Conversations with Strangers: Joel from Ann Arbor

I was having coffee on the lawn of my guest house in Tolka, overlooking the terraced hills of the Himalayas when an older gentlemen with the most soothing voice struck up a conversation with me. His name was Joel, pronounced Joelle- the Italian way. He was born and raised in Ann Arbor, but has been…

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Day 10: Tolka to Pokhara

The End. Fin. Cue: We are the Champions. Follow with “Closing Time.” In what seems like a blink of an eye (if blinking were really hard and took ten days of going up and down hills) my trek has come to an end. Immediately after exiting the trail, and seeing my taxi waiting to take…

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Day 9: Jhinu to Tolka

The four hour trek from Jhinu to Tolka felt like a walk in the park. If, let’s say, that park was actually a jungle with waterfalls, old suspension bridges with missing wooden planks, and oxen running through it. I don’t mean to brag, but my room in Tolka had an outlet and real walls and…

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Day 8: Bamboo to Jhinu

I noticed the further I go downhill, so does the quality of my writing. You’re probably thinking that someone who has nothing but time on their hands and is just walking for hours on end has all the time in the word to think about deep and profound life things. Alas, that is not the…

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Day 7: Annapurna Basecamp to Bamboo

I hopped out of the icebox called a bedroom that I shared with a Thai and Taiwanese girl, and caught the sunrise over basecamp to say goodbye to the glorious view of Annapurna. I sat silently looking at the view that I had pushed so hard to reach, and started reflecting on my own life…

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Day 6: Deurali to Annapurna Basecamp.

Today was the big day: Annapurna Basecamp. It was the highest peak of my trek (13,650 ft or 4,130 meters), and the goal I had set for myself. Gambu and I started from Deurali and ripped through Machhapuchhre Basecamp to Annapurna Basecamp in 3 hours. Although the trail itself was easier today, the altitude made…

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Day 5: Sinuwa to Deurali.

I basically floated today. My legs no longer shake when I stand, and I propel myself up steps even when they’re up to my hips. My new baseline is uncomfortable and slightly sore, and I’ve learned to be happy with that. Granted, I’m fueled by coffee and Advil- but I also think my body is…

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Conversations with Strangers: Kelsey from Colorado

Kelsey and I met while watching the sunset over Annapurna in Nadapani. I had seen her around over the last few days, and could just tell she was a warm and inviting person, so striking up a chat with her was effortless. About her: I learned that Kelsey and her fiancé, Matt, are from Colorado…

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Day 4: Nadapani to Sinuwa

I bid adieu to my French friends, laced up my boots and headed towards Sinuwa with Gambu. By now, I felt used to the Nepali flat (constantly going either uphill or downhill) and was starting to feel stronger. I even started to appreciate how the steep inclines would naturally stretch my calves out while I…

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Day 3: Ghorepani to Nadapani

I write in my journal every day, and Gambu, my guide, always asks “what are you writing about?” Every day I give him the same answer, “I’m finding different ways to say: everything is beautiful and everything hurts.” This morning was particularly hard. Imagine going up a flight of stairs carrying a small child. You…

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