals cost only a few dollars but the portions were huge. This was another meal I did not finish.

After lunch it was a 650’ descent before we would start to climb in earnest again. Britta was in very bad shape (it wasn’t AMS). Fortunately, even deep in the Himalayas you can catch a taxi. It isn’t yellow. It doesn’t have a non-English speaking driver. Nor does it have four wheels but it does have four hooves, an open airy view and your own Sherpa who jogs alongside you. Tashi, our Sherpa, arranged for a horse ride for her the rest of the way to that evening destination’s, Dingboche.

In contrast, when we arrived in Dingboche, I felt the best I had felt since we left Kathmandu. I was tired and had the slightest of headaches but I felt noticeably better than any other time during the trek so far. Dinner was fried rice and vegetables. Again, I could not finish the portions I was given. I decided to start treating water this evening rather than to continue to purchase it. Buying a couple of liters of water day was starting to really cut into my cash reserves. So I had a choice. Continue to buy safe pure water or conserve my cash for the occasional Mars bar and Orange Fanta. Those of you who know me understand the choice was an obvious one for me. That night, I purified 3 liters of water. But purifying water with Chlorine Dioxide tables takes 4 hours. It is best done overnight. There are other solutions to the water problem. The Steripen was one of the other options. I think that would have been the way to go. But the one that was on our trip failed. So I guess if you were thinking of using it as your primary water purification method you should also carry a backup such as the Chlorine Dioxide tablets.

The next day was to be an acclimatization day. Oh joy! Even so, I slept like a rock that night.

Jun 12 2011


I really started to show my age on this leg. The official gap guide lists the trip from Namche Bazar to Tengboche as 5.5 mi long with a vertical gain of 1200 ft. Sounded easy enough. Since this was our fourth day on the trail, I thought my stamina might be increasing. Not! How bad did I feel this day? Here is an indicator. I only took 25 pictures. Typically I took about 150 per day.

A restless night’s sleep on Wednesday night led to Thursday morning in Namche Bazar. The skies were clear and the temperature was below freezing. The outside sink was frozen. I had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. I am pretty sure those eggs were hormone/steroid/antibiotic free.

The trail to Tengboche begins by turning right as we pass the Hotel Camp de Base’s gate and heading up the stone steps up and out of Namche Bazar. How many times did we traverse that staircase (Fellow travelers feel free to chime in here.)?

The rhododendron forest was nice. The blooms were just beginning and the overhanging branches protected us from the sun. Soon we emerged onto an open trail that would take us most of the way to lunch. Our first chorten came into view about 2 hours after leaving Namche Bazar. Sometimes these structures are referred to as sutppas and other times as chortens. A description of the terms can be found here.

Stuppa / Chorten

We rested briefly in Kengjuma at the Hotel Amadablam (on the return journey we would overnight here). There was an outdoor patio with a spectacular view. Tengboche is at the top of the ridge across the valley. It is a little hard to see in the picture below but the switchbacks leading to Tengboche are clearly visible in the larger version of the picture in the Gallery.

View of switchbacks leading to Tengboche

Tengboche is at the top of those switchbacks. If you are planning an Everest Base Camp trek, you should know there are 23 switchbacks.

The picture is deceiving. I think the picture makes it seems like we are at a higher elevation in Kengjuma that we will be at the end of the day when we arrive in Tengboche. Doesn’t the ridge across the valley look lower than where this picture was taken? It is not. Kengjuma is 3660 m and Tengboche is 3810 m. One thing that isn’t an optical illusion is the river which is clearly visible in the valley below. To get to Tengboche we first had to descend to that valley (1250 ft. down) before we could begin the climb (1800 ft.) to Tengboche. This is why I was so tired on this day.

We had lunch in Phungi Tenga. There was a terrace by the river. But the alfresco dining proved to be too windy. We were moved inside. I can recommend the chicken noodle soup. And of course, the Mars bars were always good, expensive but good.

Lunch at Punghi Tenga

The costs of food stuffs increased in parallel with our elevation. I think Mars bars were $ 5 US in Gorek Shep. Considereing how they were transported, it is understandable why.

Dokyo train

I have been complaining of how tired I was. But 6 members of our party of 14 had either, the flu, intestinal bug or mild AMS or all of the above at this point. I didn’t. Really, I’m just whining. They were awesome!

