I should never have gone to Nepal. I was originally booked on a trip to Northern Pakistan, but just a couple of weeks before it was due to start, someone from the tour operator rang to say it had been cancelled because of the terrible floods in the area. They were very helpful and spent some time trying to find a suitable alternative. First of all they tried to tempt me with Peru and much as I adore South America, I had spent nearly four weeks there only the previous year. Then they suggested Nepal and I very nearly declined as it included a four-day trek in the Annapurna region. With a fixed ankle, I can get about quite well, but I am definitely not a keen walker. The rest of the trip sounded amazing though, so I threw caution to the wind and changed the booking there and then.
It was still six weeks away, but in that time I had to find the appropriate gear, including some lightweight boots in size 3, a sleeping bag and of course, get myself fitter. To that end I borrowed an exercise bike from a couple of dear friends and every Sunday I made the six-mile walk to my parents’ house for Sunday lunch. By the time departure day arrived, I wasn’t exactly a lean, mean, walking machine, but I was in better shape than I had been previously.
I have blogged about Nepal before (and will probably do so again – I have enough images to share), but this time I will ignore the time spent in Kathmandu and the Chitwan National Park and jump to the four-day trek at the very end of the tour. I will be forever grateful to our wonderful guide, who made all the arrangements in advance. As we were dropped off at the start of the trek, we only had to carry a small backpack with our daily supplies – drink, jacket and plasters. We got through plenty of those. I remember ending up at the back of the group (where I spent the entire four days), telling myself that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As we walked towards the beautiful mountain, it was the last time we were to see the summit until the final day. That particular view can be seen as the featured image at the top of the page.
Apart from the stunning views, my favourite memories are of the little villages scattered along the route and the friendly people who lived there. The image below was taken of a young girl who watched while we stopped to have lunch on the first day. I loved the way she appeared to be in her own little world.
The next day I was fortunate enough to be invited to spend the afternoon and evening with a family after finding the grandmother bleeding while preparing vegetables for dinner. Having a supply of plasters in my backpack, I was able to patch her up. Thankfully the group had set up camp not far away and I was able to take them up on their kind offer. Here is the mother giving a demonstration of threshing corn by hand.
The last day was for me, the happiest and saddest of all. I didn’t want the trek to end, although perhaps my poor feet had other ideas. The happiest memory was saved until last, as plodding along way behind the others as usual, I passed through a village where a group of laughing children were gathered round a local man. He had been down to the bottom of the valley to buy a little bubble making kit. I knew I was going to be late to meet up with the mini-bus, but I didn’t care. I stuck around for twenty minutes and managed to come away with the image below. And so it was that I should never have gone to Nepal, but I am so glad that I did.