Trekking

The Nepal Himalaya

The morning after completing our trek, the clapping sound of our transport echoed through the Nepal Himalaya as a blue and white helicopter appeared overhead. A dozen trekkers scrambled toward the craft as it settled onto the runway. Anxious foreigners, including a BBC camera crew, surrounded the transport; all hoping there would be an extra seat available. It seemed ironic that the same folks who had traveled great distances to encounter this out-of-the-way paradise were now desperate to be airlifted out, but of course they too had international flights to catch. Our group filled the chopper as it rose above the parka-clad trekkers. The thrill of the flight three days earlier was an experience not easily duplicated, but here we were moving through the Kali Gandaki Valley in slow motion, practically hovering among the world’s tallest peaks. Having reversed our direction, we now viewed the awesome Annapurna Range through the craft’s transparent oval. If time could be suspended, I wished it would happen in the presence of these immense gods. Like great white-haired wizards, the gentle giants had lived for eons, the sedimentary strata of their bodies were yardsticks to measure time itself. Silent observers of the cycles of evolution. Serenity filled me as I gazed wide-eyed at our earth’s everlasting monuments.

If time could be suspended, I wished it would happen in the presence of these immense gods. Like great white-haired wizards, the gentle giants had lived for eons, the sedimentary strata of their bodies were yardsticks to measure time itself.

Fewa Lake, at the heart of Pokhara valley, came into view as we cleared a ridge decorated with blue-roofed cottages. Altitudes and seasons changed in the course of our flight. Alpine blossoms soaked up the brilliant sunlight and villagers toiled in the fields as we floated into the emerald valley. As the helicopter settled onto the tarmac, I felt like a child returning from an enchanted land where snow peaks are deities and their inhabitants, devout servants. The view from the rooftop of the world had changed my vision forever. I understood now why the elite climbers of the world approached their profession with such reverence and passion.

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