Is this wanderlust that plagues so many centered in the very gene that appears to have triggered the spread of the human species from its single origin? Yeah, yeah, I heard the bible says "god" told "man" to go forth and multiply but that's the weakest excuse I ever heard for the extraordinary migration and discoveries taken place in the last few millions of years. Could there be a separate gene for exploration? Or does it stem from curiosity and is imbedded in our DNA because of its survival value, an attribute without which our species would not have continued to develop? I'm not convinced that the desire to explore is related to survival. It goes beyond searching the unknown for safety. Some of our ancient ancestors did more than simply check the landscape to avoid an attack of a tiger.
If all humans have it, the characteristic is in the genes. Is it a facet of something else or an issue of its own? But the desire to explore is not exactly the same as the desire to wander. And that is what I am plagued with - wanderlust. I want to experience the mountains for myself. And the prairies. And the seashore. And beyond. I shall tell you of places that pulled at my heart, my mind and my imagination.
Just the thought of Nepal was intriguing. So off I went to trek part of the path exploited by climbers since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered Mount Everest. Sixteen Elderhostelers trekked the narrow footpath from 8,000 foot Lukla to 14,000 foot Pangboche and back for eleven days. Fifteen old folks paced along as if inspired by a Sousa march, I huffed and puffed and persevered at the end of the line.
We followed the narrow undulating excuse for the highway the Himalayas can never possess, across raging rivers on frightening bridges with fluttering prayer flags, through the bustling bazaar at Namche offering produce carried up on the backs of incredible people, past the rescue station Hillary inspired to revive the suffering trekker, around prayer walls and monasteries offering solace to the weary, through a forest of gargantuan rhododendrons. We clung to the glacial moraines that stretched upward to lofty Ama Dablam with nothing but a thousand foot drop on the downside of the narrow trail. We plastered ourselves to the mountain when yaks plodded by. No traffic cop gave them the right of way, they simply took it. We never argued. We paid attention to our exercise as never before.
My experiences with Sherpas and photos of their domain and plight will be posted and I have prepared a fictious intrigue on the trail I hiked. Read it online or download.
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