By Steve Richards
My first trip to Nepal in January 1998 is memorable to my family, friends, and co-workers as a time I went missing – or worse. I wasn't, just on a trek with a couple Austrian Buddhists I met on the train from Delhi to the Nepal/Indian border. They were on their way to Pokhara to see the sun rise on the Himalayas from Poon Hill - 10,000+ feet up in the foothills of the Annapurna range.
Getting there was a three day hike up mountain trails in use for thousands of years alongside the raging Kali Gandaki River fed by glaciers high up in the world's tallest mountains.
Even though I was much younger, my pack was too large, and my exercise regimen too weak, to make walking in these parts anything but a challenging (read painful) experience. And the most life-changing experience I ever encountered. I suppose it's like that for many from our neck-of-the-woods.
I had told everyone at home not to expect me for a month as I was on vacation and was heading to India for my roommate's wedding; I was to be in the wedding. Unfortunately, I never actually received a written invitation with an address, and absent-mindedly figured someone would be waiting for me at the airport. So, after a couple days of trying to locate my hosts I decided to head to Kathmandu and see what Bob Seeger had been singing about in my youth.
Suffice it to say that when I didn't show at the wedding most were concerned, and my mom got a call that her son had gone missing. Fortunately, she knew me well enough not to worry too much.
All were relieved when I finally found a phone and called home from Ghorepani, the village at the base of Poon Hill, and where we are heading on our latest trek. I'm hopeful my cell phone will do a better job of keeping us plugged-in than the occasional landline we depended on back then.
We are heading back to Poon Hill on our latest Nepal 2020 trek in January and invite those that want to come along to join us. For more click here. You can also meet some of those that will lead us at the premier of A Kathmandu Christmas screening on December 28th.
We are also raising funds for all these efforts so please consider supporting us at our Nepal 2020 fundraising page.
Thank you and we hope all are enjoying a happy holiday season.