I know I made lots of promises in my last post (so long ago) to start writing on the regular. Clearly that didn’t happen. I’m not sure it will.
I’ve been feeling weirdly private lately. And by lately I mean for the last 5 months. It’s not that I’ve been doing anything worth hiding. I’d gladly chat about my adventures if anyone asked. However, the thought of so publicly displaying my life… well, the thought of that has started to make me a bit uncomfortable.
I’ve also been going through a bit of an existential crisis. Lots of late night internet search frenzies and WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE meltdowns. You know, your typical 24 year old’s problems of privilege. If any of you have some answers, please send them my way. I just want to be happy. I’m happy right now, but how does one know that committing to something in the present (be it a career, a city, or a person) will make them happy in the future?? Don’t respond with some cheesy phrase like, “do what you love” or “follow your heart,” because the question of what I love is problem numero uno and my heart has proven very untrustworthy.
Therapy would be a much better answer.
Okay, enough with the soul searching. Here are some pics from Nepal.
If you’d prefer to skip the dramatics, then scroll past all this text and just look at the pictures. If you’d like to learn how we were nearly condemned to spend all of eternity in the Himalayas, then I’d suggest you read this bit first:
- We fly into Kathmandu, raft our way towards Pokhara, then bus to the start of the trek. I quickly learn that Nepalese people have a very cruel concept of what constitutes a “hill.”
- Mia tires of the unbecoming cooing noises that escape my mouth every time we pass a small child. She says I have an obsession with Asian babies. Duh.
- We walk a lot and then it rains a lot, so we play cards and watch the locals behead a few goats as part of a Hindu holiday.
- Rain continues. We master the art of crossing waterfalls without getting wet or falling off a cliff. Later, we also master the art of coping with food poisoning when all you’ve got is a squat toilet.
- We run out of cash, only to then realize that there are no ATMs on this whole damn trek. Fortunately, we are able to locate the local mafia ringleader and trade some USD for Nepalese Rupees on the black market. Spend the rest of the day humming “Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta.”
- Air gets thinner and the terrain begins to change. I learn that simultaneously laughing, hiking, and breathing is not possible above 3500 meters.
- At 4000 meters, we start questioning why anyone in their right mind would do high altitude trekking. Food, air, water, and fun is very limited when you’re up that high.
- We arrive at Thorung Phedi, our last stop before crossing the Pass. Play more cards, and chat excitedly about finishing this trek and escaping the hell hole that is Thorung Phedi.
- Just as we set out, I get altitude sickness so we are forced to delay an extra day.
- The next morning, Mia awakes with severe food poisoning and so we delay another.
- And then another.
- I realize that we are once again out of cash and that we must cross the following day or we’ll be trapped. I also realize that Mia hasn’t eaten or gotten out of bed in 2 days, so the chances of her being able to climb up 1000 meters to the pass and then 1600 down to the next town are very, very slim.
- I spend about an hour second guessing how to spell “trapped.” I decide that Thorung Phedi has officially fucked with my mental well-being.
- Thorung Phedi becomes known as the Compound.
- I inquire about hiring horses to take us over the Pass. They say it’ll cost 100 USD, that the horse can only go up not down, and that we must pay in cash. I say we’ve got no money. They say sorry. I cry. Then see my reflection, remember I haven’t showered in 6 days as all the pipes are frozen at this altitude, and cry some more.
- Sympathizers join the pity party. One guest agrees to loan me the cash until we are able to reach an ATM (which is a 2 days walk away) in exchange for my passport as collateral. I reflect that this could end very, very badly. But I agree.
- We ride the horses. Mia looks sickly. I nearly fall off.
- We get to the pass and start running down the mountain. We stop running when we remember that accelerated movement is not conducive to breathing at 5400 meters. It takes us about 7 hours to get to the next town. Tears and foul language are involved.
- The next morning, we take a jeep to the town with the ATM. Later, we are reunited with our lender who returns my passport and then buys us a round of drinks.
- And all was hunky-dory.
Day 1: Besisahar – Bhulbhule (840m; 2755 ft)
Day 2: Bhulbhule – Ghermu (1130m; 3707 ft)
Day 3: Ghermu (again because of rain)
Day 4: Ghermu – Tal (1700 m; 5577ft)
Day 5: Tal (again because of rain)
Day 6: Tal – Tamang/Latamarang (2400m; 7874ft)
Day 7: Tamang/Latamarang – Dhukur Pokhari (3240m; 10629ft)
Day 8: Dhukar Pokhari – Upper Pisang (3310m; 10,859ft)
Day 9: Upper Pisang – Bhraga (3450m; 11,318ft)
Day 12: Bhraga – Yak Kharka (4050m; 13,237ft)
Day 13: Yak Kharka – Thorang Phedi (4450m; 14,600 ft)
Day 14: The Compound (formerly known as Thorang Phedi)
The Compound Hell On Earth
Day 16: Thorang Phedi – Thorung Pass (5416m; 17,769ft) – Muktinath (3800m; 12,467ft)