Have you been trekking in Nepal?
I always reply that although I have visited Nepal previously, that no, I haven't beentrekking. Apparently this is a terrible thing to say, or admit to, so this trip I set aboutto rectify the situation.I signed up for a 4 day trek with a female guide who turned out to be an angel.Unfortunately, the first morning and stage involved a perpendicular climb up highstone steps. As I staggered higher, I could see the taxi at the drop-off point far belowand it took all my willpower not to scream out loud for him to wait while I scrambledback down to the safety of that car.What the hell was I doing? Panting, sweating and hating each step. If it wasn't for thepatience of Tika, my guide, I would have given up after two hours.Eventually we came to a sort of semi even ground and a whole new vista opened up."This is better" I said to myself. "Lovely villages
beautiful hills and mountains, I cando this trip." In Nepal,when trekking, it doesn't pay to look too far ahead because
stone steps, thousands of stone steps, loom ahead. On I trudged. Somehow I made itto the night stop-over. Bleak would nearly compliment this place. Swathed in clouds,drizzle and damp it wasn't inspiring.The next morning we set off in pouring rain- it didn't matter that it was raining as wewere already damp from the day before. Add rain water to already slippery steps anddisaster is sure to happen. Happen it did, about 2 hours into the day. I had been quietlyconfident that things were going well until suddenly, whoosh, I was on the ground.The surprise of ending up like that was short lived, because I could see an army of leeches marching purposefully towards me. These leeches were like trios on themove, they hung off ferns and grass and were ready, and willing, to latch onto myskin. I was far more worried about being sucked dry by them than by any sprains orbruises from the fall.On we went and finally a few minutes of flat ground. "Oh isn't this lovely." I thought.Walking in the rain, soaked to the skin, but still it was lovely. That feeling lasted untilI stepped into a fresh cow-pat. The shit oozed to the edges of my jeans and I nearlycried. With the tension of walking on high slippery steps, rain, leeches and fatigue, Ireally can't remember much of the next couple of hours. I do remember hearing somebirds singing in the rain high up (and probably laughing at the strange lady downbelow) but I didn't have the courage to look up and try to identify them.Toilet stops were a nightmare, too much exposed skin for the leeches! Tika and Istopped every 10 minutes and checked for leech attack. Still, I had my first encounter,and my scream echoed across the valley. I had become paranoid, and with goodreason, as they could even wriggle their way into my socks through the lace-holes of my boots.