Here I lay, watching HBO 12 hours before my trek begins. Outside my window Machhupuchhre rises shrouded in clouds beyond the hills, and in about 6 days I’ll be at its basecamp. The city of Pokhara, the second largest in Nepal and considered by some as the most beautiful place on God’s green earth (according to wikipedia), is much more peaceful than big brother Kathmandu.
The city hugs the lake of Phewa Tal and is cradled by layered hills covered in pines. On a hill across the lake a temple rests serenely above the quiet ripples dotted with windblown boats. As the sun sinks behind the clouds, rays of light break through and cast shimmering reflections of dancing gold on the water, causing me to stop mid-stride and sit on the nearest rock, breathing deep the beauty of the light-tinged tableau.
And though I am in the foothills of the Himalayas, the temperatures are hot during the day, reaching the mid-eighties. (And here I was expecting snow and hoping beyond hope that I was going to be able to wear my evidently overzealous Yak jacket). Apparently there isn’t even snow at the Annapurna Base Camp this time of year, which is the highest elevation I will deign to reach at 4130 meters.
Obviously, I’m a little obsessed with the yak. (I bought a beanie and scarf today in my attempt to gear up, both yak wool). And I’m looking into a saddle in case I stumble upon one of those noble beasts on the high road and need a lift.
But enough about yaks, I’m in love with the place. It gives my restless soul a taste of contentment I had a hard time finding in cities like Delhi, where the heat and humanity were overwhelming.
But soon, thousands of meters into the earth-rent peaks and sharp-blue sky, I’ll sit and look and ponder as always, knowing full well the answers to life’s little mysteries aren’t there in the stratified air, it’s just another stop along the wanderous way to finding them within.