… we were woken well before dawn to climb the nearest peak to watch the sun rise. The truth is that every morning began this way after leaving Kathmandu and every morning without fail, it reduced me to tears.
I decided to start scanning my Nepalese slides over Christmas and this was the first thing I remembered. I hadn’t been intending to travel here at all. Having spent nearly four weeks in South America the previous year, I was drawn to the wild country of Northern Pakistan and my trip had been booked for some time. Then the floods came and the trip was cancelled. The agency was keen to come up with something equally as interesting, so they offered me a place on a tour to Peru! I explained that I had done it pretty much to death and much as I adored the place and the people, I was looking for something completely different. Then they suggested Nepal, a small group escorted holiday that was due to leave in just six weeks and I very nearly declined. After all, this included a four day trek in the Annapurna region and I am definitely no walker. They persisted though and I began to wonder if I could do enough in the next month to prepare for such an experience. I threw caution to the winds and booked up and I never regretted it for a moment.
The first few days were spent in the capital while arrangements were made for the trek. The others were all couples and although everyone was very friendly, I had no interest in playing gooseberry. Anyway, I didn’t fancy the organised coach trips that had been arranged, so I spent the best part of three days wandering around Kathmandu on my own. It was fascinating!
Then we were taken on a relatively short drive to spend one night in the country. I wish I could recall the name of the place for it was breathtakingly beautiful. The previous afternoon we walked around the terraces and through tiny little villages. I remember visiting a little school with one of the most stunning views on earth. I don’t remember being told about the early morning start though and I fumbled around in the pitch black trying to find my clothes and camera gear.
One thing I do recall is that some of the locals made the climb with us too. I think if this was the view that greeted me every morning, then I would do exactly the same. We must have been there for some time, as the colours turned from orange and purple with my companions in sharp silhouette, then to violet with the mist in the valleys below and finally as the sun rose, revealing everything in the most amazing detail and the mist rapidly burning away.
I can’t believe it has taken me the best part of 23 years to get around to scanning these images. During that time they have sat, mostly forgotten in the depths of my filing cabinet. I wish I had dusted off the memories sooner.