Two Short’s Stories
A tale of two Shorts in two Short Stories
In 1965 when the Pennine Way long distance footpath opened. It covers 430 km of rugged and boggy moor land. To a 19 year old lad who had been to Outward Bound school and trekked all over the mountains and hills of the UK the Pennine Way sounded like an unavoidable challenge.
Consequently 7 years later some friends and I equipped with completely inappropriate gear set of. we proceeded to encounter a string of very soggy, very hungry and very cold disasters.
Undeterred by this we planned the following year to go for some higher options and tackled the Bavarian Alps.
Subsequently we made annual trips across Europe, on foot and by bicycle and we. For some completely obscure reason we became known as “the Biggles”
In the year 2000 the Himalayas went to the top of the bucket list!
For our Everest trek Derek had opted to mostly wear shorts; however it transpired that the only pair available to him resided in his garage. I am guessing that these were waterproof only as a result of the fact that they were soaked in oil. Yes their previous use had indeed been that of an oily rag.
One memorable evening in Namche Bazaar we were gathered around the Yak-dung fuelled fire when it entered my mind that maybe the offending shorts would burn rather well. We accordingly rescued them from Derek’s room and presented them, with all due reverence, to the flames. The subsequent pyrotechnics lit up the evening sky and it seemed that for the first time the Aurora Borealis had arrived in the Himalayas.
Derek was somewhat aghast at the sight of his beloved oily rag blazing merrily away, but was convinced that they were actually a health hazard if worn, and was greatly calmed when presented with a new pair of oil free shorts.
Cycling around Nepal
When the main group returned to England I set of on my bicycle trip of Nepal. I have already described some of the events on that trip.
I had teamed up with friends Mick and Helen at Pokhara. As we had been advised that it was not possible to walk around the lake we naturally set off to do just that. Eventually we crossed the river at the head of the lake by a particularly rickety bamboo bridge.
It was on the way around that we encountered many interesting species from stick insects to snakes, but the most spectacular encounter was with a water Buffalo.
It was a hot day and Mick had donned his best shorts. As we wandered near the lakeside a water buffalo clearly disapproved of this form of attire. As a result it cunningly crept up behind Mick, manoeuvred its substantial horns up the right hand leg of his shorts, and raised his head. This swift action reduced the shorts to what could best be described as a single “short”.
As I had already donated my spare shorts we were obliged to made our way back to town by hitching a ride on a rowing boat. Happily Mick s shorts were hastily “repaired” and his shortage in the shorts department went largely unnoticed!
So what did I learn on this first trip?
- Respect altitude, don’t rush.
- Get the right gear, it can get pretty cold!
- To understand the culture you really do need to find a good guide.
- Have no preconceptions about your trip, they will be wrong!
- Relax and enjoy the trip.
- I massively recommend everyone to visit Nepal at least once!
Since I met Sharmila of Apoorva tours I have learned so much about what I missed on my first trip. A good example would be the way I sailed past Lumbini with barely a second glance. This in spite of the fact that I knew it was the birthplace of the Bhuddha.
On my last trip I used Apoorva tours and quite frankly they provided the flexible back-up I required. We were able to stop as and where we wanted, and to deviate from the standard route. We achieved everything we wanted and felt that at all times we could rely on the support provided.
I wish they had been available the first time around; it was a magnificent trip. But what a trip it could have been!
Finally I have to say that one trip to Nepal is never going to be enough. It would be difficult to find a destination with so much diversity, and so much to do. Once you have visited Nepal you will always want to go back. Actually I want to go back again right now!