Travis Hollingsworth

Rest stop at a tea shanty, somewhere along the steep climb from Chamje to Karte. The details I remember: fresh apples in a bowl, cows grazing, wind billowing the way it does after a long stretch uphill. The didi here is the first of many strong & tenacious women I would come to meet on the trail. (A couple things to know: the didi, generally, is fearsome and motherly, strong as all hell, and prolific in tea making—Nepali, buttered, masala, you name it.)
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Nepal, of course, is silencing in the sheer force of its beauty. This is the beginning stretch of what was to become a 17-day retreat into the Himalayas. This particular day began with me hitching a ride in the back of a Jeep—at the mercy of dust clouds and bruises, for better or worse—and certainly for better, the rolling rice paddies, not to mention waterfalls spilling like a Moroccan mint tea pour. The lower elevations hold that adventurous lustre of playing expeditioner. It’s the full vividness of nature sounds and curried momos and a sun that shines high and long. I was thinking it’d be a while before I made my way to Nepal again, but I kind of miss the whole of it—the raw beauty of the pines, the searing cold at altitudes where stars shimmer brighter than I’ve ever seen, the wood-fired bakeries in hamlets + the people who run them. What’s definitely on the list is Everest base camp and/or Upper Mustang, so I’m hoping I’ll be back for next year. We’ll wait and see!