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Transition to Everest Base Camp – 19 days of paradise and wonders

Transition to Everest Base Camp – 19 days of paradise and wonders

When you’re in Nepal, you can’t help but be completely captivated by the stark contrasts, beauty and rich culture of the people living on the edge of paradise.

Sherpas live their daily lives in villages nestled against towering jagged peaks, hiking trails lined with Mani stones delicately etched with Tibetan Buddhist prayers.

It is clear that these people live lives intertwined with spirit and have an immeasurable connection to the land. A spiritual connection with the great mountain giants they call home.

High in these beautiful mountains, you’ll find colorful, ornate monasteries nestled among the rocky valleys of the hills. Prayer flags fluttering in the breeze from the Stupas, or rock prayer mounds you will encounter in every village that the Sherpas pay homage to as they go about their peaceful existence.

I have been fortunate enough to experience both the physical and ethereal nature of the Himalayas, both of which leave an indelible imprint on your mind and spirit.

As we approach the first stupa of our journey, our guide explains the cultural significance of these impressive formations. He takes the time to enlighten us on the practice of walking the circumference of each in a counter-clockwise direction, a Himalayan protocol, if you will, embedded in the Nepalese Buddhist tradition.

We watch dancing children, smiling heads and shoulders bobbing among their beloved and hardy animals at Namche Bazaar, another stopover destination on our way to Everest Base Camp. Here we stay while we acclimatize to the altitude and enjoy some Nepali hospitality.

Most people who have seen images of trekking trails in the Himalayas know that the people of the mountain areas have for centuries considered the woolly yak as a source of food and transport among many other things. This is the cliche of Himalayan wildlife because it is so often mentioned in books and images about Tibet and Nepal.

However, the yaks are not the most intriguing mammal that sticks in my memory, but rather the Argali sheep. Their over-proportioned horns remind me of something you’d see in a Greek mythology book! There are also many monkeys, cats, lizards and the peacock-like national bird; danfe. It’s definitely not the average dog, cat or squirrel you’ll see at home.

The beautiful rhododendron forests that bloom at this time of year in March are bright red and green, in contrast to the gray, rocky and seemingly barren mountain peaks covered with snow. Amongst the landscape, if you look carefully, we can see mountain animals dotting the ridges of the hill.

As we make our way through open valleys, through deep river gorges and up rocky mountain paths, we are rewarded with mesmerizing views of the Himalayas.

It’s easy to forget the sense of accomplishment you feel in the moment when your senses are so full and alive with the tastes, sounds, sights, smells and total immersion in a world so different from the norm.

I loved the rural atmosphere, the hustle and bustle but with a sense of balance and harmony, unlike the chaotic feel of big cities in our everyday western culture.

Being here is a constant reminder to live in the present moment and appreciate all the little bits of beauty we pass by without a second thought.

A flower you’ve never seen before in its natural habitat may capture your interest, but a daisy in your garden at home is so easily overlooked.

Traveling to places where nothing is familiar provokes your senses and triggers your nervous system beyond its programming in a state of full consciousness. It’s exhilarating and more than a little addictive!

Trekking through the Himalayas is definitely one of those adventures where you come home feeling like something in your mind has shifted. I’m not sure if it’s the sheer physical beauty of the mountains and environment, or if it’s the spiritual nature of the land and its people that stay with you – maybe both.

Either way, the experience remains with me as a dear memory and a reminder of what is truly important in life.

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