My mission to see the biggest things in the world

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My legs where aching with every step and my blisters throbbed more and more as we carried on further away from civilization, the small and very narrow gravel path carried on in the distance. My backpack, once light with only the essential items, now felt as if it had been replaced with 40 pieces of lead weights. I was beginning to seriously wonder why I had agreed to this, I was in pain and not what you would call ‘enjoying my trip’. All tired and panting for breath, our small group of six stopped by a flat rock on the hillside to rest our wiry legs.

Two months of our travels had passed by this point; we had come to Nepal after crossing the boarder on the Indian side, where we were backpacking around Rajastan and experiencing the poverty, pollution and amazing sights in the north of India. We had come to Nepal for different scenery but mainly for the chance to see the highest mountains in the world. Our group was a mixture of many nationalities, which certainly made the trip more interesting. We all met in a lakeside town called Pokahara, where most people start their treks.

Now, as a group we where all to witness a view most people only dream about; with this in mind it gave me an extra boost of energy, I wanted so much to see the mountains, I didn’t go half way up this monster of a hillside, to go all the way back down again, even if I did have a blister. We carried on walking through the most fascinating villages perched on sides of shear rock faces. Kids came out to see us, to wave, practice the odd English phrase such as ‘ one pen, one pen’ or ‘hello’, we played with them as we passed, they seemed so happy and yet they had nothing.

The only way to get food to the villages was walk miles, grow things or wait for the donkey train to deliver the goods. I did feel so sorry for those poor animal as they pasted us, they carried so much and where forced to run up the hills. I nearly got knocked over and trampled on, on several occasions as the donkey train passed, bells in all tones ringing still didn’t warn me enough as they ran pushing and shoving each other past us.

The Nepalese men also worked extremely hard, they carried huge wicker baskets attached to their heads and balanced them on their back. We stayed in ‘tea houses’ along the way, which were basically the homes of the local people. We where served the most fantastic vegetarian dishes, they always tasted so good and where always quickly devoured, we where always starving after a very long day walking up hill. The food always contained the vegetables grown in their slopping hillside gardens.

The most popular vegetables used along the trail where defiantly cabbage and potatoes, of which they made a variety of soups, stews and mild curries, the most memorable dish was the ‘ mountain pizza’, it resembled no pizza I had ever seen before, made with eggs, spinach, potatoes and a sweet spongy base. The villagers along the way were always friendly towards us (probably secretly laughing at all the worn-out Europeans struggling up the mountainside), they gave us directions when we where lost and seemed to have a far happier life style then the Indians, even though Nepal is a far poorer country.

Still struggling on up and up and no sign of our finish point, passing through jungle terrain and along rocky river banks, over several dodgy looking swing bridges, like in the Indiana Jones movies, we came to a stone stair case. This was a real killer, the staircase had 800 huge steps which circled up round many corners, the end was never in sight, every time we thought we where there, we where horribly wrong.

One of the days I felt so weak and dizzy I couldn’t carry on, but with legs of jelly and the persuasion from the group I did, and I was so glad I did, as when we eventually reached our destination after and early start, we got there in time to watch the sun rise over the Annapurna sanctuary. The view was breathtaking. We had got up at 05. 00am in the cold, dark and snowy weather to climb the highest part of our trek. It was extremely hard work and I never thought I would make it. At the top as the darkness cleared, making room for the sun to shine colourful rays of light over the mountain range.

I saw the most amazing view I had ever seen. In complete silence, each think our own thoughts, we looked around us and we where surrounded in all directions with the white caps of mountains. We had made it, and now we where on top of the world. It was so peaceful and empty up there and yet in the back of my mind was the fact that way below the clouds; the world carries on with all its problems. If only everyone in the world could see the view I witnessed, just maybe they would decide not to destroy what we have, our world. This must have been the view from heaven!

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