Parahawking in Pokhara


When you decide to backpack around the world, there are many inevitable moments when you come face to face with the ‘big bad world’–uncomfortable long journeys, unfortunate bed bug encounters and unavoidable ‘Delhi belly’ (even if you’re not in Delhi!). These moments may earn you your backpacker stripes and are certainly part of the adventure, but – and that’s a big BUT – these won’t be the tales you tell when you treasure memories like this:

Soaring over Fewa Lake in Pokhara, Nepal, I have just run off the side of Sarangkot mountain at a 45 degree angle with an Italian paragliding pilot attached to my back who promised that I will survive, that the parachute will open and that the wind is blowing in the right direction. Once in the air instead of being absolutely terrified all I could think is ‘Wow!’ – my view is snow-capped Himalayan mountains jutting out all around including Machapuchare or ‘Fishtail’ and the infamous Annapurna, there is a perfect clear blue sky above, sparkling blue waters below, and ant-sized people that I spot craning their necks to watch the pretty parachutes. I had a grin spread across my face that would have made the Cheshire cat proud! How could this moment get any better?

Unbelievably, it does. What the people down below don’t notice is the beautiful white Egyptian vulture that is circling above – guiding us to the thermal currents, coaxing us to the upwards gush of air that will bring us higher, and higher and higher into the sky. I can’t stop smiling! These are the moments I dream of. What the people far below also don’t see is that on my pilots word I swiftly take a piece of raw meat from the pouch attached to my front and hide it in my hand. All those people, now dots below me, won’t hear the whistle being blown 3000 feet above sea level, won’t see my arm being held out and won’t witness the outstanding moment when the majestic vulture with its impeccable eyesight spots its prey, swoops in towards me, gently lands on my arm, feeds on the raw meat and flies away.

The perfect moment.

T Sherlock

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