Friday, May 8, 2009

Trekking in Nepal

It was the winter of 2000, two years after my original breast cancer diagnosis, and I was travelling to Nepal looking for adventure. What I didn't realize was that it would be a spiritual journey and that the people there would teach me something about happiness.

We had been climbing up, up, up for most of the first day of an 11 day trek. I had done a fair bit of hiking in the Gatineau Hills, so the uphill wasn’t new to me. However, I wasn’t prepared when the trail suddenly turned a corner and continued on the side of a mountain, with a sheer drop on one side. I was never fond of heights (what was I doing on a mountain in Nepal one might ask…), but I had never experienced severe vertigo before. But there I was, literally clinging to the side of the mountain, unable to move one foot in front of another. After what seemed like an eternity of coaxing by my companions and guides - when it became clear that there was no rescue helicopter coming for me - I decided that I had no choice but to move forward. It was 4 days before I could relax and finally appreciate the most spectacular view that I have ever seen.

Our group of 15 women was travelling with a huge entourage of sherpas, porters and cooks. Many of the porters wore only rubber flip-flops, while carrying our duffle bags, tents, food, dishes, and everything else we needed for the trip on their backs. Every night when we arrived at camp, our tents were set up and waiting for us, along with a dining tent with table and folding chairs. How they managed to prepare and serve such wonderful food in the middle of nowhere I’ll never know. Every morning they were up before us to serve breakfast, pack up the camp, and start the whole process over again.
These people worked incredibly hard for very little pay. You would think that when they were done for the day, they would fall asleep exhausted. But no, when the work was done, it was then time to party. They sang Nepali folk songs and danced and laughed like they were the happiest people on the planet. Some of my favorite memories of the trip are of dancing by firelight, on the side of a mountain, with a sky full of stars that sparkled brighter than any disco ball from the 80’s.
Because we took a trade route rather than a tourist route, we passed through small villages that seldom see western faces. The children ran up and down the steep slopes like mountain goats. They had nothing, yet they appeared to have not a care in the world.

While taking a break one afternoon, a Nepali woman came and sat beside me on a rock. She hesitantly reached out and touched my blonde hair, obviously fascinated by it. I took it out of the pony tail I was wearing so she could have a better look. She offered me some seeds that she was carrying in a shawl wrapped around her waist. I have no idea what I was eating but we sat together, munching on the seeds, communicating somehow, even though we didn't speak the same language.

The only time we camped more than 1 night was near a monastery run by Buddhist nuns. We awoke both mornings to the sound of a conk shell calling the nuns to prayer. They were gracious enough to invite us to join them, which we did, still sleepy eyed and wrapped in our sleeping bags. Two hours of chanting in a language that I didn’t understand went by amazingly fast. I remember feeling a sense of belonging and love, as if all was well with the universe.

Namaste

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris,
The memory of going to that monestary was my strongest memory from that whole trip. That morning was especailally powerful.
I remember the mystical strains of the 'blown' conch shell that woke us up in the early, misty dawn, the short walk to the Monestary, wrapped in sleeping bags, shrouded in mist and silence. I remember the magic of the chanting, musical notes, instruments and harmonies never before heard by my 'Western' ears. I remember the two of us, sitting huddled together in our sleeping bags for warmth, and being offered some hot tea. I'm sure we would not willingly drink it under any other circumstances, but it was perfect with the mysticism and spirit of the moment.
In my mind, I often go back to that time and place. It truly was a gift in my life.

hike himalayasik said...

Sanjib Adikhari ist recomended 2011 by German trekkers Sabine and Frank from Berlin
The ultimate compliment for Sanjib came from fellow trekkers we met along the way who remarked how lucky we were to have a guide so personable, knowledgeable and dedicated to us and our experience. We could not have agreed with them more. *We did a 21 day Annapurna circuit, Annapurna base camp trek and Langtang Valley trek and having never trekked this length before, we were both novices. It is without a doubt, that had our guide been anyone other than Sanjib, we would not have had nearly the rich, authentic and thoroughly enjoyable experience we did. When trekking
with Sanjib we enjoyed:
* honest, knowledgeable and sincere discussions regarding anything from Nepal's history and current politics, local religions and culture history, to geography natural landscape and all Mountains Name
* a sensitivity and sensibility to allow a good balance between conversation and respecting an individual or couple’s need for privacy * over 9 years of trekking guide experience
* a respect for an individual’s desired pace and physical condition
* an intimate knowledge of the best accommodations, tea stops and places of interest along the way, according to our own individual budget
We would highly recommend any potential trekker in Nepal to enlist the services of Sanjib Adhikari. It is without a doubt that you will be richly rewarded if you do so Trek in Nepal his contact address is: sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com and his website : www.nepalguideinfo.com



Silvana Pagani from Italy wrote in 2011: "My friend Sanjib Adhikari, Nepalse Guide

Silvana Pagani from Italy wrote in 2011 about my experience in Nepal and recommends as guide, Sanjib Adhikari.
This year at the end of february i went in Nepal for 18 days for the second time and i did a small trekking in the Annapurna region, I went to visit Pokhara, Kathmandu, Bakthapur and Nagarkot and I saw the National Park of Chitwan and in this trip I had the pleasure to meet Sanjib Adhikari.
He is an independent trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal and he has already obtained trekking guide license from the ministry of tourism, government of Nepal.
In his work Sanjib is a person very responsible and serious, very helpful and attentive to his customers, he knows very well the mountain because he has many years of experience and is also an excellent guide for visiting the cities.
He is someone very competent in his work and always ready to find the best solution, if necessary and speaks English very well.During the trekking and the tours he will tell you many interesting things about culture, about life in the villages, mountains, history and traditions in Nepal.
The best thing is that Sanjib loves his country very much and loves his work and always manages to convey all his enthusiasm with simple ways and always with the smile. He is a very nice person and is always attentive to the needs of his customers. Sanjib is also very funny and after this experience we became a very good friend. Next year at the end of January I will return for the third time in Nepal and Sanjib will be again my guide. 
For these reasons I am very glad to report all references of Sanjib
He Is cantact adress www.nepalguideinfo.com
email-sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com mobile No= +9779841613822