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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

The mini trek: a wild time

This is a bit belated, but better late than never.

The trek was, as the title says, a wild time. The first day was, put lightly, trying. I volunteered to carry the med bag, which I soon realized was a critical error considering I had overpacked. Despite insistence not to do so from Dave, I brought my Singing Bowl (which I had bought in Bhaktapur Durbar Square two days before) and a few other situationally obsolete items that severely weighed me down. As he so appropriately said to me many times, “a kilogram of feathers is still a kilogram.” This is a lesson I will not soon forget. However, the amazing views and talks I had with the group members along the way well made up for the blood, sweat, and tears shed throughout the day. Upon arriving at the aptly named Hotel at the End of the Universe, which condescendingly sat atop several flights of stairs, we all went straight for the dining area for tea and dinner. That night I learned that food tastes especially good after losing feeling in ones legs and hips from carrying a 30+ pound backpack 12 miles. I hadn’t considered my hips would hurt at all before the trek, but they were by far the most damaged part of my body at that point. Having the majority of the pack’s weight balanced on my hips certainly did a number on them. After dinner, the I stayed up chatting and chilling with the boys in our room, at the unfortunate expense of the instructors, whose room was situated directly above ours.

I have never struggled to get out of bed as much as I did the morning of day two. I’ve certainly spent longer laying in bed with the intention of getting up, but this was my first experience of having my muscles quite literally not respond to my brain’s commands for movement. Starting off the day going down the stairs, rather than scrambling up a small mountain, was a welcome change. I had the privilege of having some long conversations with a few of the members in the group who I hadn’t yet spoken to at length, which was really nice. Although the scenery was even more breathtaking than day one, so too was the trek notably more difficult. By the time of lunch my hips were so tender that the mere contact of my pants against them was considerably painful. Despite pain from developing blisters on my feet, and soreness from my ankles and hips, I sprinted the last 40 feet to the hotel, to my own amazement. Although it was among the most rigorous I’ve ever done, it ranks high in my top most enjoyed hikes. We were welcomed to the hotel by a spectacular sunset painting the distant mountains orange, and copious amounts of Doodh Chea (milk tea in English, which is essentially chai tea). Once again, dinner was a euphoric experience. I took a wonderful hot shower, and stayed up late talking with the boys once more, though they kicked me out of the room a few times due to me having “adverse reactions” to the Dal Bhat (lentil soup poured over rice). I spent the night in my sleeping bag on the floor, though I slept surprisingly well.

Day three started out really nicely. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up with almost no soreness, breakfast was wonderful, and we started the trek with a sunrise to one side, the mountains to the other, and a nice steady decline for the first few minutes of walking. This nice start was completely forfeit the moment the guides told me we had a mile of stairs to go up. I was convinced nothing on this trek could ever be worse than the half mile of stairs on day one, but quickly realized this was far from the case. Those stairs killed me, though fortunately the last 6 miles were all downhill. I was in considerable pain by the end, but very happy with the experience in the end. I look forward to experiencing the next step in the coming weeks.