I am certain that I will be thinking about the past 12 days of my life for years to come. Our journey started near the base of the Rupin River Valley when we were dropped off by a few Jeeps. Our fresh crew eagerly pitched out tents and settled in to our sleeping bags early. The next morning we awoke to masses of clouds pouring in to the valley we were new inhabitants of. Everyone stopped and stared at this really cool sequence. We quickly came to regret it when we had to accomplish all of the tasks we had neglected by staring in the rain. Dispute the mild discomfort our group set an awesome tone for the rest of our trek by being super positive, and not complaining one bit. We hiked through villages the first day, and it was really special to be able to interact with local people.
We reached the campsite fairly early, and the sky cleared revealing one of the most beautiful views of a snow capped mountain that I have ever seen. Soon after we had pitched camp local kids came from a nearby village, and sheepishly looked at us from a far. Samantha took indicative and started chasing the little boys around. This inspired giggles from the kids who were clearly excited to play. I saw this and tied my winter hat in to a makeshift football. With this simple tool a bunch of our group members played with these local kids until darkness forced us to stop. I had an absolute blast, and was proud when the leaders of our group commented on how beneficial this interaction was for the kids rather than just giving them goodies.
Our trek continued by climbing higher each day through ridges and forests of the Rupin Valley. Each day we grew closer to the awe inspiring snow capped mountains. Our group became comfortable with the terrain, and challenges of outdoor life making us enjoy the scenery, and amazing opportunity we were in the midst of even more.
A huge highlight for me was at the end of a long uphill stretch of trail we emerged above the tree line, to an ever more unreal view than had already been blowing my mind for days. To my pleasure our guides told us to take off our backs and prepare to camp for the night.
From this point forward we had to deal with a but more adverse conditions including snow travel, and lack of abundant water close to camp. Our eager group embraced these challenges, and had a blast learning new skills as we navigated the steep snow. The attitude of our group during these times, and always really made the journey enjoyable during the easy, and hard times.
My favorite day of our trek happened after we pitched out highest camp. We all headed out in to the mountains the next day wielding much lighter day packs, ice axes and crampons. This formula allowed us to move quickly through the challenging terrain we were now much more accustomed to. Our mission was to reach a high point and return to the same relatively lower camp site that night. Our group cursed us the mountain and made it to our destination with clear skies and pure joy of knowing what we had accomplished. Our speed allowed us to take our time at the unbeleviable vantage point we gained. This was followed by everyone sliding down the snow slopes for a extremely fun descent.
The rest of the trek was filed with lots of downhill hiking and continued fantastic views. We reached our final campsite near the Supin river as a group accomplishing our ultimate goal of finishing the trek together!