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General News · 5th December 2012
John Toelle

My wife Ann and I decided to go on a three week trek in Nepal this fall with local Quadra Islander Mick Bromely, owner of Wilderness Trekking. Normally I would avoid group touring, having visions of long lines of gabbing westerners walking in single file, but because Wilderness Trekking was highly recommended we decided to join their tour.

Wow! Are we ever glad we did. Mick’s expertise and local connections got us into places that simply would not have happened had we been on our own. The trek was up the Tsum Valley, an offshoot from the Manaslu trail, in Central Nepal. This Valley has been open to Trekkers for only three years. It is a back door into Tibet and is inhabited primarily by Tibetans whose ancestors settled there long before it became part of Nepal. It is an amazingly beautiful Himalayan valley with changing eco systems at every twist and turn of the river. The foot trail, which is the only way in and out of the valley, finds its way up into Tibet, passing through small villages along the way and becoming unpopulated as it approaches the final passes, territory that is now claimed by China.

Mick is truly an originator in his methods to guiding. He is constantly dreaming up new ideas and ways to make trekking work well for his clients. When he found out there were going to be several musicians on our trek he purchased a couple of (dirt cheap) Nepali guitars and we brought them along with us. In many of the upper villages our local guide would arrange impromptu house concerts for us to play. We were able to meet many locals, hang out in their homes and share their delicious moonshine, “arrack”. We played some of our best (and worst) western music, laughed with our hosts, and had moments of uncontrollable happiness.

Mick’s trekking style is quite unstructured but completely supported and safe. If you want to get up early and run up the trail with the lead scout or you feel like poking along at your own clip bringing up the rear, you will be accommodated. Over his many years in Nepal, Mick has fostered relationships with a crew of local guides, porters and cooks. Mick’s interactions with this team were full of mutual love and respect.

Wilderness Trekking is a strong supporter of the Umbrella Foundation ( www.umbrellanepal.org) an orphanage in Kathmandu. Along with fundraising efforts Mick sponsors young adults from the orphanage to come along on many of his treks as trainees, then as paid staff. This proves to be a delightful experience for the trainees and the trekkers as well.

There is so much more to say, but please come out to the Quadra Island Community Centre on Sunday December the 16th at 7:00 PM to experience a slide show presentation of the trip. If a trek to Nepal is on your bucket list….what can I say. Do it!

John Toelle