Monday, June 22, 2009

mountains, oh, mountains

India makes me want to hike more. In our prep for our trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas and in our time actually doing the trekking, I discovered or perhaps relearned or maybe was reminded that I want hiking/trekking to be a more regular thing in my life. I grew up in the mountains, America's small ones, so hiking should be in my jeans, right? (yes, yes, that was an intended pun. after all my genes are midwestern ones not Appalachian ones)

What a beautiful place we had the chance to traverse during our too few days. In some places homes were scattered along ridges, reminding me of the hollers from my homeland Appalachians, the ones my school bus lumbered into to pick up classmates. Except the Indian version wasn't accessible for school buses or anything with more wheels than a donkey has. In other places we entered real villages with homes clustered together and beautiful, friendly people who made us all want to come back for a few months of village life and work on their picturesque terraced farmland. Oh, someday, perhaps.

Our bamboo hiking poles were essential tools of the trade. Without them the trails would have felt more treacherous. Of course, the locals need no poles and also need no catch-your-breath breaks at embarassingly regular seven minute or so intervals on the climb out of the valley.

Somehow trekking takes on much better purpose when you're hiking through villages and past homes of people who invite you in for chai and chatting. So much more enjoyable than it'll-do hikes around my local Radnor Lake. In India I felt like I was going somewhere as we traversed trails. Here I'm reminded that my normal everyday life is more sedentary than is healthy.

And then after not nearly long enough we were back just a little over a week after we went. And we were the better for it. In more ways than a few. And hopefully we left behind some good news.