Today is the second day of the Poon Hill trek. The guidebooks indicate much of the trek would be climbing stone steps. I’m glad the guidebook left out the details none of us really want to know ahead of time. It would ruin all the surprises that may have given us second thoughts about starting out on whatever adventure is being described. “To Glorify and Enroll” should be the mandatory warning on the cover of most guide books. “Reader Beware.” Continue reading Poon Hill, Day Two
Yesterday, at the guesthouse I had a rock hard pillow. I used a rolled up jacket instead. At breakfast I said, “Tomorrow I want a pillow that’s softer than the mattress.” Last night I got my wish. The pillow was just as hard as the previous night, but the mattress was like a slab of slate. The pillow was indeed the softer of the two.
Our two porters are college kids on break. They are from my guide Mahesh’s village, so they are known and trusted. They were shy the first day or so, but that has changed now. We’ve talked about their struggles in life, and I ask and prod, pushing the edge of what is in this culture possible to talk honestly about including their dreams and possible futures. Continue reading The Kids: Poon Hill
Mind’s Questions: What am I doing here in Nepal trekking again? Did I forget the pain, discomfort and fear? Why would anyone do this? Continue reading Trek Again? Are You Crazy?
It takes time to sink into nature, rather let nature sink into me, I have found the fourth day is usually a turning point from letting go of normal life and allowing nature to do its magic. On this Poon Hill Nepal Trek, day three I found myself stopping along the trail to just gaze at the forest and rocky streams. I felt an easy smile of pleasure spread across my face more and more often from the joyful pleasure of simply being in the Himalayas again. Continue reading Nature Takes Time, Poon Hill
I’ve written about the challenge, the discomfort, and the fear. I think you feel the pain and the dirt but you aren’t fully with me in Mustang yet. There is a space of exultation to which I want to take you. Pain, dirt, and gale force winds are a simple counter-balance to the often overwhelming feeling of joy and freedom I knew each day, all day. Continue reading The Accomplishment
Arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal seems a good starting point to write about The Trek. It’s where almost Himalayan treks begin. It’s a transition point of realities. The reality of the “West” to the reality of a developing Asian capital city, and onto the Himalayan mountain reality. Truth and illusion blur when realities are stacked so close together. From the orderliness of the West, to Nepal’s deep poverty and a booming economy living side by side with its pollution, crowds, chaos, dirt, traffic, noise, poverty, and misplaced people, to the beauty, serenity and mysticism of the mountains. Continue reading The Trek, Kathmandu Arrival
I decided to leave for Bangkok a day early. The gentle demeanor of the Nepalese people evaporates on the streets of this super-over-crowded city. The infrastructure that could manage 500,000 people a few years ago has not been improved, so the five to seven million people who are here share, somewhat aggressively, the limited public space. There is a flow of sorts, but it’s as bumpy as the backstreets and alleys in which I spend most of my time. Continue reading Re-entry, Kathmandu to Bangkok
We were awakened at 5:00am to catch our once-a-day flight from Bhutan’s only airport to Kathmandu. In the end, we took off almost three hours late. Probably not all that unusual, as Druk Air, the state owned airline, has only two aircraft. One makes the round trip to Bangkok each day, and the other makes the round trip to Calcutta, via Kathmandu, Nepal, each day. That’s it! Both flights out and both flights in are scheduled to depart/arrive at the same time. I guess that allows the airport staff to go home for a four hour lunch break…who knows? In any case, all of our morning logistics and delays were absolutely forgotten after we took off and did a Mt. Everest fly-by. Continue reading Kathmandu