This year, Dashain, the holiest festival of the year in Nepal, coincided with my 34th birthday. My husband proposed that we start my newly minted year off with some serious adventure: eight days of trekking to the foot of Annapurna I, the 10th highest mountain in the world.
We’ve had a fair bit of adventure in our life together, but we had never climbed mountains. And where better to do it than in Nepal? So we packed up our gear, strapped on our hiking boots, and headed off to some of the most spectacular views we’ve ever seen.
If you are planning to do the Annapurna Base Camp trek, you should note that you will walk a lot of stairs. This trek is a stair master on speed. At one point, Dom decided to count the number of stairs we walked up in a single hour. It ended up being 1,735 steps – nearly 2,000 vertical feet! This was only one hour of our eight-day trek.
On our fourth morning, we got up before dawn to hike from the base camp of the holy mountain Machhapuchhre to our final stop at Annapurna Base Camp. In our final ascent we ended up at about 13,500 feet, far short of the 26,545 foot peak. But from our vantage point we were on top of the world! As we walked on the path through the dark, stars twinkled around Annapurna I, and then the sun crept over the mountains to take our breath away.
We hiked six to eight hours each day, except on the first day of our descent from the base camp, when we hiked 15.6 miles in 14 hours because we wanted to return to the village where we’d had a mean cinnamon roll and espresso a few days prior. Don’t tell us we’re not motivated!
Along the way we met people from all over the world. Our fellow adventurers were Nepali, American, British, Dutch, Swiss, etc. People of every age are drawn to this magnificent hike. At one point, we were told by an intrepid hiker, “I’m seventy seven years old, what’s a few more hundred stairs?” I hope that I can apply his philosophy throughout my life. You’re never too old for another adventure.