by Michael Peters | Photos by Ashley Peters
Three quick knocks on our lodge door wakes us out of a fitful, chilled sleep. Rolling over I look at my watch, it’s five am, and the mute grey early morning light is giving way to an eager sun, and we have a date at the top of the world.
My blonde headed, smart smiling brother Brad had met Ash and I three days earlier in Bangkok. After two planes, multiple taxis, potent smells of spices and sewage, getting lost once, the kindness of locals, some haggling bouts over rupees and a wild elephant, we began our five day Singilila Ridge Trek out of Manebhanjang in West Bengal, India.
Dressing warmly with heavy eyelids we make our way out of our first tea lodge in Tumling, which sits at 2, 895 meters on the border of Nepal and India. We shrug our shoulders to the sharp morning air and begin walking.
“This way,” our stout, warm guide James waves us through the small Napalese style village and along a rough cobblestone path leading to the view point. A couple of dogs curl up near a neat pile of hay as we pass a a small well with a hand pump, while prayer flags of white, green, blue and yellow sing wildly in the early morning wind.
Squinting we step atop the brown grassed hill and come face to face with Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third largest peak at 8,508 meters. “Oh my,” Brad exhales as Ash laughs giddy from the soul. Kanchenjunga stares immutable and serene with a broad golden lit face and austere peaks. We stand staring back in mornings ethereal light, silent mouthed, hearts flapping wildly like three prayer flags blown by beauty.
Have you gazed on naked grandeur
where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost…
Have you seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew).
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things —
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.
~ excerpt from The Call of the Wild by Robert Service
*We have been in India almost three weeks now and every bit of it has been incredible. We have rode hours and hours of trains, been to deserts, mountains and cities, been shocked, awed and exhausted, but have loved every minute of it. We are finishing our time in the north and fly south in a few days. Wi-fi is really hit or miss, but we will post some more of our India adventures soon. So much love. Ashley, Mike + Brad.