Treking the Himalayas in Nepal with Away Inward Retreats

We began our trip on October 14, 2013. That morning we woke up at the Blue Horizon hotel in Thamel and went right into a 7:00am yoga practice. After traveling so many hours it is important to get the body, breath and energy moving. I opened the class with the sacred sound of Om and then we began to move our creaky bodies. At the end of practice I looked over my students peacefully resting in savasana and saw a very big dark cloud creeping toward us. The blue sunny sky was disappearing.

We got news that the massive cyclone Phailin approached India’s East coast. Sadly, many people were lost, property and land destroyed and thousands fled North for safety. Normally October is the best time of year for trekking. However, the storm pushed all the way up to where our poor souls rested in Nepal just moments before we embarked on our trek. But we forged on.

We boarded our domestic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, jumped in our van and headed up the windy road to the start of our trek. By this time it was pouring. Our enthusiasm slide low beneath our seats. I could hear the expectations of my group pop like an inflated balloon. Yet, we all knew what we must do. Carry on.

Each one of us had come so far for this trekking experience and we were not going to be deterred by rain so we geared up and hit the trail. We trecked the lower portion of the Annapurna South, called the Pune Hill panorama loop. It was a relatively easy 4 nights 5 day trek with spectacular views of the snow caps of Annapurana and Machupuchre. We walked and climbed our way through the beauty and magnificence of jungle wildlife and greenery. Visited Ghorepani, Tadapani, and Ghandruk. Because of the rain each person was more internal and contemplative, truly going inward, listening to our own thoughts. We were able to witness the lives of those who lived on the side of that mountain, feel for them, enjoy their smiles and waves and feel our human bond.

Each day we arrived at the lodge drenched. Trekkers lined the fire ovens to warm up and dry off.  Well, everyone else was drenched but me. I have been in monsoon weather before and I know that the only way to stay dry is with an umbrella. My partner, Ryan, chuckled at the idea of me carrying an umbrella but I was the one laughing when everyone else was dripping from their noses while my head stayed dry!

We did have a few moments of grace when the sky parted and allowed us brief yet epic views of Annapurna and Machupuchre. It was like the gods shined down on us giving us the gift of sight and vision that we all longed for.

It made all the struggle, cold and wetness worth it. The rain also made the rivers, waterfalls and streams abundant and alive. They roared through the canyons and reminded us how small we are.

The funniest moment was when the earth became so muddy that there was no other way to get down the mountain then to slide down. Often on our butts. Our shoes were delicious with mud! We were deep in the roots of the earth with the dark, wet, soil and the roots of the trees surrounded by thick muddy water. It was completely raw and real. I am truly grateful for the experience.

One of our guests summed up why we continue to guide these wild and wacky yet completely transformational retreats. After it was all said and done and the skies had cleared and we were back down to lower elevations she said, “This trek showed me that I am a lot stronger then I think I am and I CAN do it.”


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Nianna BrayComment