Hike Nepal 2024 – 22nd May & We’re Going Down for the First Time

So the promise was that once we’ve done the first day, every other day is easier. However no-one told us that going down, for 10 kilometres of stairs, hurt like your legs were being removed from the knee with two pairs of kitchen tongs.

By now we had also worked out that Binod regularly lied, and had to be specific about what we were asking. For example, “is it 5 hours at our pace or a regular person’s pace?”, or “by easier do you mean 10.5hrs of walking compared to 11hrs? or just 5hrs?”

We knew we were going down today. It was supposed to be easier. We thought downhill was easier.

We did what took us three days to climb in one day down. Now we all know gravity exists, but what you may never have thought about is that we accelerate with gravity 1.8m per second squared, every time we lower ourselves down a step. Every step. This means our joints and muscles are absorbing anywhere between 1.3 and 11x times our bodyweight. Every step. Admittedly, you’d be unlikely to be at the 11x your bodyweight end of the scale unless you’re Usain Bolt sprinting down a hill, but we were all carrying extra weight. So i weight about 65kg. I was carrying about 8kg. Even if I was only absorbing 1.3 x my weight, that’s a 94.9kg single leg press every time I landed. For 10km straight. I don’t know how to train for that except to train for that, and I did not train for that so it hurt!!

By now Jen was feeling much better, and could stomach potatoes and porridge, but she was still a little off. As we wandered along Jen wondered out loud “do I even like hiking? what am I doing here?”. This from the woman who moved from Manly to the Blue Mountains for more hiking. Who has done more IntoYou adventures than anyone else. I had to have a chuckle – here’s how we know someone’s at half-mast!

There was a little action in our hind-quarters today, with Jitentra rescuing a baby yak. It was stuck in the river with it’s mum standing on the other side. Jitendra waded in and picked the little calf up, crossed the river and deposited it beside it’s mother. Both creatures were remarkably passive about the whole affair, and everyone came out of it well!

It was on the interminable way down that Helen let slip that it was her birthday on the 25th. Now, having made such a fuss over Karla (thanks mostly to the IntoYou trainers who had the foresight to plan ahead), we weren’t about to let this even pass us by without another hullaballoo. Unfortunately, Helen’s pace was often the same as mine, and I just couldn’t shake her off. Whenever she got ahead they had a break. Whenever she dropped behind Maia saw a flower or a rock and we had to stop. Plus, the further down we got, the fewer the shopping opportunities, and I knew exactly what she wanted: one more bead bracelet. I also knew she liked the colour teal and it’s variations, but where do I get something like this in the middle of nowhere??

Bringing building materials up the mountain

About then, Liama decided she needed a loo – and it was then that i knew exactly what we would do. Liama had to hold on until we got to the town before our accommodation. This was a biggish town (still no road access, so biggish in relation to other mountain towns where everything they have comes up on the back of a man or mule) and had toilets. It also had ONE shop. As our crew walked past, I waved them onwards with “we’re not stopping, I’m just waiting for Liama to use the loo”. In this shop I could choose ONE kind of bracelet (not beaded) in TWO colours (neither of them teal).

I’ll take it.

By the time Liama had finished I was all wrapped up and smug, and we walked the last kilometre together.

Bir, our single, one man porter, was walking with us this day. He had made a walking stick out of bamboo for Maia earlier (just whipped a saw and multitool out of his backpack… kind of reminded me of Jen!!). He pointed out men walking up the mountains towards Langtang with western toilets on their backs (after 10yrs they’re still rebuilding Langtang, and Westerners don’t like using their thigh muscles to squat apparently!). He also spotted the monkey in the tree first, which captivated Liama, Maia, and I for several minutes!

We eventually made our way to some very basic accommodations. However, it was also one of the few that still had hot water at the end of the day! Tracy T managed to wash her hair and most of us got a steaming hot shower that day. Tracey H was put to work braiding everyone’s hair afterwards, and paper-walls and leaning-over-a-cliff common room not withstanding, it was a pleasant afternoon!

The common room that leaned over a cliff face…

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Leanne and Liama

I didn’t know Liama and Leanne terribly well before this trip. Leanne was my physio, and I used to go to Liama’s yoga studio in DY before she moved to Kiama. To me, they were professional, smart, and ambitious people, and when I saw them in their workplaces, I didn’t think much beyond my own pain and practice. These two are sisters, and took the opportunity to travel to Nepal for some powerful reasons. If I thought they were pretty great before, then my esteem grew 100x in this two week adventure, as they filled me in on their reasons for being here.

Before I start, a warning. Their story includes personal experience of child abuse. While I don’t go in to specifics, if you think you may be triggered you may want to stop reading here.

Leanne (left) and Liama in the taxi after having been blessed by a Hindu Swami in Kathmandu

Leanne

Ten years ago, Leanne told her husband that she’d like to go to Nepal to find peace. He told her to find peace here first, and then go to Nepal. This trip was Leanne’s gift to herself, after a brutal couple of years battling both breast cancer and her childhood abuser. The timing just worked.

Leanne knew she had to find peace within herself, but while she was here she realised she had to let go of the day to day. To truly be peaceful, she couldn’t hold on to anything, and ultimately it seems to be what has set her free. Today she can say that she’s proud to have clawed her way out of an abusive upbringing, and come out the other side as a strong and capable women. She’s proud that she’s breaking the cycle, bringing up two girls in a loving and dependable family unit. While Leanne hasn’t let the past define her, she has used it to define her future.

Liama

Liama grew up in the same household as Leanne, and as such has experienced much of the same things. However, Leanne didn’t remember the abuse until she was in her 40’s, and Liama has remembered her whole life; spending a large portion of it thinking it was only her that was abused. She came on this trip as a means of letting go of the past. It gave her something to focus on when the going got tough last year, and the training was brilliant to help her get out of the house and put her body and mind towards a positive purpose.

Completing this trip is a way of proving to herself that she can do anything. Liama has been plagued by self doubt her whole life, and coming through this journey was really, really important. I think she proved it ten-fold! Just walking in the Himalayas is hard. You can go up for days and thousands of meters in a row. Liama did it sick (she was one of the unfortunates that struggled through the first couple of days). She’s shown us that despite surviving the worst things that a child, or adult, can go through, that redemption and rehabilitation is possible.

This journey is a turning point, from a negative mindset to a strong, resilient, and capable one. We will see her do more amazing things I am sure!

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