The day started with unclosing my eyes.
I left the curtains open on purpose,
so the first thing I would see were the white snowed mountains blinking in the morning sun.
The smell of burned wood and the sound of soft Nepali language filled up the cracking cold wooden space.
I enjoyed my strong coffee while watching the mountains waking up.
It is cold, but my body only perceives hot waves of completeness.
I am exactly where I want to be.
The weather was fine,
but the trail was dangerous and very steep.
No vertigo allowed.
The sun is coming closer, the shadow loses territory.
I need to narrow my eyes and hope the sunscreen does the trick.
Hiking feels like walking around in my own head, absorbing the area until it becomes a part of me.
It’s addictive, because every meter I am discovering something new about myself and my planet.
The earth is beautiful and so is my mind. Clean and real.
Dobato, so far so good.
The more I walked, the better the story got,
However, lost in my thoughts, I forgot to follow the trail.
I needed to turn back on my steps several times,
this route was penetrating a big piece of barely walked jungle.
Until, on an open spot, three gigantic big monkeys crossed the field while looking at me straight in the eye. Amazed by the moment, I froze to the ground, and carefully picked up a stone (just in case).
Even though I did not see any trail indications for a long time, I kept on following the stream.
Heading Tadapani, and ‘pani’ means water in Nepalese*. Am I a detective or what?
The trail became more narrow by the step, until there was no more.
I had crossed rivers, climbed rocks and tried to be as sharp as possible for a sign of blue-and-white.
The situation got very serious, since I was surrounded by jungle and hadn’t seen a human since I left Bayeli.
My heart started pounding in my chest.
This was not ok.
This was not the right way and I had decended for at least one hour. Or was it 10 minutes?
The time passed me by.
I was desorientated and adrenaline took over.
I started turning back on my steps,
because I knew it could start raining soon.
If so, all hopes would be lost.
In all my panic, I started to walk recklessly through the jungle, even started climbing up a waterfall.
When in doubt, go up.
I held on to branches to lift me up, even though I knew that I hadn’t been here before.
I shouted again. HELP!
No one could hear me, the water was too loud, and I wondered if there were ever people having a walk in this thick overgrown piece of jungle.
I kept on shouting in the hope that at least someone would hear me. But it was useless.
I was stuck on an island of steep rock. I got myself up there in a moment of not thinking clear and the only option now was to use branches of the trees to break my fall.
The branches cut into my arms and legs, but there was no time for pain.
I needed to get back to the point where I had lost the path, to where I saw the last sign of previous human presence.
I was praying for the usual thunderstorm not to strike yet
and for the animals to stay away from me.
I ran on autopilot to every place still remembered.
Until the smallest branch and leaf I could all of a sudden recall my steps.
All kind of scenarios where rushing through my head, but I knew, whatever happened, this was not the way I die.
A funny thought crossed my mind.
I was looking around me, catching my breath.
While the drama got pushed away, for a fraction of a second; I was enjoying the moment: this wouldn’t have happened if I stayed home. Awesome!
I was determined to get out of here, to get to the shelter I had seen before I got lost.
I could stay there until someone magically passed by,
in a week or so.
I had saved my drinking water and had a handful of peanuts and some tahini in my pocket.
Thusfar the provisions of an amateur traveller.
This was not a lost case, but man, I felt alive!
Then again, on another open field, big grey monkeys granted me a live nature documentary show.
I followed their gracious bodies. Maybe they were trying to tell me something?
I saw three baskets filled with leaves. Someone was here.
I walked towards the sound and three women were staring full disbelief their eyeballs out at the blond piece of panic in front of them.
Thank you, monkeys.
They looked downstream, then back to me. One woman made a lateral hand gesture next to her face, meaning: are you coming from down there? Are you crazy?
Yes, apparently, I am. Thank you!
I started hyperventilating from relief, falling down and searching for breath. One tear fell down my cheek and I could not control my breath to turn back to normal.
I needed help, but all the women did was staring at my ripped clothes and bleeding limbs. They had no idea what was going on.
When I finally got my shit together I shrieked: Tadapani?
They motioned to follow them and a half an hour later, the first houses of the small settlement were in sight.
Checked into room number zero.
I had a shower, washed my clothes and ate 3 refills of Dal Bhat before I could sit down and realize what just had happened.
I was adoring the scenery, the 180° view over the beauty I almost got lost in forever.
*Turns out that "Tadapani" means "Far from the water".