Vail Valley traveler takes off-season odyssey
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY – Nothing could have prepared Eric Eves for the snow-capped peaks in the Himalayas – not even a lifetime in Colorado and several trips to Patagonia.
“Nothing compares to the Himalayas – they’re so rugged,” said Eves, 30, of Edwards. “It was like a personal heaven for me. You could never dream it that grandiose.”
Eves went in search of a new adventure for the offseason this year because he said he has a gypsy nature. He like seeing parts of the world that give him perspective, and the May offseason is the perfect time to do it.
“I want to keep exploring new, different places,” Eves said.
Eves, who works for a development company downvalley, also runs his own travel company where he takes groups on trips to China and Patagonia, located in the southernmost portion of South America. He’s no stranger to remote parts of the world, but Nepal was an entirely different experience.
“I have traveled in third-world countries, but Nepal was one of the most extreme,” he said.
Throw in a political uprising in the capital, Katmandu, and Eves got plenty of cultural exposure. He had seen recent U.S. State Department travel warnings to the region, but it didn’t stop him.
“(The travel warnings) don’t mean you can’t go there,” he said. “I had friends there on the ground – I knew I’d be OK.”
Katmandu was really just a gateway toward Eves’ real destination way up in the Himalayas – places so high that even the Colorado native felt the effects of the altitude. Eves and Annie Waterman, his Boulder friend who now lives in Nepal, were hiking around the eighth highest mountain peak in the world, Mount Manaslu.
The route around Manaslu was less traveled, and the journey took Eves and Waterman through villages where they’d stay in mud and stick huts, meeting local people who haven’t yet been jaded by tourists, Eves said.
“On the 10th day we crossed a 17,500-foot pass, completing the 14-hour trek in less than 12 hours, but not without altitude sickness,” wrote Eves in an e-mail to his family on May 20.
Eves wasn’t just looking for huge mountain peaks on this trip – he really wanted cultural experiences, which were plentiful in Nepal. He said he’d go from a Muslim village to a Hindi village to a Christian village. He loved the melting pot of cultures in the region.
“There’s like 27 caste systems,” Eves said. “The culture, just compared to here, is so different.”
Eves, now back at work in the valley, said he came back from Nepal with so much excitement for the world he had just seen and been a part of for a short time. It seemed like a universe away, and it was.
“The Nepali are a vision of human adaptation and positive spirit,” Eves wrote to his family. “I leave this amazing mountain range and evolving culture humbled, simplified, energized and with a broader prospective.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.