Laurie Plante was inspired to send the following note to friends,, family and supporters following her journey to Tibet:
I DID IT!!! Thanks to each and every one of you that made this part of my journey possible. I have had this on my bucket list since 2011 when I first heard Dr. Deming speak at a conference I was attending. He spoke of prayer flags, Above and Beyond Cancer and his mission to elevate the lives of those living with cancer by helping them scale mountains all over the world.
I CAN TRULY SAY…I CLIMB MOUNTAINS!
Over the course of six days, we hiked 75 miles from Simikot, Nepal to Hilsa, Nepal on the border of Tibet. We reached an altitude of 15,000 feet at Narala Pass. The terrain changed daily, and each day was magnificent! We trekked through rocky mountains, lush green hills with waterfalls around every bend, on paths shared by natives and their families, and through herds and herds of goat and sheep. We passed through many, many villages, mingling with the children, handing out toothbrushes, pens, candy, and anything we could find in our packs. We visited monasteries along the way, had views of the powerful Karnali River and took in the beautiful scenery filled with fields of wheat, barley, corn and rice along the mountainsides. The closer we got to Tibet the terrain changed to desert-like with very steep and narrow rocky paths.
We crossed over the border into Tibetan territory by foot, swaying over a suspension bridge, managed to “sneak” through Chinese customs and then caravanned to our destination of Darchen, Tibet. Here we started our trek around the Kora and took in the massive view of Mt. Kailash. The circumambulation took us three days on foot, and we witnessed pilgrims prostrating around the SAME Kora that would take them four to six weeks! We hiked 32 miles and reached an altitude of 18,234 feet as we went through Dromala Pass.
Wherever you have friends, that’s your country and where you receive love, that’s your home.
Our wake-up calls were anywhere from 3:30 am to 6:00 am, but always with a hot cup of tea and a smiling Sherpa! Our days started with morning yoga, prayer and reflection lead by Dr. Deming …. Time had no meaning!
We ate like kings! Family-style for breakfast and dinner, sitting among fellow hikers at long tables, joining in fellowship, stories and sharing what delighted us, moved us and surprised us throughout our day. Lunch was served picnic-style along the mountainside, or from a sack lunch that was prepared by the Sherpas beforehand.
Our Sherpas were amazing to say the least! They loved to serve, sing, dance, meditate, pray and laugh! They made our trip so memorable, and I will never forget them for how they helped each and every one of us with such patience. There is a Tibetan saying: “Wherever you have friends, that’s your country and where you receive love, that’s your home.” I truly felt at home among family while I was halfway around the world!
My life has been forever changed, and I am grateful to all here at home and in Nepal and Tibet!
I have found yet another family in Above and Beyond Cancer and can’t wait for the next journey … YES! This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (besides surgery). But I cannot WAIT till the next mountain!
You can read more about Laurie’s journey and see inspiring pictures at Everything Happens for a Reason.