– ODO: 11742 – 11820km
– Location: Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India
– Weather: 12-24 Bright and clear
I realised today that I’d seen the Himalayas before. From 38,000 feet as I flew to a conference in Australia in 2017. That first time the ridges and valleys seem to flatten out, splitting the sea of cloud. They look just like maps and satellite images. The same ones I use every day to plan my route on the road. From below, the mountains seem like a Disney animated backdrop. Houses and hills in the foreground move in parallax.
As you come closer and closer to the range, climbing hundreds of meters over hours of effort, you never really reach the mountains. They rise up and take up more of the horizon. Clouds enveloping the peaks in the morning before clearing again, then building. The snow shines bright white. Down here it’s 30 degrees in the sun and windless, yet a few thousand meters up the snow is constant year round.
I’m a couple of hours away now from my stop in Bir, and I’ve climbed most of the 700m to reach the town which sits at 1,300m. As I approach, I keep one eye on the ridge tops. Looking for my first sight of a paraglider.