09: Finding Home on the Trail – Dolam, India

Dolam Layover

I took this picture to prove I survived my GI illness.

It struck me how quickly the life of the trail and living out of a pack in the high Himalaya became my normal. Over a week had passed of our expedition.

Most of our first food ration, I had spent in survival mode.

I woke up and spent the morning sterilizing cook pots in an attempt to stop the stomach sickness that jumped from one of us to another, two new people came down with it in the days after I got better. The rest of the day was spent splitting our 12 days of new food rations into cook groups.

Waiting for the other group to show up. I spent the early morning exploring the decrepit shepherd huts in the rolling fields. My imagination spun, playing with the ghosts stories of those nomadic herders staying in the abandoned buildings.

The gnarled trail that led us to Dolam. 

The rain chased us back into tents. As it pattered down, someone took out a ukulele and began strumming songs from the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Rodriguez. We sang “Hey Jude” and the rain and thunder seemed to play to our voices.

I felt like an old sun flower painted on the worn wood of my grandmother’s closets in the Colorado Rockies: cozy and warm despite the rain. A sense of peace, like the smell of my father’s homemade bread, was growing

Not a bad place to lay our heads to rest.

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