The theme of hard work and passion continued today, our first day of trekking, as we made our way through—or rather up and down--some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Though the trail from Jiri to Shivalaya was a gentle one, worn smooth and hardpacked by a thousand years of foot traffic, we all felt the sweat and the pull of our muscles as we climbed, as well as the altitude and the heat of a bright and penetrating sun. But the passion for our journey, and for the incredible beauty of all that surrounds us easily outweighed our exertion. The colors along our way were vivid, sometimes nearly unreal, with every imaginable shade of green in the lush scenery splashed with bright yellow mustard seed, pink flowering trees, deep fire-red wheat, and marigolds at every turn. And the people! The country folk we pass along our route are no less beautiful or colorful then the world they inhabit, with their shining gold vests, red, blue, yellow dresses, their white teeth, and their shining black hair. And as our ancient trail traversed their front yards turned tea houses, they would call out, “Namaste!” while their children ran along, all smiles and antics, hoping for treats, candy or the coveted writing pen.
It is truly a privilege to walk this trail so many have walked before us. The Sherpas carry our loads, prepare our meals, arrange our tents, guide us, and answer our questions with friendliness, patience, and humor. They are inspiring in their strength and stamina and in the power of their reverence for the mountains, which Wongchu refers to as gods or goddesses, and which he serves, in his way, by living this life he has chosen in the shadows and on the summits of the highest peaks on earth. It is a privilege to be here and benefit from his determination and hard work, and it is an honor to bear witness to this passion.
Tracey Pyles, Shivalaya, October 29, 2010