Nepal offers challenging treks, but they're surmountable with the right planning. Bre Mirynech brings us know-how from her recent two-week trek through the Himalayas.
By Bre Mirynech
If there is one thing you need to add to your bucket list, life goals, or dreams, it is to go to Nepal. Seriously, add it right now. Whether it’s to travel, trek, or climb, this place is absolute magic and completely stole my heart for good.
In April of this year, after over a year of chatting about it and making rough plans, my Dad and I traveled to Nepal to do the trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp in via the Three Passes route.
Planning this trip required a lot of research and time. There are a lot of things to organize and consider, but the biggest decision we made was to do this trip independently. We did not go with a company, and we did not hire a porter or a guide. To some, this is frowned upon, but for us I believe it was the best choice. The decision required even more planning and research, but to see it all come together was incredible.
After roughly thirty hours of traveling, a day of obtaining permits and passes, and another flight to Lukla, we were finally there. The minute we landed in Lukla, we could see the peaks surrounding us. Nothing can prepare you for how much the sights will take your breath away. I knew in my heart that this trip was the perfect decision and I was exactly where I was meant to be. I also could not have been happier to be sharing the experience with my Dad.
Trekking through Nepal was unlike anything I could have imagined. To me, Nepal is complete and utter beauty in all meanings of the word. The land is beautiful - dramatic valleys and rivers, colourful prayer flags everywhere you look, and of course the jaw dropping Himalayas surrounding you on all sides, making you feel so small. It was an honour to walk throughout the land, but it was also just as much an honour to meet the people we encountered along the way.
The people of Nepal are just as beautiful as the land they live in. Inside and out, I am so humbled and in awe of the people. Their pace of life is peaceful, their beliefs inspiring, and their helpful and generous nature is incredible. We felt accepted and helped everywhere we trekked. We were prepared for the people to look down on us for trekking independently, but the people of Nepal could not have proven that rumor to be more wrong. Not everyone agreed with our decision, but that never stopped them from helping us or caring for us. I will never forget their hospitality and loving hearts.
In total, we spent fourteen days hiking - fourteen mind-blowingly beautiful, physically and mentally hard, and truly rewarding days. The trails are constructed beautifully, with many different suspension bridges, decorated colourfully in prayer flags, with views of the rivers and valleys. Every turn shows you massive mountains, and the culture of Nepal is evident everywhere along the trail. It is colourful and stunning.
Although the hiking is what I would deem easy to moderate, it becomes strenuous due to the impact of altitude on your body. I consider myself an active, fit individual, and did not think this hike would be hard.
I was wrong.
I was prepared for the challenges altitude would bring (harder to breathe, slower pace, etc.), but there is so much more to it than that. With the altitude, I experienced insomnia, a bad cough, an awful runny nose, a lack of appetite, and the uphill sections were slow and tougher than expected. (I remember one day counting one step for every two breaths).
Other people we trekked with experienced constant headaches, upset stomachs, diarrhea, and had trouble breathing in their sleep. With the physical struggle came the mental battle to keep going even when you felt at your absolute worst. That being said, with the physical struggle, and the mental challenge to keep going, the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day is absolutely unreal.
My dad and I were fortunate enough to meet some incredible people along the way. Starting on the second day, we met a guy named Mitch. Mitch was waiting for a guy named Tom, and a few days later we met Bernie. The five of us trekked most of the route together. Good days and bad days, endless card and dice games, and making it to base camp, we truly did it all together. They are absolutely incredible, rad people, and I learned something very important from each one of them. Timing, who we meet, where we meet, and why… it really does all happen for a reason.
Unfortunately, due to a parasite and altitude sickness, we were forced to part ways, but we were reunited once we were all back in Kathmandu. We encountered countless, amazing people along the way, and we were all connected in the common interest of adventure and nature. Each person had their reasons for hiking to base camp, but each individual had an undeniable sense of adventure and a love for the outdoors. It’s a strong, shared passion, and is one that I believe connected us deeply to the people we encountered along the way.
I have endless incredible things to say about my time in Nepal. If you want to achieve a bucket list worthy trek in your lifetime, I highly recommend a trek in Nepal. The three passes trail was mind-blowing, with equal parts beauty and challenge. Unfortunately, due to that altitude sickness and parasite, we were unable to finish the entire route. This means a trip back to Nepal is definitely in my future.
The experience of Nepal’s beauty, the people you will meet, and the things you will learn about yourself, all being surrounded by Mother Nature’s incredible mountains, is something you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Stop wishing for it to happen, and go make it happen! I cannot stress that enough. Nepal is a place you will be so lucky to experience, and it will only leave you wanting more.
If anyone is thinking about trekking in Nepal and has any questions about anything (planning, prepping, trekking, the country, the people, Kathmandu, hotels, etc.), please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, as it is something I would absolutely love to share and help others accomplish.