Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another life-changing adventure!

從我的 iPhone 傳送

寄件人: "Jet Airways eTicket"
日期: 2012年12月1日格林尼治标准时间+080010时25分23秒
收件人: ---
標題: Jet Airways Web Booking eTicket ( CGBQVU ) - Hankins

The long and short of the message above is Yessi and I have reservations to fly to Nepal to hike the Annapurna Circuit.  My passion to see the Himalayas is too strong to resist and having delightful Yessi as a traveling companion will make the trek especially meaningful.

The Annapurna Circuit is a 300 kilometre trek in Nepal around the Annapurna mountain range in the Himalayas.  We will get to see the amazing mountain scenery up close and personal including Annapurna 8091 metres, and the stunning ice pyramid Dhauligiri 8,167 metres.

John Hayes photo

With paths ascending from 900 metres to 5,300 metres we will encounter a wide range of climate zones and see many different animals, plants, and a variety of ways of life of the many people who live there.  Tea houses, a rural guest house developed for trekkers, provide rustic accommodations and inexpensive food.  Some are said to even have ensuite toilets.

Tea House at Jagat
John Hayes photo

Any trek has a spiritual element, but the spiritual component is especially strong in Napal. The path we will follow is the ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet.  Today Tibetan Mahayana BuddhismHinduism and Bon religions coexist and along the way there are many pilgrimage sites. The most common outward sign of this is the prayer flag with its strong symbolism and tradition.  The flags are hung to promote compassion, peace, wisdom and strength.  The Tibetans believe the prayers  will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all nearby space. Prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.

On my home island of Whidbey in Washington, USA, the Tibetan Buddhism tradition is strong.  One such example is Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Freeland. As a result of this spiritual influence, prayer flags wave beautifully and freely from many garden trees, fences, porches and tall poles on Whidbey Island.

Prayer flags in the Qilian Mountains, China
Wikimedia Commons photo

As excited as I get about the mountains, architecture, geography, and food,  plus my exhilaration from the outdoor experience, that's not the whole story.  Instead, if I think about the experiences that are most cherished, the stories I'm likely to recall when the trip is long over, it involves the people I meet along the way.  The wonderful Kiwis in New Zealand, Yessi's awesome family in China, the trail angels on the Pacific Crest Trail, the fabulous shop owners at the Banff Hotel in Canada, the charming Mexican families serving us fish tacos at the road side stands in Baja, and the world wide fellow trampers I meet on the trail. 

Most of these connections emerge unplanned and unscripted. They happen spontaneously. It’s not about scheduling time into my travel schedule to “meet people”, but about availing myself of the opportunities.  I try to stay open to "the hint" that these encounters might happen.

Life, including thru-hiking, visiting homes in far away places, experiencing local food and culture is a human exercise.  On the Annapurna Circuit, I hope to meet wonderful people as I have in my other travels.  I hope to meet people as varied as the photographs of these beautiful Himalayan people.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great website, so many people need this information, thanks for providing it.

    Bryce Restaurant