On-Off


In March of 2003, my girlfriend, Amy, and I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains. Circling for one hundred and thirty miles (210 Km) around the entire Annapurna range—which contains six peaks over twenty three thousand feet (6.4 Km)—the Annapurna Circuit also traverses the world’s highest crossable pass, Thorung La, at eighteen thousand feet (5 Km).

I experienced my most breathtaking moment on Sunday, 23 March. That day, Amy and I stepped off at 0945 from the Asia Trekker’s Lodge in Kagbeni. There, we had enjoyed the best room of the trek so far, with an attached bathroom and a nice, hot shower. We ate lunch in Jomsom at a place called The Xanadu and continued on to arrive in Marpha at 1700, where we got a room at the Neeru Guest House? Or was it the Leeru Guest House? I don’t remember exactly – it was something like that. In any case, the room was a welcome respite from a day of walking on rocks with a cold headwind in our faces. I didn’t give a second thought to the fact that the bathroom was a detached shack behind the Guest House. I was still overwhelmed by the spectacular mountain scenery!

That night at 1830 around an old wooden table in our Guest House, Amy and I shared dinner with several trekkers we had met along the circuit: Emila was from Germany, Hit was from England, Chris was an Aussie, and Eric and Mia were from Sweden. It was fantastic! This was what trekking was all about!

So when was my most breathtaking moment? Was it viewing the mountain scenery? Was it dining with international trekkers? No, it came after I trudged out to the shack for a shower before going to bed! The shower only had one rotary knob—on/off—so I stood naked and shivering off to the side and rotated the knob in a counterclockwise direction. The resultant stream of water was barely a trickle and freezing cold! So I rotated the knob a little more and waited—still shivering. The water flow didn’t increase and it was still icy. I waited—still shivering . . . and waited—still shivering. Nothing changed. So on sore, tired legs, I stepped beneath the frosty trickle and scrambled to complete a shower that literally took my breath away.



J Scanlan

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