Tomorrow we travel from Tengboche to Dingboche where we have another acclimatization day. Oh joy!

Tengboche gompa

May 15 2011

Acclimatization is NOT rest!

Day 3 was an acclimatization day. The purpose of an acclimatization day is to push your body to a higher elevation, stay there for a period of time and return to a lower elevation to sleep. The elevation of Namche Bazar was 11,280 ft. (3440m). Our goal for the Day 3 was to reach Everest View Hotel which is located at 13,100 ft. (4000m). We didn’t know it at the time but this 1800’ climb was to be one of the easiest days of our trek.

It certainly didn’t start off easy. As we exited the teahouse we turned right and immediately began to climb the steps out of Namche. But we didn’t go directly to the hotel. First we went to the museum which of course was uphill. The National Park Museum housed examples of local flora and fauna as well as stories and pictures of the Sherpa people. Outside the museum was a large flat area with great photo ops. The group shot below was shot there. It was out first clear view of Mt Everest. Mt Everest is the small triangular peak in the background with the plume of snow directly above Pernille’s head (purple coat).

National Park Museum Namche Bazaar

the "gang"

We left the museum and went down to the stairs we had climbed earlier. At the edge of town, the steps disappeared and the switchbacks began. There was a huge prayer rock around the midpoint of the climb. It was about the same elevation as the museum we visited earlier. We took a break there and I got some pretty good images of individuals in our group (Sam, Emma, Brita, Pernille, Rob, Mary and Agnes).



Emma and Sam

Emma and Sam






Mary and the elusive Agnes



Actually, this is the first memory I have of Brita smiling. She and 5 others started this trip with some combination of flu and stomach bugs. Personally, I would have turned around. They were lot tougher than I ever was.

After the break at the prayer rock, the climb continued. After the steepest part of the climb, the trail leveled off, more or less, and continued on across a mixture of grassy slopes and dirt trail until we came to the Everest View Hotel.

When we arrived I was quite surprised. Not by the dozens of steps which led up to the entrance (long series of steps were quickly becoming part of our daily routine) but the hotel itself. It was really nice. There was wood paneling, a glass enclosed dining room and plenty of staff. We had lunch on an outdoor patio which faced the mountains. We did not have any good views of Mt Everest despite the hotel’s name would seem to suggest. A weather pattern was beginning to emerge. Every morning started out bright, sunny and cloudless. As the day progressed, clouds would appear by noon. By late afternoon the sky would be gray and often a light snow would fall around dusk.

The descent was easy for me. It was very steep but I flew down the trail bouncing from rock to rock. I really enjoyed myself. But several members of our group were not fond of downhill stretches. Downhill can be very hard on your knees and great care must be taken not to trip/slip since you already have momentum taking you downhill. Downhill is particularly hard on the toes as Ed can attest. But as with any of the adversity that beset us on this trip. Nothing would prevent any of us from reaching EBC. Ed adjusted his boots and the toe was never a problem again.

When we returned to the teahouse I discovered that my water bladder had leaked. By the end of the day the bottom inside of my day pack was wet. Fortunately, my camera and down did not get wet. I bought an new Camelback bladder in Namche at a store owned by one of Tashi’s friends. Tashi seemed to have friends everywhere. In every town and even along the trail it was a common sight to see Tashi stop and greet other locals as if they had been lifelong friends.

Those of you who were curious as to what I was going to eat on this trip or how the food was in general should know the spaghetti at our teahouse,Hotel Camp de Base, was very good. A word of warning to those who may follow. This was the only place I found Italian dishes to be palatable. Above Namche there weren’t any cans of tomatoes. Spaghetti was usually just warmed up ketchup with some oregano.

By going to the hotel, we climbed our 1800 ft., rested and then descended to Namche for the night’s sleep. This was a typical acclimatization day. What made it easier than a regular trekking day was the lack of bridges. Except for the side trip to the museum there was not any unnecessary elevation losses and gains which are a hallmark of river crossings in Nepal. The written guides mark the elevation gain each day. What they do not tell you is how many thousands of feet are given up descending to bridges and the need to recapture that elevation loss on the other side of the bridge. The guides just give the net change. So a 1500 ft. gain day may actually require you to climb a total of 3500 ft. because you had two bridge crossing that cost you and extra 1000 ft. each.

