The tragic power of nature
Stepping over boulders on a sandy trail that holds numerous bodies underneath posed the question, who is really in charge whilst we are out adventuring?
Often we are reminded of the true power of mother nature when out in the great outdoors, from pounding waves formed across huge ocean expanses to the ever changing alpine weather conditions; she never ceases to show her strength.
Two years ago today, the Gorkha earthquake struck Nepal and created such a devastating impact across the developing country. Something that certainly cannot be planned for resulted in a tragic loss of life, both Nepali and foreigners.
The Langtang Valley hiking trail, one of the World's most popular, only just officially reopened in September 2016 and during our recent trip to Nepal with our April group, we saw the damage is still ever-present and far-reaching.
Cracks scar the lucky buildings that remained upright and many still remain completely flattened.
Upon arriving in Syapru Besi (town of the Langtang Valley trailhead), a large land slide can be seen from town. Locals told us that a large rock went straight through a house at the bottom, killing the two residents inside.
In almost every direction, mountain sides bear scars from landslides from that day or from the many aftershocks that proceeded.
The most tragic, the landslide above the town of Langtang inside the Langtang National Park.
The earthquake triggered part of the Langtang glacier to fragment and a large sheet of ice became airborne, plummeting down the rocky mountainside between Langtang II and Langtang Lirung. In an instant and with an estimated force of half an atomic bomb, the mountain village of Lantang was almost completely wiped off the map. Only one house remained, tucked under a rocky outcrop to the side of the landslide. Trees on the adjacent side of the valley were levelled by the wave of force generated, blowing bark off their trunks. All trees can be seen strangely lying on the hillside facing uphill to those that dare look.
An estimated 310 deaths, including 176 Langtang residents, 80 foreigners, and 10 army personal lost their lives. More than 100 bodies have never been recovered, buried in the impenetrable mix of ice and rock (some estimates 30m deep in areas). Today the walking trail passes over the site and provides trekkers with a strange feeling knowing that bodies still remain below.
People of Nepal are inspiringly resilient and continuously show high resolve in the face of severe adversity. One of the world's poorest countries is still recovering and tourism back to the country and areas affected is significantly important to help communities in these areas.
Upon reflection, we never know when mother nature may decide to show her strength and where we are or how we may be affected. What we do know, is that we can learn so much from the Nepali people and continue on with life in the best possible way we can. We are proud of living in the moment and using our time to challenge ourselves, to learn about ourselves and other cultures and to help those less fortunate. If and when that time comes, we know we have squeezed everything out of the time we have been fortunate to share on this planet.
Would you like to help us make a sustainable difference in Nepal? Join us on our upcoming trips, visit www.thisworldexists.org/nepal for more information or to reserve your spot today.