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Toughing it out in Nepal

NEPAL | Sunday, 22 April 2012 | Views [1114] | Comments [1]

Walking through Langtang

Walking through Langtang

In the early days of a new romance, we decided to trek through Nepal and see if our relationship could withstand a bit of turmoil. 
I had some travel experience under my belt, but nothing as adventurous as climbing mountains with the possible use of oxygen. It intrigued me, and despite not being at my fittest, I agreed to go. Planning our six week holiday was fun, we argued about which region we would go, what we wanted to see, if we wanted tea houses or tents etc etc. To be honest, I wanted to be carried over the mountains by the sherpas and sleep in comfortable beds in warm huts. My partner wanted to rough it a bit more. We compromised. 
Arriving into Kathmandu was a culture shock. Everywhere I looked was the colour red. Red dirt roads, red brick houses, red tiled roofs, red prayer flags. It was like Dulux had painted the country for an ad for new red paint. We were scammed at the airport by a tourist officer who "called" our hotel to verify our booking and driver. Apparently neither were booked, but fortunately for us the tourist officer had a cousin who owned a hotel, and he could arrange another cousin to drive us there. We didn't care really, we were just glad to be there. 
After a few days acclimatising to Kathmandu, we walked the streets of Thamel and found a tourist agent who could organise a trek for us, complete with a new family of sherpas to guide, cook, and look after us. We'd decided on the Langtang trek which was a three week walk in the park - according to the tour agent. 
Even from the centre of Kathmandu, we were in awe of the mountains around us. The absolute grandeur of the Himalayas cannot be justified in a few words. Or even a photo. The mere presence of these magnificent hills is inspiring and humbling. And scary. I suddenly had the realisation that I would be climbing one of these "things" in a matter of days and my only form of training was running across the harbour bridge to work each morning. The flat part, not the curvy bit. My legs ached at the thought of it and I desperately wanted to chicken out, but my partner promised he would help me if needed. Comforting. His training was the same as mine. 
We managed to walk a couple of days without incident, taking in the freshness of the barley fields, the rice fields and the gentle nature of the local villagers. We were invited in to share buffalo yoghurt, which I sneakily gave to my partner to drink. He did. It looked like white baby vomit and smelt even worse - it was a true sign of love that he saved me from that experience. 
A few days into our trek we started to climb through Gosaikund, which is one of the highest passes in Nepal and an entry to the Lake where many Nepalese go on pilgrimage. The trek was extremely difficult for me, and as we reached the last spot for lunch we had the choice of remaining there in a tent, or trekking over the pass and sleeping in a tea house. It was difficult to breath at this altitude, my head was throbbing with pain and I was exhausted. But the temptation of a warm hut was overwhelming and I voted. An hour after we set off, we found ourselves locked into a blizzard. It was a total white out, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, nor the footprints of my group ahead of me. Taking one step was lasting longer than a minute, and my head was still throbbing. I remember crying at the thought of being lost in the Himalayas, dying under a mountain of snow - well preserved because of it. By nature I'm a drama queen, and I knew it. I also knew this was a pretty serious situation I was in and I had to get out of it. With every ounce of energy I had, I called for help. And called. And called. After what seemed like an hour, one of our sherpas appeared and helped me over the pass. On the other side, I saw my partner (also being helped by a sherpa) vomiting. And then I saw the view of the Lake, and the tiny village beside it where we were to sleep that night. Instant smile! 
It was a slow descent into the village, and I cant remember getting inside the hut. I do remember lying on a soft bed with a sherpa trying to force feed a hot chocolate into my mouth as I lay there convulsing. Ok, drama queen a little there, but I was shaking so much from adrenalin overload that I couldn't lift my head, or hold a cup. 
The remaining weeks on that trek were a cinch. We basically run up mountains and through jungles until we reached our final destination, Langtang. Finding a shower along the way was our biggest challenge, despite the constant promises from my sherpa friends. (yes, they were friends even after holding our heads to vomit). 
The adventure was difficult and extremely fun. Our relationship held true and we have been back to Nepal to share the experience with two of our children, and now considering taking the third.

Tags: gosaikund, nepal, tea house, trekking

Comments

1

Wow that's quite the experience!! Loved reading about it, but can't say I'd want to do it :-)

  traveleater May 1, 2012 11:49 AM

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