Tomorrow we go to Tengboche. I didn’t know it at the time but I really needed to go to sleep and get my rest. It was going to be a hard day.

May 7 2011

Phakding to Namche Bazaar

I found a few notes from the first night on the trail. Ordered a Coke. The exact entry in my journal was “YUK!!”. Coke on the trail does not taste like Coke. I couldn’t finish the bottle. After that bad experience I decided to stick with orange Fanta. It doesn’t taste like orange Fanta either but it is a lot closer to what we are used to than the Coke was.

Tried some Dahl Bat. The carrots and potatoes were not bad but I didn’t care for the cilantro soup which contained the legumes. Lights out was at 8 PM. And I do mean lights out. The electricity was turned off. I was very tired. Even though my heart was racing, I could hear it in my ears, I slept like a log. That is, until I awoke at midnight to the sounds of people moving down the hallway to visit the bathroom. I dozed off but woke again at 2:30 as another procession began. I am pretty sure it was the Diomox causing the frequent trip to the bathroom. It is a side effect and one of the reasons I decided to do this trip without taking any.

What a great start to the morning. Sure it was only 4:30 AM but what I view I had from my pillow. Pretty amazing!


View from my bed at 5 AM

Breakfast was around 7. I had a chance to get out into town before breakfast and take a few snap shots. I had the scrambled eggs and an order of toast. This became my breakfast of choice for the duration of the trip.

Early morning views from Phakding

We were on the trail by 8:30 headed for Namche Bazar. No sooner than we set foot outside the tea house we encountered our first Dzokyo train. A Dzokyo is the result of a crossbreed of a yak and a cow. These would be our constant companions along the trails and bridges during our trek.


If you think trekking in Nepal will be a remote wilderness experience, look at this next shot. Our guide, Tashi, is in the front and a little out of focus. But the rest of this procession isn’t even our group. These are members of one or two other groups who were going to Mt. Everest Base Camp also. When you add the Dzokyo trains, porters and Yak trains to the mix, you can truly appreciate how busy this trail really is.

Busy trail

The rhododendron and dogwood were beginning to bloom. They were in full bloom on the return leg of this journey.

Blooming dogwood

Veterans of this trek will recognize the white Stupa. For the uninitiated, you must always pass the Stupa on its left thus placing the Stupa on your right. Any prayer wheels should be spun as you pass.


We took a quick rest in Bengkar before continuing on to Jorsale.


I do not see any pictures from Bengkar to Jorsale. I am guessing that is because I was getting tired. Of course, I had no idea just how tired I would be by the end of the day.

After lunch at Jorsale, we started toward Namche. This was to be the longest ascent of the trip. The last High bridge over the Duhd Kosi was around 2800 meters in elevation. Our destination in Namche was 3440 meters.

We were to get our first views of Mt Everest this afternoon but the weather turned as it often did in the afternoon. By evening it was snowing lightly. Walking up and up for several hours with limited visibility is not conducive to taking pictures but when I saw the Namche Stupa, I broke out the camera as I knew we were getting close to our tea house.

Entering Namche Bazaar after the difficult climb up

Time to rest. I will pick-up with our acclimatization day (these are NOT rest days!) in my next post.

Jan 14 2011

Gallery is up and running

Our Gallery page is now live. Stephanie and Jesse’s wedding is our first listing.
If you have a minute, please take a look and leave us some feedback here.

Stephanie and Jesse's wedding at the Union League in Philadelphia, PA
Stephanie and Jesse’s wedding at the Union League in Philadelphia, PA

Nov 21 2010

Teresa Torello Lincoln’s LinkedIn Photos

An old friend from my Avondale days needed some pics for her LinkedIn profile.

Oct 31 2010

Cali’s first photo shoot…

We had the opportunity to photograph our good friends Jen and Joe’s daughter Cali today. She was a real trooper and very photogenic. Just see for yourself.

Sep 21 2010

Tara and Matt’s wedding – Sept. 11, 2010

It was a beautiful day made even more special by Tara and Matt’s wedding. There was champagne to start the day, a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception. Kerin and I had a wonderful time capturing the images from the day. Below is a small sample of the day.