Steve: An Unexpected Journey in East Nepal


Steve had done a great job working with us to cultivate and curate his custom itinerary. We had an almost 30-day trek set up for him in East Nepal on the Jaljale Himal ridgea; however, after unusually heavy monsoon that led to snows and dangerous conditions, the ridge was deemed not safe for such remote trekking and he had to be rerouted. So while on trail Steve and the staff reached out to us in the home office and together we rerouted his itinerary based on his particular interests and the richness of what is available in east Nepal. 

Being in the foothills of the Himalaya reminds us all that there are greater forces at work in the world than anyone can control. While we here at ATC know that there isn't anything we can do about the weather, what we can promise is that we know the parts of the world that we operate in better than any one else. And if any problems arise, weather or otherwise, we're equipped and more than happy to do whatever we have to, to be sure that you'll still be able to enjoy your journey. Despite the strike, the weather and the change of plans, Steve still managed to enjoy every step along the way!

“I had a wonderful experience. Everything was great - the country, the staff, the experience. Above the Clouds, Pemba, Dawa and Sri make an awesome team and run an exceptional business. I cannot have been more fortunate.”

”... When we made it to the Jaljale Himal, the camp was snow covered and the weather cloudy; it looked like more rain/snow was to come at any minute. A hour later, the clouds and mist disappeared, the sun came out and that afternoon was perfect. The next day it was cloudy again. Oh well. We hiked to the first pass. The trail could not be found and the amount of snow confirmed what we had heard from the yak men leading their herds back to lower elevations. The Jaljale had a too much snow to be hiked.

We switched plans. We saw Dawa’s village which has to be one of the most remote villages in Eastern Nepal (and I know there are many). I had a chance to take a bath in the river near Tingtale. I think the porters and Sherpas were confused and amused by my dirtbag/Yvonne Chouinard ways (considerably rusty by a decades of desk work) but that is ok. The 40 degree water awakened the body and mind, I did not get sick (unlikely in any case) and everything was good. We saw local monasteries, met some interesting people (farmers, hotel owners, school teachers, buddhist monks, retired Gurkhas etc.) and I gained an understanding of Nepal much deeper and particular than had I walked through the alpine wilderness of the Jaljale. I have had that experience for the past 40 years —spring, fall, winter and summer — in the Rocky Mountain West. Changing direction gave me something new. It also allowed me and Pemba to share our love of gardening. For three weeks as we walked through Nepal, we discovered the best flower gardens and small farms together.

When I came back to the US and told people about the detour, many found it unusual for me to have taken a vacation for so long through rural/non-tourist areas where nobody really speaks English and I don’t speak Nepali. It is difficult for most to understand, but slowing down, sitting, watching and listening are undervalued experiences in the West. At the time, I realized that my walk through Nepal was to be more in the mode of Thich Nhat Hanh than big mountain photo-op’s and high altitude bragging rights. Looking back now, I know the mountains will still be there but the idiosyncratic experience which I had was a one of kind journey. I stayed with his family in Suketar, saw local dance performances for Tihar and visited local Buddhist monasteries. All in all, it was a relaxing and personal exposure to everyday Nepal.”
— ~Steve R. St. Louis, MO

Itinerary Overview:

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu | 02: Full Day in Kathmandu & a gear check | 03: Full day sight seeing in Kathmandu | 04: Fly to eastern Nepal & begin trek | 04-26: On trek | 27: Finish the trek and fly back to Kathmandu | 28: City sightseeing | 29: Depart Kathmandu | 30: Arrive home.