Nepal Trek Spring 2022 Tsum Valley

My brother John and I have joined a group of fellow trekkers that are undertaking a charity trip to the Tsum Valley in Nepal.

Help for the Tsum Valley

Our friends at the Compassion Project have visited Nepal and the Tsum Valley many times and have written books on the wonderful people and locale.  Coming to understand the challenges of training and retaining health care workers and teachers in the Tsum area resulted in our group deciding to not only do a spring 2022 trek through the Tsum Valley but also to raise funds to improve both health care and education opportunities.  Lacking viable healthcare and education forces Tsum residents to travel to larger towns or even to Kathmandu.  The travel is long, expensive and has long lasting negative effects on the Tsum community.  We have an opportunity to provide substantial help and improve the conditions of these Tsum residents.

We are raising funding for two primary goals:  Improve healthcare and also education opportunities for the Tsum Valley.  Specifically, healthcare funds go to: (1) purchasing medicine and medical supplies, and (2) nurse’s salary.  Education funds go to: (1) teacher’s salary, (2) school supplies, and most important (3) our hot lunch program where every student gets a healthy hot lunch at school.  It is difficult for the Tsum valley to recruit and retain both healthcare workers and teachers due to the rural nature.  This fundraising effort will encourage education of Tsum locals that wish to remain/return to Tsum, helping to improve the community.

We have setup a fund raising site on CanadaHelps to direct funds into the Compassion Project.

Annual Compassion Health Expenses USDAnnual Compassion Education Expenses USD
Staff (2x Health workers, 1x Office)$9,525Teacher$2,253
Medicine$4,500Hot Lunch Program$7,040
Office$1,300352/yr * 18 Students + staff
Transportation$1,500Cook / Grounds Manager$1,950
Monastery Care Taker$4,150School Supplies$1,000
Compassion Project Education
Compassion Project Medical

Fund raising goal: $8,000 Current funds raised: $2,850

About Tsum Valley

Tsum Valley is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist region and one of the hidden gems of Nepal. With the stunning backdrop of Sringi, Ganesh and Budda Himal mountain ranges, this serene valley is rich in ancient art, culture and religion. It is home to unique and important monasteries and trails are lined with artistic chortens and mani walls made of stone slabs inscribed with Buddhist prayers.

Trek Picture Gallery

Trek Timeline

Trek Day 1

Trek Day -1

We tried very hard to stay up and awake until at least 9:30 so we could adjust and were moderately successful. Didn’t wake up until 2am then realized it was unexpectedly quiet and peaceful. No street noise, no crowds, no air conditioners. Turns out we were on the far side of the Stupa from main Kathmandu and surrounded by the monastery that also houses the local Kathmandu Llama so very peaceful. Helps when you can look on the Llamas residence from your hotel!

Hit a local Momo (local appetizer like a dumpling) cafe for a quick lunch bite before visiting the Durbar Square next to several temples and the Palace Museum.

The temples and the palace sustained significant damage in the 2015 earthquake and several countries have provided funding and technical expertise to help repair the damage to these ancient buildings. Damage to the ancient intricately carved wood columns is being done by carefully removing the damaged sections and replacing with pieces hand carved to match the original damaged parts.

Trek Day -2

The 31 hours of travel from Texas to Kathmandu was not as rough as I would have expected. Qatar Airlines was a refreshing experience even though I have used business class internationally before. Doha Hamad International Airport was spacious and modern. The lounge was a pleasant upgrade and made the six hour layover go quickly. After a chaotic but simple immigration process we were met by Tanzin and Tashi within the huge throng of arrivals, piled into the car and off into the morning Kathmandu traffic.

Hotel is close to the largest Stupa temple in Kathmandu. After walking around the Boudha Stupa we got a car to Patan to see the temples and palace. The traffic and skilled driver navigation and negotiation of massive traffic was almost as fun as seeing the temples. In the palace there was a display of a couple dozen pictures of the various valleys and the devastating impact of climate change.

Trek -1 Week

  • Final pack! We ship out this week. Starting to get real. Looking forward to getting to Kathmandu. Even though we’ll be there a couple days ahead of the crew, we have lots lined up to see.

Trek -4 Weeks

  • Get final vaccines and obsess over equipment

Trek -5 Weeks

  • Finalize equipment and trial pack
  • Realize I’m probably not training enough

Trek -3 Months

  • Purchase most of my equipment (go REI and thank goodness for member dividends!)
  • Start pack and hill training
  • Obtain CDC recommended vaccinations

Trek -4 Months

  • Made the decision to join the Compassion Project Nepal Trek Spring 2022
  • Purchase airfare
  • Initial video conference calls with the organizer and trek group (10 of us)

More fantastic diving with Mike Severns

Just finished a trip to Maui and had the good fortune of diving again with the crew at Mike Severns diving. The crew this time included dive masters AJ and Warren (as usual) but I also had a chance to dive with dive master Seth too. As usual, Andy did a masterful job as the captain!


Kihei Boat Launch

Al, Seth, Dani and Andy

Two quiet days in October and the weather was fantastic. Day one I got to dive with AJ and Warren, while the second day I dove with Seth. The fact that every single time I head out with these guys, they have outstanding customer service and attitude .. and that’s not just the awesome sticky buns they consistently provide.

Day one was a great day in the Molokini crater where we saw lots of coral creatures including an extremely large lobster. The second dive at Puu O’Lai had great visibility and lots of turtles and several amazing (apparently rare) fly-bys of four Spotted Eagle Rays.


Spotted Eagle Rays

Bubbles off back wall of Molokini

Day two we hit the back wall of the Molokini Crater with the (literally) breath-taking 350′ expanse of coral and creatures. Dive two on the second day was at Wailea Point with more very friendly turtles.

Thanks again guys – hopefully we’ll see you in another year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays .. fantastic diving

Well, here’s a shout out to Mike Severns Diving in Maui .. (808) 879-6596. As usual, the crew including Warren, AJ, Michelle and last but certainly never least, skilled and fearless (or at least never speechless) captain Andy, managed to provide two superb days of diving in the Molokini crater in Maui. Even with poor visibility on the coast during my second day, the extra time in the crater was well worth it. 

We scoped out the Molokini reef three times and also did the Tank to the Landing craft drift dive. Saw a number of firsts for me on Thursday, including a small octopus, frogfish, flounder and nudibranch.

Other finds included a sponge starfish, a wire coral and a spiny urchin. Sponge Starfish, Wire Coral, Urchin

Thanks very much for another great diving trip to Maui guys! The Severns crew including AJ, Michelle, Andy and Warren were as usual, spectacular dive masters – knew where to look for the interesting bits and were really down to earth. Their dive boat can take out up to 12 divers, so it’s a smaller group allowing more interaction with the crew, compared to the larger 20+ diver boats.

Mike Severns Dive Crew 

See you in another year!