On our first day of trekking, a couple hours after being dropped off in Besisahar and eating our first noodle soup lunch, we were walking up a dirt road, already exhausted. It was not very pleasant and I was honestly pretty confused. Why in the world were we walking in this intense heat up to this random lake fifteen thousand feet above us? Why not take a helicopter or plane up? Why does anyone trek? Why do we trek as a school? Seeking answers, I decided to ask Louis.
At first, Louis turned the question back around to me, asking why we do fall backpacking trips or why I walked to Camino. I gave the normal, somewhat bullshit answer saying in those scenarios we walk to gain a deeper connection with our peers and with ourselves. I did not really buy into those ideas, thinking there were other ways to get the same result without walking up hill for eight days, so I pushed Louis more.
Louis said we trek for that moment when we are up in the hills right below the mountains when the clouds open up and you have the perfect view of some peak. That moment when you are struck with an intense beauty and don’t know how to handle it. Again, I didn’t buy in. I was unsatisfied with his answer and was still dreaming of a helicopter ride to the top.
Eight days later as we reached the lake, after climbing up to seventeen thousand feet from two thousand feet and after leaving eight group members behind, tears ran down my face, and in that moment, I realized why we trek.
Trek for the tears you cry at the top. The tears you share with your peers and leader.
Trek for the dal baht every night. Trek for the masala tea two, or maybe three if you’re lucky, times a day. Trek for all the rituals you have on the trek, whether you leave them behind or bring them back home.
Trek for the memories you make with your peers. Trek for the nights spent laughing in the tea houses
Trek for the snickers bars along the way.
Trek for the endorphin rushes that hit you every couple hundred feet of elevation gain as you make your final summit to the top. Trek for the feeling of not being able to breathe and the feeling of reaching, and pushing, your physical limit as you climb those final thousand feet.
Trek for being woken up early in the morning to see the perfect view of the mountain.
Trek for the time to think.
Trek for the feeling that you can do and conquer anything. Trek for the mental and physical gains. Trek for finding your top, wherever it may be.
I recognize that there are other scenarios where someone can eat dahl bat, cry, drink tea, and make memories with friends, but there is something indescribably special and worthwhile about trekking in the Himalayas. I have cried a lot, I have malaise days, and I have had days where I have felt like I must be the happiest person in the world, but I the never felt such intense emotions as I did at lake Tilicho. So this is why I trek.
Leah – Class of 2019