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Nepal 2016 – Annapurna Base Camp

Nepal 2016 – View From The Top (Annapurna Base Camp)

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Our weary but elated group hoisting the American flag in front of the Annapurna Base Camp sign in dry conditions (and of course we know we have a very international group with students from China, Turkey, and Israel represented!)

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Slightly more damp weather at Annapurna Base Camp in the midst of the monsoon at 4,130m/13,549ft

Trek leg write-up by Grace:

“So far, this trip has been hectic, challenging, beautiful, fascinating, but ultimately rewarding. [Following Murphy’s Law], everything that can go wrong has, and yet we’ve still pushed forward. After several relaxed days at Hotel Planet Bhaktapur, we hopped onto the bus to Pokhara and launched our trekking adventure. Our second and third days were our steepest, but on the picturesque misty walk through a grassy valley amongst hundreds of goats, we landed at Annapurna Base Camp.

Annapurna Base Camp Trekking

The view from Annapurna Base Camp in clear weather

The clouds covered most of the view on the morning of departure, but we managed to capture a stunning glimpse of Annapurna I. A few more days downhill past the wet tree-line (which really looked like a jungle but we couldn’t decide which…), plus a couple of surprise, never-ending staircases, we found ourselves at the end of our trek, in a bumpy jeep ride to a bus to Pokhara.

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The stunning, jungle-like terrain we encountered as we descended in altitude

After a chill day in Pokhara, we discovered the [lesser-known] restaurant here called “Mo 2’s.” Hit them up on Trip Advisor. The group consensus is that they had the best Momo’s we’d eaten all trip…”

-Grace Alston, July 2016

Momos

Momo’s, traditional Nepalese dumplings, have proved to be the perfect fuel source after miles upon miles of trekking

 

From new Trip Leader Trish Bennett’s notes:

“Hey Adam! A couple more photos are attached. A bunch from the trek. The canoe one is on Phewa Tal (lake) in Pokhara. The white building shots are at the International Peace Pavilion, a day hike from Pokhara. 
Co-Leader Mary and team aboard a canoe

Co-Leader Mary and team aboard a canoe on Lake Phewa Tal

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The International Peace Pavilion, a day-hike destination from Pokhara

My service is pretty spotty here in the village – but your whatsapps are eventually coming through! 
Mary and the group are all in good spirits and gave me a warm welcome when I arrived. The travel to the home-stay village was good and everyone seems to be enjoying their families, the village, and the food very much. There are lots of good stories at breakfast each morning of the interactions and communications with their homestay families. 
Yesterday was our first day of work at the school – we started by moving some of the lumber supplies from a classroom up to the second story where it will be used. Some of the students also worked on making the trail down to the village easier to walk on – digging trenches and making stairs in the dirt paths. That afternoon the whole group worked together to dig part of the quad area in the school to level it out for construction… Digging dirt with shovels, carrying it on trays and dumping it over a ditch. 
We have also been talking and brainstorming about secondary projects. Defne and Gabe have taken leadership on friendship camp idea and we are talking to Ratna about getting supplies for a world map project. 
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Enjoying the Vista from the Peace Pavilion

So far everyone is smiling and enjoying the dirt. Everyone is happy and healthy and really enjoying the home-stays thus far. 
Today Mary and I will visit everyone and their families at home!”
-Trish Bennett, July 2016
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Crossing a suspension bridge worthy of an Indiana Jones movie

While “out in the field,” Global Routes Co-Leaders diligently take notes on everything from the quality of the group’s restaurant experiences to taxi and hotel recommendations. Of course, this also includes notes on each student. We hope you’ll enjoy the following excerpts straight from our leaders’ journals:

Gabe is in very good spirits. He is enjoying his homestay family and work project. He is helping to spearhead the “friendship camp” project with Defne. Mary says he was very positive during the hike – that he was having a lot of fun even in the middle of a rainstorm. He has been spending his downtime with Edward and reading his book when he can.

Defne has been helping Gabe to spearhead friendship camp. She is taking the trip very seriously, looking for ways to learn and grow as an individual and a leader. She communicates very well and openly with the group. She’s really enjoying her homestay family/home and loves all the food.

“Cole has been working very hard at the worksite. He is enjoying his homestay and the service project. He has been spending time playing with the local children at the school during the work day when he’s not playing cards with the rest of the group.”

 

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Ancient terraced rice paddies we came across on our trek

Merak is working very hard to communicate with his home stay family, who speaks very little English. He has a very positive attitude, which helps to encourage the group – his energy is always contagiously high and he’s always working hard on the project.”

Josh is thriving in his homestay experience. He has been working hard on his Nepali in order to communicate with his host family – he teaches the other students new words each day. He offered to cook for his host family on the third night, and it was a big success in the form of tasty yeast pancakes.

Being received graciously by our host families

We were received graciously by our host families and were honored by a traditional ceremony

Jill has been working extremely hard at the worksite. She is always the last one to come back for a break and the first one returning to work (and usually reminding others to join her!) She has been getting dirty and staying very positive with all the work we’ve been doing.

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Exploring during Orientation in Bhaktapur

Edward, who’s not a native English speaker, has been communicating more and more with other group members as the trip goes on, talking and joking with them more every day. He is also making a big effort to speak Nepali with his host family and is helping to each other students. He is becoming a more vocal member of the group. He spends his downtime studying his Nepali phrase book or playing cards with the group.”

Grace has been working hard at the worksite, and has also enjoyed playing Frisbee with the locals. She has been doing really well in her homestay and really enjoys the food and hospitality there. She and her roommate really get along.”

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[Locked & Loaded – Ready to Go!]

Wilder is a very thoughtful member of the group. He helped to bring awareness during a meeting to some smaller conflicts arising in the group and how we can manage them. He’s been working hard at the worksite and also working hard at home to communicate with his host family, who speaks very little English. He has been enjoying the company of his group during down time.

Taya has been working very hard during the day at the worksite. She helps to bring order to the group when it gets a bit too loud and crazy. She is very open with her feelings – which is great as it helps bring the group up with her positivity.”

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Some of our students enjoying a well-earned vista with our trusty guide, Ratna. Check back in for our next blog post the following Tuesday!

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