Kiwi trekkers fol­low in Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary’s foot­steps

Walking New Zealand - - Overseas Adventure -

“As the trip moves on, part of you longs for a hot shower, clean clothes and sheets. But an­other part of you never wants to leave th­ese moun­tains and the joy of be­ing out­side every day.”

“I knew that trekking to Ever­est Base Camp was al­ways go­ing to be a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said He­len. “Even then, I didn’t re­alise just how special it was go­ing to be for my part­ner David and I.

“It was a six-hour hike on that fi­nal day to reach Ever­est Base Camp. As we stum­bled in to Base Camp, I was ex­cited to have made it, ex­hausted from the stren­u­ous hike, and hum­bled by my sur­round­ings. David and I made our way to the prayer flag mon­u­ment for the obli­ga­tory photo.

It was at that mo­ment that David got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was com­pletely taken by sur­prise! How could he have kept that one hid­den from me? Shock, com­bined with noise of the wind, meant that I didn’t hear a thing David was say­ing. But I blurted out “Yes!” and was met with cheers and hugs from all our tour­mates.

Our friends and fam­ily all joke now that no-one will ever be able to top that pro­posal – lit­er­ally!

“Nepal will al­ways hold a special place in our hearts now,” added He­len. “As well as the magic of the moun­tains and the scenery, the peo­ple of Nepal are so hos­pitable. We were blown away by the good na­ture, gen­eros­ity and kind­ness of th­ese peo­ple. That’s some­thing else I be­lieve our two na­tions have in com­mon.

“This trek has been such a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to re­ally get to know this re­gion of Nepal. Sir Ed­mund Hi­lary’s legacy lives on and is in­spir­ing other New Zealan­ders to fol­low in his fa­mous foot­steps.”

This 19-day trek to Ever­est Base Camp was or­gan­ised by the Hi­malayan Trust and Kath­mandu Sum­mit Club and run by World Ex­pe­di­tions. To find out how you can join an adventure of a life­time with the Hi­malayan Trust visit hi­malayantrust.org/trek.

Ger­ard Dunne Credit:

Above: Ding­boche – snow­fall over the vil­lage of Ding­boche at 4,410 me­tres.

Be­low left: Mani stones: Trekking past Mani stones – rocks en­graved with Bud­dhist mantras or prayers. The stones are found through­out the Ever­est re­gion of Nepal and are in­stilled with pro­found spir­i­tual sig­nif­i­cance. Out of re­spect, peo­ple should al­ways pass to the left of the stones. Credit: Blair Mil­lar

Credit: Ger­ard Dunne

Mid­dle: Kala Patthar Sum­mit with Prayer Flags - The trekkers climbed the Kala Patthar Sum­mit to en­joy the best closeup view of Ever­est.

Credit: Blair Mil­lar

Be­low right: Stu­dents at Chau­rikharka school lis­ten­ing to sto­ries read by the Kiwi trekkers.

Credit: Blair Mil­lar

Above top right: Lukla Air­port: “It was a jit­tery start to our adventure,” said trekker Anita Perkins from Welling­ton. “The weather re­ally wasn’t co-op­er­at­ing and the short flight from Kath­mandu to Lukla air­port was can­celled for sev­eral days due to bad weather.” The tiny Lukla air­port, with its run­way perched on a steep cliff, is of­ten billed as the most dan­ger­ous air­port in the world. It was built by Hil­lary in the 1960s to trans­port into the re­gion the con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als he needed for the schools and hos­pi­tals he was build­ing. Now, the pre­car­i­ous air­port serves as the gate­way for vis­i­tors to the Ever­est re­gion.

Credit: Blair Mil­lar

Above left: Pro­posal at Ever­est Base Camp. “I knew that trekking to Ever­est Base Camp was al­ways go­ing to be a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said He­len. “Even then, I didn’t re­alise just how special it was go­ing to be for my part­ner David and I. Credit: He­len Chalmers Mid­dle right: Khumjung school, the first school built by Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary in 1961. On the far right of the photo is the orig­i­nal school room build by Hil­lary. To the left is the new earth­quakestrength­ened class­room block funded by dona­tions from New Zealan­ders.

Credit: Blair Mil­lar

Be­low left: Anita Perkins read­ing Hairy Maclary with a group of young stu­dents at Chau­rikharka school.

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