This trip to Nepal had been a dream of mine for several years. Ever since Rob (my son) had suggested we take a trip together before “I got too old to move.” (I was 53 at the time.) His idea of a trip was not golf in Florida but climbing 14,400 foot Mt. Rainier in Washington state. This mountain is the third highest in the continental US. From that experience, the lure of the big mountains had gotten me. Also after reading many books on climbing experiences in the Himalayas, I didn’t consider life completed until I could see these Himals in person.
Our team was populated with my daughter Jenny, six other trekkers, six kitchen staff, five guides and twenty one porters. We started the trek in Besi Sahar after a harrowing bus ride from Katmandu. During this eight hour ride we rocked along through river beds and across landslide areas. No one slept, a few prayed. Our trek would follow the eastern flank of the Annapurna Range then turn west at Bagarchlap up through the Manang District and then north to Thorung Phedi, a 14,000 foot base camp that would be the last resting place before assaulting 17,700 foot Thorung La (Pass). The trail beyond Besi Sahar (2400 feet) had not seen a motorized vehicle and only an occasional mule team disrupted the sparse foot traffic. The trail was dirt, rock, stone, mud, snow, ice, rock stair cases and at times a freely flowing creeks as a result of the rain draining down from the steep mountain side.
Every day the scenery changed. Drier low lands turned to pine forest, then barren rock above the tree line. The typical description given by our guide each day for the trail ahead was “a little up, a little down, a little level”. Actually “a lot up and a lot down with very little flat” was more accurate. There are not any flat places here and this trip was definitely for those in shape. The days journey started at 7:30am and except for a lunch break and occasional tea house break, usually ended between 3:30pm and 5pm. In 20 days we covered nearly 200 miles of constant ups and downs with an altitude gain from start to max of nearly 15,000 feet. Just about every foot of the trail was spectacular.