Trekking in Nepal has been such a stimulating experience. And of the stand out features was the number of backpackers from other countries we met. While trekking in India, we aren’t usually exposed to so many foreigners whereas Nepal has been a mecca for mountain lovers across the world.
We met a big family of Egyptians who played the most catchy music as they trekked up. We met a young German couple who were going up with their seven month old baby. We met British boys who were racing across the rocks. We met a 70 year old Singaporean who had wanted to climb to Annapurna Base Camp for over 40 years but never could earlier because of family commitments. And here he was solo, with just one guide, smiling, looking twenty years younger than his real age, silver hair combed back.
One of the days, we saw a very old man and woman walking slowly down the mountain. We stopped by to speak to them. The woman was 80 years old, and her companion was 83!!! We asked them what inspired them to trek at that age. What they replied left us overwhelmed. Four years earlier, the lady’s daughter was trekking on the same route and went missing.
Despite helicopter searches, police searches, and international bodies stepping in, her body was never found. The lady was now walking on the same route, tracing her daughter’s footsteps, taking photographs, taking in places her daughter would have stopped or walked by. Her companion was not her husband, nor partner, nor relative, not even from the same country. She was Dutch, he was Welsh.
He was just a friend. They did two three treks every year together, and he had travelled all the way from Wales to Nepal, just to be with her in this overwhelmingly emotional journey. At the completion of the trek, they would build a small memorial for her in Mardi village. As she spoke to us and her voice broke, the tears welled up in our eyes.