Reposted with permission from the Bodhi Tree Foundation newsletter, written by Jill & Clark Pertain
This Fall we had the opportunity to spend 16 days trekking in Humla, Nepal. Before we left we had heard how beautiful the Himalayas are and we were not disappointed. The scenery is breathtaking and the people you meet along the way are very welcoming and friendly. It was an awesome experience!
Our trek started in an area of Nepal (Humla district) that is so remote and rugged that it has no roads for cars or other motorized vehicles. You can fly into Simikot, as we did, but after that all travel is on foot. It was quite an experience to be sharing the “trail” not only with other people, but also with flocks of traveling sheep or goats, horses, and sometimes many, large yaks that are loaded up with goods for trade. To travel in a region without any cars was truly unique. What a different way of life it leads to.
The trekking route we did had us hiking and camping in some really beautiful spots. Humla is very mountainous, with many steep hills that lead down to raging turquoise colored rivers. We walked through alpine valleys and high altitude (14,000 ft!) passes. Most days we had great views of rugged, snowy peaks that we were either hiking towards or away from. Most nights the sky was packed with billions of stars. At one point we camped in sight of a 25,000 ft peak and the next day we walked to its base. Lunch was had next to its glacial lake, while avalanches tumbled snow down the mountain in front of us.
Our trail took us past many terraced hillsides which were being farmed by hand or with animals. The people of Humla work HARD at their farming! We passed a water powered mill where some women were grinding local grain. They let us take a look at the process of stone grinding grain which was pretty cool and something we had never seen before. And I don’t think we’ll ever forget the sight of the colorful red and green chili peppers that were often spread across villagers’ rooftops to dry in the sun.
Of course the people of Humla are just as beautiful as the land that surrounds them. One of our favorite parts of the trek was having the opportunity to meet and get to to know the people of the region. The crew hired to help us on the trek were very friendly and helped us better understand their culture by answering our many questions. Sometimes as we walked through villages people would invite us into their homes for a cup of tea and some conversation. They often share so freely what little they have. We also had some great talks with a couple of teachers at the government school in Yalbang. And it seems we found that one of the best ways to interact with the Humli people was in helping Sarah distribute the prenatal vitamins and clean delivery kits to the villagers. The people definitely welcomed the attention, supplies, and education that Bodhi Tree Foundation was providing them with.
For us, this trek was a once in a lifetime experience: a great chance to see a different culture and hike in a new and beautiful landscape. And in the end, it’s especially rewarding to feel like you are having a positive impact on a region that needs helps and appreciates that help as well.
Bodhi Tree Foundation’s mission is to support and promote community-based activities that focus on maternal and child health in the remote Himalayas of Humla, Nepal. They work in conjunction with local Nepal-based NGO’s (non-government organizations) and Nepal’s Ministry of Health to achieve their goals.
Spaces are available for the upcoming trek May 18-June 7, 2013. More information is available on their website at www.bodhitreefoundation.org.