Tag Archives: trekking in Nepal

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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…and we’re off!!!

1 Nov

(me in my new sleeping bag)

We leave for our big adventure today! Hong Kong and Nepal here we come!! I can’t wait to share it with you when we get back! See you soon.

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“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”- Les Brown

the universe has rearranged itself

14 Sep

If somebody had told me a few months ago that the above photo would constitute as my fall boot shopping this year, I would have told them they were on drugs. Kate McClafferty does not buy hideous looking hiking boots in September, she buys gorgeous new leather boots for christ’s sake. But I guess the universe has rearranged itself or something, because I could be found shopping for hiking boots Wednesday night at REI. Totally against brand, as my friend Alison would say.

Ever since we booked the trip to Nepal, Brian has been telling me that I needed to get a pair of serious hiking boots for the trip, ones with better support, especially for my ankles. I kept telling him I could do the trek in my tennis shoes and he just kept giving me a look. Yes, that look, the look that tells you somebody thinks you are insane. I was putting up a good fight regarding my tennis shoes until I started reading the memoir, “Wild”, about a woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail by herself and the way in which she describes the state of her feet during the trek has left me with a deep sense of appreciation for my feet, as well as a deep sense of fear. She gets more blisters than she knows what to do with, her feet bleed and her toenails fall off. HER TOENAILS FALL OFF? Ummmm…count me out of that whole situation. I like my toenails and have no desire to lose any. With that being said, I finally agreed to get serious hiking boots and off to REI we went.

When we got to the women’s shoe section I walked up to the boots and almost started laughing when I noticed that some of the boots where 350 dollars- 350 dollars for hiking boots?! That’s crazy talk. I’d rather buy that buttery leather jacket at Club Monaco I’d been eyeing for the last week. So I grabbed the cutest looking boot I could find on the lowest shelf and asked the sweet, goofy REI employee named David, to grab me a size 9. David asked me what I was “looking for in a hiking boot” (still don’t know how to answer this question) and “where will you be hiking”. While holding the cheapest boot to my chest I meekly replied, “I’m going on a 10 day trek in Nepal”. David gave me that look, that same look Brian’s been giving me recently. So I put the boot back down and asked what he would suggest.

Ten minutes later, I was climbing on fake rocks in the middle of the REI store in 350 dollar hiking boots while David asked me how my toes where feeling…

…yes the universe has most definitely rearranged itself.