As I mentioned in my last post, we didn’t run across too many people while on our hike. It was nice hiking during the off-season so the trails weren’t totally overrun with people and we could enjoy quiet time at the tea houses.
However, of the people we did met along the way, there were a few interesting ones. One, in particular was our favorite.
At the end of our first day, we arrived at the first tea house tired and weary. The people who ran the guest house and a curious looking foreigner were sitting outside. After they convinced us to stay (not that much convincing was needed….) we sat and had some beverages (CP some coke, me some milk tea) and started chatting.
This guy turned out to be a Canadian who has spent 5 months out of every year for the past 29 years in Nepal. The most amazing part: he has spent rarely anytime in Kathmandu or even towns that many foreigners would have heard of. He does research in the forests (I really wish I could remember exactly on what—it seemed to be everything) and spends most of his time in the villages in the hills. He knows everything from what the real food of the nepalis is (the hill people at least—some sort of millet porridge thing that apparently gives you 12 hours of energy from one serving) to all the trails off the main hiking routes to how to protect himself from a wild animal or hunt for dinner (including what plants are poisonous to certain animals but not to humans). He was like a human encyclopedia for the indigenous culture in the hills.
Over the course of the evening, we were told grand stories while sitting by the fire. During Maoist strikes, he walked from Pokhara to Kathmandu and from the hills surrounding Pokhara down to the border to India (Nepal may be a small country, but this is still no small feat). He has spent most of his life living in the remote woods in Canada working for the national park service. He has trained special ops military from several countries on survival in the wilderness. Basically, the man is a superstar when it comes to the outdoors and awesome life experiences. I wish I could remember all his stories; though, me telling you them wouldn’t compare to how awesome they were to hear in person.
At the end of the conversation, we finally all got around to asking each other’s names.
He introduced himself like this “My name’s Jim Woods. All my friends call me Jim Woods in the Woods.” Seems pretty appropriate to me! Though, CP and I decided we liked the sound of Jimmy Woods in the Woods.
At that point in time, CP asked him, “If we google that, will we find you?”
His response? “The way I have lived my life, I don’t think I have much of a web presence.” (though, now, I guess with my blog post he’ll have some web presence!).
While we didn’t meet anyone else on the trip who had quite the same effect on us, we did meet some nice people along the way. We met a couple who lives in Dubai who was in Nepal trekking for their honeymoon. We met a large group of Americans who were a part of the Sierra Club. The one who I first started talking to was even from the Bay Area (outside of the other Fulbrighters and the occasional expat, you really don’t run into that many Americans here). We even ran into a couple we had met the previous week in Kathmandu at Jazz Upstairs (a local live music place) in the last hour of our last day (we were exiting, they were entering). (everywhere I have been with CP I have run into someone I know—surprising to find it on the hiking trail) At the bus stop on the way back to Kathmandu, we ran into another San Franciscan that we had met through a friend a few weeks earlier. It really is a small world here!
As I am sure you gained from the last post, the trek was amazing. We saw great views and met wonderful people. Here are some more photos from the hike for your enjoyment! (of course, as usual, there’s a lot!)