Bea goes to India 2006

A place to house periodic comments from Bea while she backpacks her way through India and Nepal.

Friday, April 14, 2006

partial trek summary; what I sent for VentureCo web site

Yesterday we returned to Darjeeling after our "warm-up" trekking experience. "warm" wasn't always a part of our experience, but it certainly was a learning opportunity -- it helped each of us to realize what we already knew and what needs to be different for the longer Everest Base Camp trek. {For me, that means a better sleeping bag, because I froze, even with all of my clothes on and my coat on top of the bag!!! }

Sikkim is a lovely part of the world -- in the lower elevations, we saw a variety of flowers, wild strawberries, magnolia and rhododendron trees in bloom. As we went higher, there were still smaller alpine flowers and rhododendron bushes that were not yet in bloom [our guide said about a month later]. We traveled to a view point where we were able to see the 3rd highest peak of the world in the distance

One of the days we were acclimatizing to the altitude, we gathered in the dining tent to be sociable... rather than playing cards, we decided to define our own board game, based on our adventure so far. Several hours of happy reminiscing resulted in a set of experiences that could be along a path that game pieces could navigate. Neil drew the graphics and carved a small potato as our die [6 came up more often than one would expect, especially when Rich rolled!]

Some of the squares that we could land on:
-- too relaxed from yoga, lose a turn
-- toilet/toilet tent -- return to Cipro square for a course of antibiotics
-- food risk [roll again, evens advance those additional squares, odds sends you to the Cipro square]
-- got a flat tire, go directly to the school -- how to turn a typically-unpleasant experience into a bonus
-- saw a tiger, advance to the end of the Bandhavgarh section
-- did NOT see a tiger, return to beginning of the Bandhavgarh section
-- team leader, swap places with the person who is farthest along

What did we learn from this? It is amazing to us that our time in India has been so full and so varied, and we were able to see and learn so much. We realize that we can focus on the positive aspects of the experience that we want to remember, and minimize the rest... PMA -- Positive Mental Attitude. It makes even the difficult things bearable.

Andy prepared us very well for trekking. We've had day treks on weekends and whenever they could be fit into the schedule. This allowed us to get used to walking over a variety of terrain and also helped us think about what we would need readily accessible in our packs.

We were spoiled by a well-prepared support team, often tea and coffee as our wake-up call, and a variety of hot meals. The heavier gear was carried by horses, and we also shared the trail with yaks and porters who RUN up and down with baskets on their backs, often in flip-flops -- they certainly put us to shame in the fitness department!

I personally have some vivid memories from the trek. I'll try to share some of them here, although words seem a bit inadequate:
-- Sunrise over the Himalayas is a singular pleasure -- something that made me thrilled each time I was lucky enough to experience it. Sometimes we had a clear morning, then the clouds would roll in and obscure the peaks -- that made the early-morning wake up even more distinct.
-- Returning to camp seeing the tents as tiny little specks in the distance -- the sheer scale of the place and realizing how small and humble we are in comparison.
-- How quickly the weather changes -- clouds roll in and envelop you with fog, then leave again while you are concentrating on the trail in front of you.
-- How poor a camera is at capturing a scene. Our eyes and our noses and our skin all help us to SEE a scene, feel it and smell it -- the photograph often pales in comparison.
-- How much simple kindnesses between teams and crews can improve a day and a trip.
-- How little is really needed to live, and to live relatively comfortably... our lives get cluttered with so much stuff -- when you have to pack it on your back for hours at a time, you definitely prioritize to the bare necessities!

I'll attach a photo from Alex of the group at the view point.

Bea, on behalf of Himalaya Venture Team 21