In the Footsteps of Sir Ed – Adventures in Nepal (Part Three)

“On a Mish” #130 In the Footsteps of Sir Ed – Adventures in Nepal (Part Three). Kathmandu to Phaplu. Thamel Eco Resort to Phaplu Airport / Runway. Kathmandu. 29.10.2015. When I was a kid I was taken to the Christchurch museum and was found in one of the tractors that Sir Edmund Hillary had driven to the South Pole asking my parents to “put the money in” to make the ‘ride’ work…

I’m sure I was swiftly removed from the historic treasure and then just as swiftly disciplined . As cheeky as my actions were, it did show that even at a young age I was keen to follow in the footsteps (or tractor) of the famous Beekeeper / World Class Explorer…

After many trips to Nepal I am now used to the chaos of the roads but you never forget your first time. Like other very populated parts of the planet, somehow thousands of cars, buses, trucks and scooters all seem to merge through each other like sand through a strainer. Near misses are just a normal part of everyday travel and, unlike in Aotearoa, the horn is used as a way of showing you are there instead of being used in anger.

I was grateful to survive the journey to the hotel and it was here the bricks of a mish began to fall in place. Firstly was the warm welcome and much needed assistance by the awesome staff at Thamel Eco Resort, and then I had a chance to catch up with the ‘big boss’ of the adventure.

Dan from Aotearoa is far from a suit wearing investor when it comes to his charity. From day dot Dan has been on the frontline doing aroha mahi in a country that remembers all the work Sir Ed did there after his triumph on Everest with Tenzing. The love and respect for the man was evident back then, and nowadays after years of work my bro from the Routeburn Track has become a very important person responsible for tons of work throughout Nepal. But at this stage the Active Hearts story was only just beginning.

Over the next night / day more team members assembled from all over the globe and we were introduced to Dan’s right hand man and a person who very quickly became a very good friend, Mr Arjun Adhikari.

The team was amped for an outing like no other and it was clear as day we had ourselves an international charity trek crew ready for battle.

Arjun & I above the Langtang Valley

From the hotel we headed back to the airport, and I was gripping the seat the whole way as we wove in and out of traffic. The chaos continued at the airport, as there is no easy way to navigate the place unless you have a fixer extraordinaire like Mr Arjun. Waiting in long queues is for the unlucky, and because we had a couple of legends leading the way we were through the mass of humans and out on the tarmac waiting to board our flight to Phaplu in record time.

Phaplu is far from the hustle and bustle of Tribhuvan International. A simple single landing strip had been carved out of the mountainside and the pilot had to circle the field to make sure there wasn’t anyone or any animals on the runway!

After circling the area the aircraft began the descent towards the smallest runway I have ever seen, let alone landed on…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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