After a long afternoon of trekking, we finally reached our destination: the settlement of Suile.
To call Suile a “village” would be a little misleading, as it seemed to be no more than a number of farms perched on a hill, with, as far as I could tell, only a singular trekking lodge. Most people, Anker said, either stopped earlier in the day, or stretched on to the major village of Chhomrong.
After 11 hours of trekking, I was happy Anker wasn’t making us stretch on. If he’d told me stopping a few hours earlier was an option, I might have lost the will to keep on. The final steps into Suile had been pure torture. In the end though, I’m glad Anker hadn’t suggested either option, because Suile ended up being a place I will remember for the rest of my life.
[This is a guest post from Shawn Wall, my errant climbing partner. Shawn left Colorado to do some travel after graduating university at the end of 2015, and he never came home. He now lives in Budapest, Hungary, with his girlfriend. I spent a month visiting them in October 2016. I asked him to write a little bit on his experiences living as an expat in a foreign country.
You can find his personal travel blog, The WanderinGinger, at http://wanderingingertravels.blogspot.com/]
February 22, 2017.
Today marks three years since when I first ran away from home to a magical place called New Zealand. I wanted to escape the troubles of day to day life and just be free from everything. So I left. I was running away from death, pain, sadness, confusion and everything that I knew and called home. At least, that is what I thought I was doing. Parts of that may be true, I was running away, but whenever you run away you run towards something else. I was running straight towards a whole new path of life.
I returned to the common room inside Hotel Snowland. It was still cold.
People had pitched in to turn on the heater, but it wasn’t doing a whole lot of good yet. “It takes a while to get warm,” the guides and porters assured us, but as the evening stretched on, it seemed we would have done just as well burning our money.
I awoke late. My restless night hadn’t afforded me much chance for good sleep, so when I’d finally drifted off to sleep, mortified, I hadn’t wanted to wake up.
A perfect sunbeam from the bedside window hit me square in the face, and my memory of last night came rushing back to me. It was far too vivid to have been a dream. I opened my eyes and glanced out the window.
It was an amazing bluebird morning, only small wisps of clouds to be seen. The sky was an almost ethereal blue color: so perfect it almost didn’t seem real. Behind the nearby mountains, a huge snow-capped peak showed its face. I sat up and stared in wonder. Although only a tiny portion was visible, the mountain looked like nothing I’d ever seen before.
That’s what I came here for, I thought.
“Slowly, slowly,” our guide says as we leave lunch behind, and step back on to the trail.
He doesn’t tell us this, but we still have 1,000 meters of vertical to gain today. On Day 1 of our trek. Of course, if he’d told us this—and if we understood what it entailed—we probably would have turned around and hailed the nearest taxi back to Pokhara.
Our guide was a pro though. He knew all he had to say was “slowly, slowly.” We didn’t need to know the struggles that lay ahead of us, We could overcome them, but if we spent too much time thinking about their magnitude, we would surely convince ourselves that it was impossible.