This time we were just sitting around in my brother’s North Beach apartment over Christmas discussing travel bucket lists with the family. It was one of those rainy holiday Sundays when you eat and drink yourself into a warm couch potato stupor. The idea just popped out of that part of my wine-soaked brain that controls the involuntary tongue muscles.
“We should do the Annapurna base camp. They call it the Sanctuary you know. It must be really special.
Are we out of brie?”
To ‘do’ the ABC, as it is known, means an eleven day trek in Western Nepal from a steamy hot 3000 ft to snow and ice at 14000 ft. … all to stand in a glacial amphitheater of some the most highest and dramatic mountain peaks in the world.
I was thinking, if that’s what you want to call it, that Nick is fresh put of school with not much of anything to do that he couldn’t interrupt for a few weeks, so the idea of the three of us going to Nepal seemed so … I don’t know … dad-macho ? Dad-macho is where you trash talk your son, who used to be 8 and is now somehow 23, into a game of one-on-one when you haven’t played basketball in 20 years and your first six shots miss the rim entirely and the seventh tears your rotator cuff. But the thing is, you see, Nick has taken to calling me ‘old man’.
I do have some history here. Just enough to give the idea some cred. I had been to the Annapurna region in central Nepal twice before. I trekked on a lower elevation circuit with Jacki twenty-five years ago, which a quick calculation indicates that I was at the time … let’s see … twenty five years younger. Then I went again thirteen years ago with some buddies. On that trip we ‘flinched’ and elected to fly in (and up) to Jomoson and then hike out (and down). A stroll really, and at that time I was teaching martial arts three days week … okay, it was to 10 yr-olds, but I was still in pretty good shape with all the punching and kicking. Nevertheless comparing those two treks with hiking to Annapurna Base Camp is like comparing a full moon party on the beach with actually going tothe moon. Anyway at that point, practically speaking, the likelihood of actually doing this was rather remote. I assumed the conversation would just move on.
But I forgot Jacki was in the room. The planning had already begun when I woke up from my nap.
This picture indicates where Jacki is in her Nepal planning