Have you ever signed up for something that you didn’t believe you were actually qualified for? Maybe you said you had several years of experience for that dream job, when you were actually just sick of going on interviews and hearing the same advice, “…We think you’re great, but we’re really looking for someone with more working experience…”
Or perhaps you spent a substantial amount of time trying to talk up your similar taste in music on a first date. Oh yeah, I’ve listened to Hinder, I think they really…uh…feel all the things. You know?
It’s all about wishful thinking isn’t it? We justify our decisions to tell these little white lies, because we think it will be absolutely worth it. If I just get that job, things will fall in place, I can start chipping away at the student loans.
If I can just learn all of the lyrics to Hinder’s ‘Lips of an Angel,’ and really try to like them, (or at least endure them) then I could end up dating this awesome person!
Okay, we’ve all done it at least once (Unfortunately, I fell into the “Hinder” category. Thanks high school), and usually it ends poorly. Oh, you like Nickelback too?
The smart thing to do, is to learn from it, and don’t do anything remotely like it again.
I’m not so smart.
I know it’s not easy to believe, but I’m not much of a mountaineer. These alpine legs of mine are best at walking on flat surfaces. So signing up for an 8 day trek through the Himalayas, without legitimate travel insurance, was more than wishful thinking, it was possible suicide.
When I landed in Pokhara my fears became real. I toured around the city for a day seeing things like the Peace Pagoda all the while looking at Annapurna in the distance thinking, what did I get myself into?
I maybe needed a little liquid courage…
The next morning it was an early start to Nayapul with my guide, Suman, to being our trek.
DAY ONE: Nayapul to Banthanti
I was sporting my boots, my pack, and a little motion sickness from the car ride to Nayapul, but I was optimistic.
The trek began smoothly. It was a sunny clear day to see a landscape full of unfamiliar sights. My pack was heavy but I carried it (cause IMMA boss). However, Suman insisted on carrying my sleeping bag.
We saw all kinds of livestock and wildlife.
Mid-morning we stopped for tea.
At our morning tea break
Then we walked on to our lunch spot, chatting about life and our families. I was glad to get to know Suman.
Dal Bhat for lunch
Lunch was tasty. I was feeling pretty good about my trek. Shoot, I can do this. Trekking isn’t too hard.
Then Suman told me that after lunch we’d be going up. You mean we weren’t already? What he meant was we would be climbing, for hours, up a jagged stone staircase with no apparent end.
Guys, I’m not kidding. IT WAS TORTURE. After a while my leg started to hurt, and I was constantly out of breath. My feet felt like they each weighed 500lbs. I tried to conserve my water, but it was tough.
It didn’t help that these old sherpa dudes were passing me like I was the fat kid in gym class, blocking their path. inhale-exhale-inhale-exhale. The worst part was that my right leg was hurting pretty badly, like I had some kind of strained muscle, but I felt like I didn’t really have another choice.
It was either soldier on to the lodge, or trek the WHOLE way back to Nayapul like a little defeated wimp. I’m that jerk who doesn’t like to lose, so up to the lodge I went.
Almost delirious from climbing.
Finally we stumbled upon the little village. I mean I really stumbled upon it. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to leave a staircase in my entire life.
Smug look of satisfaction
DAY TWO: Banthanti to Ghorepani
I was sore, but Suman assured me that the trek would be both shorter and contain fewer stairs than the day before. So, I decided to push myself.
There were still too many stairs, but I was starting to get used to them.
Suman and I would take little breaks to have grapes and dried apricots, so it started to be really fun. We would joke and chat, then before I knew it, Suman would find us a little village so we could grab some tea.
I was still pretty exhausted by the time we made it to Ghorepani, but I was starting to enjoy the exhaustion.
We’d made some major progress on gaining elevation. The air was cool and my sweat was starting to chill (Gross, I know. Girls sweat. Get over it).
We stayed at the “Hungry Eye” and ate spicy vegetable noodle soup as it started snowing. Soon everyone crowded around the small wood furnace, drying out their clothes and exchanging life stories. I live for this kind of thing.
Suman talked my new friend and me into trying some Nepali wine made from millet. It looked just like water, but looks can be deceiving. It tasted sort of like old dishwashing water, and definitely had a little punch to it.
The snow continued to fall and felt comforting, like the Christmas I missed. At night I snuggled into my cosy little sleeping bag, and slept solidly.
DAY THREE: Ghorepani (Poon Hill) to Tatopani
This was my favorite day. At 5am there was a knock at the door. It was Suman.
“Angela, It is clear. We should climb Poon Hill.”
UGHHH! I wanted to sleep in! I begrudgingly climbed out of my sleeping bag and layered on all of my warm weather clothes, grumbling as I tied on my boots.
It was cold, and snowy. Suman gave me some fancy hiking poles to help make sure I didn’t slip and fall. Nice of him, but I still looked like a toddler taking her first steps. It wasn’t long before I was pretty out of breath, and irritated with Suman for forcing me to wake up.
Oxygen burned in my lungs. I was so sick of climbing.
What’s so special about a stupid hill? How can this even be called a hill? It should be called a small mountain. This sucks. There is no way it can be worth it.
Strike that. This was so WORTH IT!
Sunrise on Poon Hill was unreal. The moon was on one side, the sun on the other.
Photos really can’t capture it.
There was so much color. Milky blues and reds next to brilliant yellows. As an artist, I can tell you, it was my “Dream Palette”
What a way to start the day, and what a day it was.
We returned to the inn, had breakfast, and made our start to Tatopani. This day felt like Lord of the Rings style adventure.
We carved our way through snow covered paths, going down steep dangerous, inclines through forests, and on top of incredible lookouts.
I finally started feeling GOOD about all the hiking. I was totally in my element. It just took a couple of days to get there. I felt like I owned the mountain, like I’d been raised on it.
Then things started getting really dangerous. The snow was packed down, causing many people to lose their footing. I’m not kidding you, or exaggerating when I tell you that I could have really gotten hurt. If it wasn’t for Suman, literally holding my hand and telling me exactly where to step, I could have been seriously injured or killed.
Maybe that’s why I liked so much. because it felt like an actual adventure with my life on the line.
Plus the beauty of it was astounding. The way the light trickled through the trees and danced on the snowy ground below captivated me. I’d find myself not paying enough attention to my footing, and nearly slipping several times.
By lunch we were past the worst of it. We grabbed a warm meal from a lodge along the path, and sipped on some fresh lemon tea to relieve some of the stress we’d acquired during the first half of the day.
The rest of the way to Tatopani was relatively uneventful. I mean, we were still in the Himalayas, and it was a beautiful clear day to see the mountains, but we weren’t scared for our lives anymore.
Making it to Tatopani was nice, but I couldn’t really enjoy it at first, due to…ahem…digestive experiences…I’ll leave that there. You don’t need to know the details. Luckily, symptoms passed quickly and I was able to have some ginger tea while I journaled about the day.
You know, I was just planning on finishing my whole Nepal story for you guys in this one post, but I decided that, to give the trip justice, I’d need at least a Part 3. If you’re loving it, stay posted. If the opposite is true, why are you still here?
Up Next ↓
Tatopani-Jhinu-Ghandruk-Landruk(just past)-Australian Camp