Canyons, mules, tea, stone guest houses with wooden fronts, dal bhat, peanut butter from Pokhara to remind us of home, early night and morning sore muscles and cold water- day one.
It feels great to be truly in the middle of nowhere… they are building a road, it took us three days to get past it, there is a place you can land a small plane, but we really are out there, and so far from home.
The family sits around the fire, Mel and Eric wash their feet, Michael is sick in bed. We finally hit freezing temps at 9000 feet. The mother is churning yak butter. She made us a nice curry. Hungry travelers are easy to please. I feel like a traveler of old walking from village to village reliant on others for survival.
The mornings are cold and full of magic. Tibetans are hidden amongst the trees gathering fire wood and smoke creeps through the forest disclosing a family’s house otherwise hidden. The people tolerate us and the guest houses welcome us but it is clear we are foreigners.
The peaks rise through the silence, somber giants portioning out only a few hours of sunlight before their shadows reign.
The sound of the horses bells reminds me of Christmas. The sun finally breaks through at 11:30 and the colors of the prayer flags come to life and the rattle of the prayer wheels breaks the stillness.
In a sense we are uninvited guests and we join an army of 60,000 travelers that live off these villages a year, bringing much profit and much reluctance…we tread lightly.
The children are playful the women beautiful and the men mysterious, as glad as I am that we are here part of me wishes we never came, any of us, and all of this was left a hidden sanctuary of simple life surrounded by complex beauty.
Our group is complex held together by our casual demeanors. We each have different motivations and paces and hold-ups yet we press on.
The day haunts us with beauty and it drives our limbs forward against our will somehow. The drought of the valley below and the enormous hight of the himal (that draws the blue sky to our finger tips) calls us forward against the wind and our will. And we pray.