“I never saw a discontented tree.”
We started out the day following a few porters, kids no older than me who were on their first expedition. We quickly realized that locals and donkeys alike used the trails expensively in order to bring supplies to villages without road access as well as to the base camp of Makalu. As we followed the rocky but well defined trail for the next two days we realized that there were quite a few houses scattered along the way. These were Sherpa villages, the infamous guides and porters who escort nearly every western expedition in the Himalayas.
“Belief? What do I believe in? I believe in sun. In rock. In the dogma of the sun and the doctrine of the rock. I believe in blood, fire, woman, rivers, eagles, storm, drums, flutes, banjos, and broom-tailed horses…”
After arriving in Khadbari, the small town we are starting our trek from, I was finally able to breath a sigh of relief. The air was clean, the water unpolluted, and best of all, people actually smile here! Something I have realized again and again throughout this adventure is that people who live in the mountains (or even foothills) seem to lead much happier lives. Maybe it is because they are closer to nature, or maybe it is because their lives are harder and therefor, they are more grateful, but whatever it is, it is always a relief to get out of the flats and back into a world of laughing and friendly people.