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Trekking Nepal – Ghorepani to Tadapani – Day 3

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. —Buddha

 

To which I say to Buddha: Do I…really…have to?!?!

 

After climbing Poon Hill, and over breakfast, I ask Kaji if it might be possible to stay another night in Ghorepani.  Every muscle hurts.  He assures me we can stay.  No problem.  For a fleeting moment, I feel a great sense of relief.

 

View from the first hill.

View from the first hill.

 

My omelet tastes like mildew.  And yet I eat it.  I am that hungry.  I consider the wonderful nap I will have after breakfast.

 

Suddenly, the inner critic speaks up:

 

“Get off your lazy ass!” it says.

 

“But, I’m so tired.”

 

It continues, “You’re trekking in Nepal.  You’re only 44 years old.  What is your prob…ba….lem?  Why can’t you do it?  Everyone else can do it.”

 

Aren’t these inner critics delightful characters?

 

I cave to the horrible voice and suggest to Kaji that maybe we walk to the next town and call it a day.  He agrees.

 

Somewhere in space, the desperation of my message is lost in a vapor.

 

And thus begins the hardest day of hiking I have ever endured.

 

Even harder than this day on the Camino de Santiago.

 

As we hike out of Ghorepani, we encounter stairs.  Many of them.  Focusing on the positive, I appreciate the many rhododendron trees all around, most in full bud, ready to burst forth in what I can only imagine is a glorious show.

 

Blooming rhododendrons.

Blooming rhododendrons.

 

We walk to the top of a mountain and I observe Poon Hill in the distance.  I labor to breathe.

 

“Are you happy, inner critic?”

 

Soon we walk through a shady rhododendron forest with snow patches all around.  Black ice on the trail makes each step a challenge.

 

Ghorepani to Tadapani

Ghorepani to Tadapani

 

Yaks graze in the forest.  Pink primroses grow in shady spots.  Bamboo is abundant.

 

The scenery is spectacularly beautiful – like being inside a diorama carved out of ivory and jade.  Enormous cliffs rise above us, oozing all types of lush plant life.  A pristine river flows through.  Mossy boulders anchor small wooden foot bridges.

 

Walking downhill, my knees scream in pain, rendering me a slow, sideways-moving crab.  By the time we reach a teahouse for lunch, I am nearly immobile.  The guesthouse in this freezing-cold canyon is far from perfect but I am eager for a bed.

 

Kaji suggests we walk a bit further to a bigger village: Tadapani.

 

“How far?”, I ask with my head hung low.  “A little down and a little up” he replies.

 

Liar.

 

My pride at stake, I agree to continue.

 

Evidently, “a little down” means an hour of steep stone stairs.  My anger builds like a fireball in my stomach.  Who or what am I angry with?  Myself?  The universe?  The stairs?  My knees?  My lack of research which would have informed me of the difficulty I faced?

 

I want a way out.  But there is no way out except through suffering.  Sometimes hikes are such metaphors for life.

 

Arriving at the bottom of the canyon, Kaji shows me the path to Tadapani.  It’s “up there”.  Ahhh, I’ve heard that before.

 

We climb up.  I am as slow as molasses in winter.  Kaji, at age 60, seems no worse for wear.

 

An hour later we arrive in Tadapani.  It’s nearly sunset.  I have never been this exhausted in my life.

 

Strange special items?!

Strange special items in Tadapani

 

Clearly,  I am not a trekker.  I despise the toughness of it.  Why do people do this?  At that moment, I can’t find a reasonable answer.

 

After hiding in my room for an hour trying to recover, I wonder…“How am I going to get out of here?”  I ask Kaji how much a helicopter costs.  “$2000 US.”   I guess I’ll be walking.

 

Over dinner, I ask Kaji if we can stay an extra day in Tadapani so I can rest.  “Let’s see in the morning” he says.  “The next town is not so far.”

 

Famous last words.

 

Photos of the Trek: Ghorepani to Tadapani:

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