I got an email from Professor Ananta Gajurel. “Congratulations! You have been selected as one of the participants in the geological field work of Khumbu area, Solukhumbu.” This made me excited as I had always dreamt of visiting Sagarmatha National Park and reaching beyond 4000 meters. My friend Sanjeeta Pandit, with whom I had planned for Bunjee Jump, too got selected. Though we could not make Bunjee Jump together, we were lucky to be in mountains together.
Academically, it was a great opportunity to us to observe the Higher Himalayas of the eastern Nepal.
The field work was scheduled for eleven days, from December 06-16, 2017. Professor Mary Hubbard form Montana State University along with Professor Ananta Gajurel from Tri-Chandra Campus led the fieldwork. The group was joined by Professor Dick Marston, Bryce, Davis, Jobie and Neil. Kumar and Gopal Dai took the responsibility of guiding us from Kathmandu to Chola in Khumbu region.
This travel is something I would crave for throughout my life and it has helped to explore life in many ways.
Experiencing adventure ~ Lukla airport landing
Our journey began with a huge excitement as we were landing in the world’s most adventurous airport, Lukla. The take off from Kathmandu was easy. The mountains around us and hills below were gorgeous. As we approached the destination, the wind was strong and the plane started being bumpy. It was normal to well experienced pilots. Sanjeeta and I sat together holding each other’s hand. We were quite nervous but we knew to see the glory of those magnificent mountains, we need to go through these adventures. We landed on the winter heaven Lukla after 30 minutes of thrilling flight.
The other side of happiness
Travel offers you small tablets filled with happiness each day. You know, you actually see yourself enjoying in little things. On the first day, we planned to reach Phakding (2640 m) and then Munjo (2825 m) on the second day. We saw no vehicles except the yaks and horses. We had to walk up with our bag packs doing our geology job. The topography would change but something that remained constant throughout was the happiness within those small streets and trails. We would see little kids walking easy in those wavy trails. The porters carrying weights of more than hundred kilos and climbing upward made us realize that our journey or walking wasn’t difficult as compared to theirs. They are the real heroes.
It was a huge transformation of life for a while. Isn’t it amazing to be in mountains from a city?
The third day of the trip, for me, was the hardest. The steep up-hill to Namche Bazar (3440m) from Munjo was tiresome. But I knew there was a beautiful place waiting for me and I had to walk anyway. Sanjeeta and I would walk few steps and see upwards. We would then rest and again repeat the same. Gopal dai smiled as he said, “Never look to the peak while you are walking. Just see the way in front of you and keep walking.”
Professor Marston had an injury during walk to Munjo but he took challenge of reaching up to Namche. He taught me that life is all about taking challenges and moving ahead.
Mountains reveal the secrets
The view of Namche was breathtaking. It was beautiful bazaar. The Manes on the bends of streets keep reflecting the positive vibes. You feel like you need to live there forever. We moved to Phortse on the fourth day. As we moved, mountains started becoming wider and nearer to us. We would see Thama Sherku, Aba Dablam, Everest and many others. The snow was so white that we would not be able to keep starting at it.
“Mountains are mysteries in themselves. They are a box filled with secrets of the valleys, rivers and the entire civilization. They have been standing there for a long time and they have seen everything in front of them.”
I talked to myself as I kept gazing Amadablam.
You search for home everywhere you go
We stayed in Phortse (3800 m) for two days. We rarely had time to think of anything else during our fieldwork. We would walk all day discussing the geology. I, personally, kept capturing and observing the landslides. Within, I kept missing home and feeling cold. I kept searching home everywhere I stayed. But, I knew I will be taking many things from the mountain to my home. So, I tried to live every of those moments.
Friends are for life
Sanjeeta and I had decided to reach Chola together and if any of us feels uncomfortable, we both would return back. After leaving Phortse, we stayed a night at Pheriche. Next day, the plan was to reach Chola and return back to Pheriche on the same day. The temperature was around 0 Celcius and there was strong wind. We both reached till above Dughla (~5000 m) and came back together. Few of our team members made upto Chola and few of us returned back in between.
Shila, Sharmila, Rabina and Arishma kept calling us. The chats would make our day. Sometimes, you need a friend to share your feelings and no one else would work. That’s why friends are for life.
You find opportunities
Pheriche (4243 m) was our last spot and then we started descending. We spent a night in Tengboche. For the first time, I got an opportunity to witness the evening Puja in monastery. The next day we climbed down to Namche and spent a night. Professor Marston added colors to our field managing a helicopter ride for us (Bryce, Sanjeeta and me). I remember Mount Everest standing right in of me. The ride is the most memorable part of my journey to Khumbu. I must say, I could not unfold the mysteries of mountains around me but I collected a lot more questions regarding those standing features. After forty minutes of ride, we landed Lukla and waited the next to be at Kathmandu.
I miss walking in the mountains. I miss the air, the trails and sounds of rivers. I miss the struggle I made to take a step and joy I had when I reached the destination.
~I am grateful to Professor Ananta and Mary for giving me this opportunity. I am thankful to entire team.
January 30, 2018