Stanford Nepal Medical Project 2018 Pikey Peak Camping Trek
27 June 2018 Trek from Bhandar to Namkheli
Today’s trek was from Bhandar to Namkheli, the last leg of the trek with a downhill portion until we summit Pikey Peak.
We started the day with a windy downhill, past newly built roads and reconstructed homes— there are overhanging portions of road that offer a glimpse of many of the changes that this area of rural Nepal has undergone in the last few years: satellite dishes dot roofs where but a few years ago, roads by these buildings did not exist; our sherpa guides take breaks with us by taking photos and making calls where cellphone reception would have been a dream; power lines draw connections between tiny villages so that every one of our stops has basic electricity. On one hand this development takes the edge-of-the-world-seeking part of me by surprise, on the other, I’m happy to see that these people have built and rebuilt — now have greater access to electricity, emergency services, and their nearby communities. I wasn’t expecting this much development when signing on for this trip, nor was I expecting how far and wide (and high) communities would exist. It is amazing how seemingly easily people flow among the towns we’ve passed through, people of every age routinely passing us in every direction wearing flip flops, carrying 30kg weights, or leading livestock back home.
I know so little about this place, but I’m slowly learning more. Our gracious guides have taught us “dondevat” (thank you) and a few other Nepali words each day. I find myself repeating the word in my head throughout the day. I’m grateful for the graciousness our guides and hosts have shown to us. Many of the buildings in this part of Nepal have the same bright blue roofs. I’ve really grown fond of the color, which reminds me of every community we’ve thus far passed through, and every new one I am excited to meet.
The uphill portion, a 900m climb from the lowest portion of the day’s hike, is hot with the occasional cloud offering relief (at this altitude the clouds offer relief from the sun by passing through you instead of above you). These hikes are hard, the hardest I’ve ever done. They’re physically rewarding, but more exciting for whom, rather than where, they bring us to.From here til Pikey it’s “up up up”, our Sherpa guides tell us.