Thin air, but strong bonds, high in the Hi­malayas

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL - Our read­ers share tales of their ram­bles around the world.

Who: Bob Cox (the author) and his wife, Gosia Klosek, from Bethesda.

Where, when, why: We went to Nepal in mid-Fe­bru­ary for three weeks. Our main goal was to hike to Mount Ever­est’s base camp; in par­tic­u­lar, the land­mark Kala Patthar view­ing point. We at­tempted to do this trek in 2014, but I caught bron­chi­tis.

High­lights and high points: Just about every­thing we saw in the Hi­malayas was im­pres­sive. Some of the most mem­o­rable sights we ex­pe­ri­enced on our trip in­cluded the view of the moun­tain Ama Dablam from its base camp; a yak herder climb­ing up a 1,000-foot hill to have a 15-minute chat with our guide and then climb­ing back down to his yaks; the blue-white ice caves in the Khumbu glacier; and, of course, the view from Kala Patthar. Cul­tural con­nec­tion or

dis­con­nect: Con­ver­sa­tions with our guide, Santa Ba­hadur Ghale, gave us some insight into Nepal and how the coun­try has changed.

Big­gest laugh: We were stuck in Patan, next door to Kath­mandu, at the end of the trip af­ter our Turk­ish Air­lines jet skid­ded off the run­way and caused the air­port to close for four days. On the third day, we walked around many tem­ples in Patan, light­ing can­dles to all the gods to help free the plane. It worked! That night, we re­ceived news that flights would re­sume the next day.

Big­gest cry: Six weeks af­ter our re­turn to the States, a ma­jor earth­quake hit Nepal. Our guide’s grand­mother and 9-year-old niece were killed af­ter his house par­tially col­lapsed. We have since sent him money to help him re­build. From e-mail­ing with him and oth­ers, we have heard that the trekking routes in the Ever­est re­gion are again open. We would cer­tainly go back.

How un­ex­pected: I was most surpised by the friend­li­ness of the Nepali peo­ple, who are very poor. Of course, peo­ple in the tourist busi­ness want you to spend your money, but be­yond that, they are gen­er­ally gen­uinely nice. At one lodge, a worker helped us re­pair some of our equip­ment that had bro­ken. Then, when we were stuck in an un­sea­sonal snow­storm, the same worker vol­un­teered to take my pack for me as I was strug­gling through thigh-deep snow — with­out words, since he didn’t speak English.

Fond­est me­mento or mem­ory: We will never for­get the won­der­ful feel­ing of mak­ing it to the top of Kala Patthar. At that al­ti­tude, the oxy­gen is less than half of what it is at sea level. Ev­ery step up­hill we took two deep breaths, and th­ese were not long steps. It was a pretty clear day, and we were the only peo­ple up there — nor­mally there are crowds of trekkers snap­ping pic­tures of one an­other and of Ever­est. It was truly an event of a life­time, some­thing that stands out above the other many great trips we have taken. To tell us about your own trip, go to

www.wash­ing­ton­ and fill out the What a Trip form with your fond­est mem­o­ries, finest mo­ments and fa­vorite pho­tos.


A shot of Ama Dablam, a peak in the Hi­malaya range. Bob Cox and Gosia Klosek spent three weeks trekking in Nepal, where they found a sense of ac­com­plish­ment with the af­ter and were struck by the Nepali peo­ple’s hos­pi­tal­ity.


Bob Cox and his wife, Gosia Klosek, at the top of Kala Patthar. Nor­mally an area crowded with other pho­to­tak­ers, the land­mark spot hap­pened to be empty when the cou­ple made it up — and it was theirs alone to en­joy.

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