I arrived in Pokhara and met my guide, Krishna that I would spend the next 2 days hiking with. We drove out about 45 minutes and the driver let us off on the side of the road next to a footpath leading to the mountains. Please be advised that as an American, what I climbed looked like mountains in my book but to the Nepalese they are mere foothills.
I was told that the first day was straight up hill and that it would take approximately 5 hours but I was up for the challenge, I mean I work out on a regular basis, how hard could it be? Within 10 minutes my makeup was sweat off, my shirt soaken wet, my hair drenched and my lungs and legs were on fire. I was trying to conceal my heavy breathing from my guide but when I couldn’t hold back any longer I just let it all out and was panting like a dog. Krishna turned around and asked if I was ok and if we should stop and I said, “no I”m fine, lets keep going”. I knew that the trek was going to be uphill but I didn’t realize that it was going to be straight up steps. The steps were never ending! Every time we reached what I thought was the top there was a sharp turn with another set of steep inclined steps. About 20 minutes in to it, after forgoing the break I yelled up to Krishna who was always 15 steps ahead of me if we would be doing these stairs for the whole day and he said “no”. “Oh thank god I thought” but then he responded, “but we will be walking up them for 2 hours”. I saw my life flash before my eyes when I heard that, I didn’t know if I could do this…..should I turn back, we were only 20 minutes in? But my fierce competitor instincts kicked in and I bore down and focused. Krishna was not a man of many words and I totally didn’t mind as we continued up the never ending steps, with sweat dripping on each one I passed. At one point I heard foot steps behind me and a mother with her 7 year old and 4 year old sons passed us…..carrying groceries! Man did I feel like a wimp when this 4 year old was out pacing me. It turns out that the people in the hillside villages have to walk these steps to get anything they need in town. Some go twice a month while others may go a few times a week! The stairs soon turned into a pathway and we made our way through remote villages consisting of a few houses each with 1-3 goats, water buffalo and chickens. Kids would see me from a distance and come running to great me by saying hello or namaste. The children in Nepal stole my heart, they were so adorable, I could’ve taken each and everyone home with me. When they greet you, they put their hands together as if they are praying and then give a little bow and say “namaste”, that is their equivalent of waving. I took a ton of pictures of the children and will upload them in future post. Even though the uphill trek was tough the views were insanely beautiful, I can’t believe a place this gorgeous exists in the world. The final 40 minutes was almost unbearable, we weren’t on stairs but the trail was uneaven and rocky on a pretty steep incline. Krishna’s pace was so fast, if I paused for 3 seconds I fell a good 20 paces behind him. I was so confused, I really thought I was in shape but I could not keep up with this man. Like a 5 year old child I was asking every 6 mintues “how much longer”, “are we almost there yet?”. I didn’t know how much longer I could do this. And then out of no where we came across the most spectacular views that would blow your mind and I would forget about the pain. We finally arrived at the “homestay” that we were staying at and I glanced at my watch and noticed that it was 3:30pm. I remembered that we had started at 12:30 and I asked Krishna if this was our final destination or if we were continuing because I was told that it would take 5 hours. He looked at me with a big grin on his face and responded, “you very strong so we go faster than normal today”. No wonder I was dying! We did a 5-hour uphill hike in 3 hours!!
You may be wondering what a “homestay” is and its a form of lodging in other countries. It’s usually a level below a hotel but above a hostel. I walked into my private room and it was primitive. No shampoo, no soap, no towel, no toilette paper!!! “Ok so I guess no shower for me tonight”! But thats not what you come trekking for, its for the views and the sight of the Anapurna mountain range from my homestay looked like an enhanced instagram photo. As the sun began to set, it got pretty cold but I didn’t want to go inside so I sat out there for 2 more hours just taking it all in sipping on a cup of nepalese tea. I was the only guest at the homestay so I went to have dinner in the dining hall with the family that owned it and my guide. The owners had 3 children but I noticed there was another boy amongst them helping to prepare the fire and cut food for our dinner. I asked Krishna about him and he said his name was Milon and is from a very poor village far away. He works there instead of going to school to send money back to his family. It was heartbreaking to see this. He was painfully shy and couldn’t even make eye contact with me when I asked Krishna to translate what I wanted to say to him.
I got back to my room that night and felt incredibly guilty as I put my skincare products on. Here I had grabbed “the cheapest” La Prairie eye cream I had on me for this overnight trek and the price of it probably could’ve fed Milon’s family for 5 months. It’s experiences like this that really put life into perspective and make you realize what truly is important in life.