Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trekking the Himalaya's - Preston's Adventure

Preston and the group before they left....Linda in the background with the school nurse who took temperatures

After weeks of preparation...purchasing a backpack, having a friend of ours ship a sleeping bag from the US that would be sufficient for the temperatures of the mountains.....shopping for hiking boots at several stores.....a compass, a "headlight" flashlight.....rain gear and a nice warm jacket.....he was prepared. Oh...I almost forgot.....Sunflower Seeds.....and while he had a very large bag....he strategically put a small amount into a "zip lock" sandwich bag, so that he could ration them with his buddies.....he didn't mind sharing, but he wanted to make sure that he portioned them out so that they would last 6 days......Shrewd Kid!

While Linda was a bit nervous about Preston's adventure......I was simply envious. What a great experience for him at the age of 15....

It has been some time, but I was trying to remember what was going through my head at the age of 15.....more than likely it had something to do with driving, sports or the opposite sex.

By the age of 15, I had seen the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee....but no snow.....and here, my son was getting an opportunity to trek the Himalaya's. WOW!The night before I put it in perspective for him.....he was about to embark on something no one else in our family had ever done.....in fact, he was only the second person in our family that had ever seen the Himalaya's other than in a picture in a Geography Book in School, a National Geographic Magazine, or in a movie or documentary on TV......History making! Something he could share with his kids and grandchildren....his reply....."Really??? That's Cool".

The Trek was arranged by the school.....something they refer too as a "Mini Course" which is meant to serve the purpose of allowing students to experience the wonders of India firsthand.....approximately 30 such trips were offered to the students, to rank as their first choice.....etc. They all didn't involve a 50+km hike in the Himalaya's; some were performing service related projects in villages, traveling to other areas of the country to experience something different, to exploring Delhi.

One of the main concerns that the school had, in lieu of the recent illnesses and Swine Flu Scare, was having a child in a remote area of the country who would become ill....as a precaution, the school sent out an announcement the day before, indicating that each student attending a trip, such as Preston's, would have to undergo a temperature screening before boarding the bus.....if they had an above normal reading, they would not be allowed to go on the trip.

Now, Linda was not the only one that had anxiety related to the trip.....there was a minor complication in that Preston was still in the recovery phase of me giving him the "crud" that I had picked up....and had infected my boss with on his visit, and our faithful driver Ramesh. Preston still had a nasty cough that we were sending him off with......but the poor guy must have checked his temperature 3 times that night......he did not want to miss this trip and be stuck in Delhi.....Oh, there is one other thing that could have kept him back.....his grades.....but, all A's and B's...one C.....I wish they would arrange a trip like this every semester for this reason alone! What a motivation....I think I would have made straight A's for a trip like this (well maybe)!

Saturday afternoon, Linda and I were there to send him off....all the way to the bus.....and as usual, he did not want me to document the event by taking his picture....as I was embarrassing him in front of his friends. Interestingly enough.....I think there was only one other set of parents, besides Linda and I to see their kids off.....Linda thought it was somewhat strange.....so did I for that matter......but such are the way things are.....

Linda was worried that her "baby" would be freezing and made sure that he had warm clothes.....we were both worried that he would have blisters....because, despite our insistence that he wear his hiking boots a few weeks before, every chance he had, to break them in....he didn't.The itinerary was challenging....a 6 day trek.....in the remote parts of the Himalaya's.....no bathrooms, no showers, this was the real deal..on the third or 4th day....after the most brutal trek, all of the kids had an option to hike an additional 1000 feet.....which took them to 13,500 feet......I told Linda that he would make the climb....she thought he would be too exhausted. Now, in one of my earlier blog entries.....I put this in perspective.....this was only 1000 feet below the highest peak in Colorado, where we once lived.....Way above the tree line and much higher than he had ever hiked in his entire life. Way cool!

My story end's here......he was off and although he has shared some details of the trip with us.....that is his story to tell....one day....

But I do have some parting words......we met him later in the week as his group passed through Mussoorie.....we arranged through the school and the Trekking Guide Company to have him dropped off so we could extend his visit in the hills.

The first thing Linda and I asked....."Any blister's?"...."Nope, not a one". His hiking boots......while not inexpensive, paid off and were worth every rupee....and the hike to the highest point.....he made it it to the top....so I guessed correctly!He also looked amazingly good when after not having a shower for 6 days.....quite good actually.....

I have only included one of the several pictures I took before we sent him off....the remaining four(of the almost 800 that he took)pictures are his......during the trek......

I hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

Naomi said...

What a COOL experience our boys were given.

Gorgeous photos of Preston ... and way to go on those grades!

(I was surprised at the number of parents at dropoff as well!)