Last week, we went on a 4 day trek to Poon Hill in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas. Our trek turned out to be one of what I believe (and hope) will be a defining moment for our family (and this entire year). It was grueling; and I mean really grueling. It is funny that this particular trek was recommended as “an easy 4-5 day trek” for us because we have children. I should have taken note when someone mentioned beforehand that we may want to hire a porter in case we ended up needing to carry the children. I can guarantee that in Colorado, every part of the trek would be rated as difficult to very difficult. We started out at around 3000 ft elevation and hiked to our maximum elevation of about 10,000 ft in 2 days. That is like starting out below Denver’s elevation and hiking up to Breckenridge! It was crazy steep. There was one section called “the 3500 steps”. We had heard about that section and when we got to the sign, Audrey asked our guide how many of the 3500 steps we had already climbed, because the sign was posted after we had ascended what seemed like thousands of steps. Our guide just smiled as he told us that the steps were just about to start. I counted at least 4000 steps before we stopped for the night.
As for how the trek affected our family, we were hiking for 6-8 hours each day. During that time, we would pair off and have nice long discussions. We also really supported each other during particularly grueling parts and celebrated every little triumph with each other. The kids almost didn’t bicker at all. We found out that Oliver actually isn’t really human, or at least not only human. He has been reading the Percy Jackson series and it is clear that he is, at the very least, a demigod. He would run up and down the trail singing and jumping from boulder to boulder. He would even look for the hardest way to go rather than the easiest. When we would stop at the end of each day, he would jump right up and start playing, then ask if we were ready to keep going.
Audrey was also amazing, but in a different way. While she likes nature and being outdoors, she would usually prefer to read a book than do just about anything else. However, she ended up really getting into it. On our last day, we kept running into a group of Nepali women who were on their way down from their village. We ended up passing them. Around the last 2 hours of our trek, we came to a town that had actual roads and vehicles. After we hiked past the town and crossed the road later, we saw the women in a taxi heading down. Audrey said that they were lucky to be taking a taxi, but it is more fun and interesting to hike the rest of the way down like we were doing.