For the past few weeks SBM Editor Erika Klimecky has been on an exciting journey in Nepal atop the Everest Highway. This is her second trip to Nepal and, as a staff, we’re happy to share some of her reports from the trail with SBM readers.
It’s obvious when you hear Erika talk about her first experience in Nepal that the landscape, culture and people there have commandeered a very special corner of her heart and it’s no wonder that she jumped on the opportunity to return. This time around, she has been engaged in volunteer work in remote village schools, setting up infrastructure and technology, like laptops and kindles. She’s also taken part in sanitation efforts. Small areas like Tapting don’t have public trash cans on the street and no public employees to remove the trash. This is an obvious problem and would be even worse if volunteers didn’t pitch in to help.
The next leg of her trip was trekking from this remote area up to the beginning of the Everest Highway. Her team accomplished this successfully and even encountered some familiar faces along the way.
A few days ago Erika was trekking along the highway between Phakding and Lukla when a familiar face caught her eye, which surprised her and left her with an unbelievable happiness.
Erika writes on her blog periodically and fills her readers in on this moment. She writes, “I pause and look into his sun-drenched, beaming face as he removes his sunglasses. “I am Lakpa,” he continues, to fill me in. I immediately recognize him as one of the climbers I met at Seattle’s Losar (Sherpa New Year’s Celebration) in February. He lives in Seattle and is the sponsored athlete for Seattle-based Sherpa Adventure Gear. I greeted him warmly and spent several moments in shock that he remembered me and recognized me way over here on the Everest Highway.”
This chance encounter in a distant place is remarkable. Still, we all tend to run into hometown connections where we least expect it, don’t we? Erika, now with a celebrity status feeling, continues on with her journey.
Erika and her fellow travelers enjoyed Namche Bazaar at 11,300 feet and did an acclimation hike to Khumjung where they got their first view of Mount Everest. On April 5, Erika explained that her team’s trek in Solu so far consisted of about 18 miles in two days. “Four mountain passes, up 4000 ft., down, cross a bridge, 4000 ft. up, over a pass, 4000 down again, then… Mary Beth, my cartography expert has estimated we did 18,000 vertical feet in 2 days.” Kudos to you Erika!
Her high point, literally and figuratively, at the Tengboche monastery was a great opportunity to reflect on the journey so far and immerse herself in the Buddhist culture. Erika wrote, “I was completely still, listening to the chant. The lamas stopped and sipped tea in unison, took a breath, then the lead lama began chanting again. The swishing of hiking fabrics was drowned out for a moment by the low rumbling words in Tibetan.” This was exactly what they needed before continuing on along the highway.
To check in with Erika and her experiences on the trail, visit her blog.