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My Passion from the Mountain

In 1991 there was a total solar eclipse on the big island of Hawaii and parts of central Mexico. Our travels plans were secured for the tropical air of the Pacific Isle. Tucked under my arm was the book de jour, for me the book de semaine. I carried the book everywhere and read it occasionally until it got my mind into the heart of the Dalai Lama. His account of the changes in Tibet was stunning and heroic. "Where is Tibet?" I pondered as the final chapters rolled up in to my brain. I concluded that Tibet was north and east of India as the story has everyone fleeing to the south and west. "Nepal had to be somewhere in the area, but where?" were my thoughts as I closed the back door on the book.

The next time that I thought about the Himalayan area was in 1996; right around my birthday in April.

Janice Held 1997
Janice - 1997

16 people had died on Mt. Everest that spring. And just by happenstance IMAX had filmed the whole event, which they released in 1997. When I watched the recreation I remember looking into the eyes of a small Nepalese boy, somewhere along the trek toward the mountain, and wanting seriously to meet him. Actually, it was a little bit more like I had to meet him.

Two years later I seriously read, "Into Thin Air" written by Jon Krakauer. Once again I found myself living on the mountain. While on that big adventure, I also met Beck Weathers who was "Left For Dead," and his account of that spring tied the knot. I had to go there for myself. I had to see the mountain that begged for so many souls and mystically beckoned to all.

The first trip I had actually planned was for October 2, 2001. I failed myself, maybe, by not following through with the plan. Years later, I found the original (circa April 1999) sketchpad where the plan began on paper. I had wanted to take a group of (recovered) anxiety sufferers on a trip of courage. That old sketchpad revealed the travel image, "A dozen mighty people will journey to Kathmandu in Nepal to prove to themselves and all that anxiety can 'Take a Hike.'"


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