Dread of Descent, Hiking the Himalayan Foothills
Some people are smitten with the fear of flying. The opposite happened to me: On our trek into the Himalayan foothills I developed a bad case of what I call Dread of Descent, (which quickly trashed the notion I’d been toying with, of a far distant past as a hardy Sherpa or a peerless first ascender).
On the map, our do-it-yourself foray into the Annapurna Conservation Area looked like PEANUTS – a few negligible blue centimeters, on the edge of a vast, awe-inspiring mountain arena
Not until we actually started walking
to Pothana, to the Mardi Himal Low Camp at modest 3000m a.s.l.
There’s an immediacy to hiking for hours on end that weeds out distractions and magnifies the moment. And there were many good moments on the Mardi Himal Trail. The days quickly took on an almost meditative simplicity between walking, eating (fern-shoot curry revelation)
and just letting life unfold. In the late afternoons, we’d watch the billowing clouds and then the rain, gusting down from the giant mountains hidden in the fog. In the dripping silence between rumbling thunder, listening to a Chinese guy with owl-sized glasses and a guitar, croon the tenderest version of Tequila Sunrise I’ve ever heard, seemed like the most natural thing in the world.
She is one of the many Nepali who work and play in these unrelentingly steep hills