I’m up on the roof now, 530 am. I got here just as the sky started to lighten. The mountains are dark, but you can’t miss their shapes against the sky. The exceptions are Annapurna South, Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri — their snowy east faces already glow white though no direct sunlight is hitting them yet. Noisy birds, a few barking dogs, the occasional car and the sounds of tourists leaving their hotel across the street are the sounds of the waking city.
While I watch, I’m going to write about my new plan for the next couple of weeks. I’ve decided against doing my planned trek. There are a few reasons, though yesterday’s experience tipped the scale. The time I spent at the home base of the Mountain Fund upon arrival in Kathmandu gave me a chance to talk to Scott there about what they do, and I like it. As my last trip here was supposed to be about helping people but turned into tourism with a side of religion-changing attempts, I’m aware of NGOs and volunteers often being well intentioned but miserable failures. I get a more positive impression about the Mountain Fund and their current village project in particular. I had been thinking I’d donate when I got home and possibly plan another trip here if I could be helpful to them and not simply a burden as a short-termer who needed to be entertained, supported, trained and cared for.
The trek, further, was a good idea, but my pushing the envelope a little by tent camping off the teahouse circuit would do that for me alone. It’s been done, there’s a book of photos of my planned side trip sitting on my coffee table, and my going ahead with it would serve only to give me a thrill. That’s fine; it’s just not necessary. The indulgence of this trip is that it’s all for me.
At the same time, the plan was hard. I like to push myself, and trekking alone would do that. It did even yesterday on the warmup hike I can feel in my tight leg muscles this morning. Wondering at every turn which side of the river I should be on and where to stop for the night, negotiating a new hotel room every night, then finding my way to and up a little-used trail, then down another and back to civilization, through steep jungle at the lower elevations — this things would test me. I can’t say this didn’t cause part of my decision, even though I like the accomplishment of facing successfully such a challenge.
So, with these thoughts in my head, I decided to ask if I’d be of help with the Mountain Fund farm project. They have a lot of work to do there, including ongoing construction of the housing planned for the women who will live there. I’m going to spend my planned rest day in Pokhara today, then leave tomorrow on the bus to Kathmandu, getting off it an hour and a half before Kathmandu to spend the next week or two at the village. More details to follow as I get there and see it for myself.
The tops of the mountains are now touched with pink light from the sun, which is still below the horizon here. I’m always the only one up here. Apologies for the poor composure of the shots below, but I had to aim high to get the light right so you can see the glow.