trekking in Nepal : starry night

27 Feb

The starry night in Nepal will forever go down in history as Brian’s best night on the trip and my worst. After an eight-hour day of trekking through the mountains, we spotted our home for the night, a little teahouse nestled in the village of Ghorepani. With an altitude of approximately 9,500 feet, it was very cold but had epic views of the mountains. I couldn’t believe that it was were we would be staying for the night. Was this real life??! It was so breathtaking.

teahouse

view

(top photos by my fellow trekker Margaret)
As we approached the teahouse, we giggled with excitement over all the things we planned to do when we arrived, but first we’d try our luck with a hot shower! Hot showers weren’t always available due to the fact that the water was solar heated. If you were lucky enough to snag some hot water, it usually only lasted 2 minutes. So Brian and I decided that we would shower together to up our odds!
We were so that we excited we started racing to the teahouse!

When we finally reached it, we learned that there was no hot water and that the power was out. My first question was, “well, when do you think it will come back on?”. To which the answer was, “it’s been out for a few months”. Oh Nepal, you are a special little place.

We decided to skip the cold shower and drink beer in the last rays of sunlight instead. For a girl who’s not much of a beer drinker, I certainly became one on this trip. Really, there was nothing better than a cold Tuborg at the end of a long day. Granted, my options were limited, it wasn’t like they were offering buttery chardonnay up there.

We sipped our cold beers and huddled up by the miniature fire to keep warm. Soon the sky began to darken, the view of the snowy mountains faded and the chill of the mountains set in. Everyone put on their headlamps and another layer of clothing.

We all sat around a big table lit by candlelight and ate our dinner. Surprisingly it ended up being one of my favorite dinners with the group. It was all rather romantic in a funny way. I mean, I was with my new fiancée in the snowy mountains of a foreign land eating by candlelight with people I really enjoyed. As cold and dirty as I was, I was in bliss. I felt like I was really living my life.

dark eating

Another name for this trip could have been “the time Kate ate carbs with abandon“. Every single night I cleaned my plate of rice or noodles- sometimes both and sometimes I even started with a plate of momos. If there had been dessert, I would have happily eaten that too. I was insatiable.

With full bellies, Brian and I decided to call it a night. So what it was 8pm! So what the locals were setting up the music in the main room to celebrate the Festival Of Lights! We were exhausted.

We strapped on our headlamps and proceeded to get ready for bed. Let me tell you, brushing your teeth with only a headlamp is harder than you’d think. I pretty much just spit toothpaste on my hand and shirt a few times and proceeded to climb into my sleeping bag. I was so tired I didn’t even care. I hadn’t showered in four days, my hair was a mess, I hadn’t washed my face in two days, my feet were sore to the bone and I am pretty sure I smelled oh, AND I didn’t care. The only thing I cared about in that moment was sleep.

It was then that Brian had a moment of inspiration- night photography! He had to go out into the dark and photograph the stars! I am not one to stand  in the way of inspiration, so I wished him well and he packed up his equipment, kissed me on the head, said he’d be back in 10 minutes and closed the door to our little box of a room.

I laid there in the dark thinking about my day and how lucky I was to be in such a powerful place, how humbled I was by the mountains and the people of Nepal, how nice it felt to be away from everything and it was then that I realized it had been a good 20 minutes and Brian still wasn’t back yet. I also realized I had to pee – a terribly annoying realization considering this meant I would have to get out of my warm sleeping bag, put on my headlamp and pee in a squat toilet in the dark. UGH.

I unzipped my sleeping bag- FREEZING! Strapped on my headlamp- RIDICULOUS, went to the door and pulled. It didn’t budge. Ummm, what? I pulled again. NOTHING. It took me a moment to realize what had happened. Brian had locked the door from the outside. Keep in mind we weren’t working with door handles and keys here. We were in Nepal where you either locked the door by sliding the bolt from the inside or outside. Brian had done so from the outside. FUCK.

I was locked in a dark 10 x 10 room with only a headlamp for light, no form of communication and oh, did I mention I am TERRIBLY claustrophobic. This was probably the worst case scenario for me. Panic washed over me. I sat back down on the bed and tried to figure out what my next move would be. My palms began to sweat. My heart rate began to quicken. I looked around the room for a way out. Instead all I got was the image of the light on  headlamp darting around the room. It was like something out of a bad horror film. I tried banging on the door but nobody could hear me over the loud music. I tried to reassure myself that Brian would be back soon and this would all be over quickly but with every minute that passed I began to go over the deep edge a bit more…and hate Brian a bit more.

I tried to escape out the window but quickly realized that the only thing on the other side of it was a dirt wall. Thirty minutes passed. Forty minutes passed. Fifty minutes passed. With tears streaming down my face I rocked myself  back and forth on the bed and tried my hardest to forget the fact I was locked  in a dark room with no form of communication. Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts.

An HOUR later, Brian walked in and discovered me standing in a corner with my headlamp on, crying. I proceeded to take my headlamp off, throw it in his direction and scream, “I hate you!” hahhahaha. Seriously over the top, right? But it was a really traumatic experience! Terrifying actually. Luckily, we laugh about it now but in that moment Brian had no idea why the hell I was flipping out. Imagine his surprise since he expected me to be sleeping. HA.

Brian’s side of the story- he had gotten caught up in the moment with the gorgeous stars and then watched the villagers perform their “festival of lights” dance for a bit. What a dear, huh?

Really, the only good thing to come out of such a horrid experience are these EPIC photos below by BHG!

the villagers dancing!

the villagers dancing!

20130224_7A9A232620130224_A9A232920130224_A9A2367Aren’t these amazing?? The last one takes my breath away every time I look at it. Magic!

The next morning, as the group ate breakfast, everyone chatted about the sky filled with stars the night before and the fabulous dancing that took place at the festival. When someone asked me if I had enjoyed it, I glanced at Brian, smiled and said, “I missed it”.

More on our adventures in Nepal soon!

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12 Responses to “trekking in Nepal : starry night”

  1. barbarapotter February 27, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    You trips are always such an adventure. Can’t wait to meet Brian one of these days too. Love his photography and love how he loves you.

  2. the usual bliss February 27, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Great photos!!!

  3. fatjoe February 27, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Very…..very cool…

  4. mygrippingjournalofdailylife February 27, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    You always tell your stories so well…I felt like I was there! Great pictures!

  5. authenticalive February 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I will probably never go to Nepal so reading this and seeing these pictures allows me live the experience with you… Thank you for the opportunity… and thank Brian for the pictures, especially the on with the mountain top!!!!

  6. erin February 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Wow… AMAZING photos!

  7. Rebecca Koo March 22, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I am dying. This is an awesome story! As a fellow claustrophobian, I share the horror while also am totally laughing! You are a wonderful story teller!!! The pics truly are amazing. BHG is one talented guy.

    • katemcclafferty March 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      hahah. Then you totally get how HORRIBLE this was!! Funny now but still horrible. Thank you for always being so supportive:) xoxo

  8. Open Trail Treks January 4, 2016 at 2:02 am #

    i just came by you site an found this amazing story. You have tol you story in great way. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Open Trail Treks
    http://opentrailtreks.com

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. check-in | - March 7, 2013

    […] Big news / the travel doctor / the toe  / Hong Kong 1 / Hong Kong 2 / Arriving in Nepal / Kathmandu / Patan / the monkey temple / Bhaktapur / trekking: the group / trekking: the water buffalo / trekking: the starry night. […]

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