March 31, 2022
There’s one walk on the Nepal trip that I always worry about. It’s short, but it’s steep. I’ve done it countless times with my photography groups, and in ten years of travelling to the Annapurna’s only one person has decided to give it a miss.
We struggle for the first bit. You look upwards to the sky while catching your breath. It seems like such a long way. Slowly slowly we step forwards along the path. Chortens line the way, and we catch our breath at every one of them. Slowly slowly. Bistari bistari. The view behind us gets better and better, especially looking down at the chortens we’ve already taken breaks at.
Before too long we realise that we’re a long way up. There’s more below us than above. Much more. We catch our breath again before the final bend, and suddenly it’s all over. Everyone makes it to the top, where another chorten awaits us. Only much bigger!
Within a minute or two our breathing is back to normal. There are views of snow-capped peaks all around us, peaks we couldn’t see from down in the village. Prayer flags rustle in the wind and spring blossoms drift past. March in the Himalayas is full of blossoms.
This moment is always special for me, because not only does it feel like we’re on top of the world but the vista across the valley makes it look that way too!
We’re on a mountain high, physically and emotionally. So many people struggle to believe they can make it up the hill, yet are amazed to discover they can. It feels great. It’s not actually that hard, it just seems like it will be hard. Lots of things seem difficult until you do them.
The reward is that view, and a hot lunch when we get back down the hill again. There aren’t many uphills on the Slow Walking Nepal trip, but there a few. We just take them slowly, and take breaks along the way, and we get there in our own time. It’s not a race, it’s a journey.
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