(Scroll down to read the previous accounts of the Journey to the East)
It was my plan to trek in the high mountains before my return to India. Torben took a photo of our departure showing Tove and Jytte walking with a group of barefoot sadhus in orange robes, from left: Fut, Niels Ebbe, Hurtigkarl who cannot be seen except for his feet, Tove, me with a big basket à la Newari, Jytte and John. Most of them were seeing us off, only Niels Ebbe and Hurtigkarl was going on the trek; both of them I hardly knew, and Niels Ebbe I didn’t particularly like, but they were not going as far as I, who had planned to reach Junbesi, the first Sherpa village in a valley. A few days out we were sitting in a small settlement when we spotted a figure coming down the trail. It was a tall blond boy dressed in a white dhoti and with a crown of dreads. “Bhagawan Dass,” said Niels Ebbe. In ‘Be Here Now’ by Ram Dass I had read about Bhagawan Dass; the boy that set Richard Alpert on his path and brought him to his guru, and I had heard that he was around. It is always an occasion when you meet another traveler out in the mountains, and we ordered tea and sat smoking and talking for a couple of hours until we had to continue each his way. Bhagawan Dass said to come and see him when I returned, he was staying at Kopan, and when he described how to get there, I recognized the hidden house on the hill.
After a few more days my companions turned around, and I was on my own. The path went over ridge upon ridge. In the valleys lived the Hindus, but on top of the ridges I began to come upon Sherpa settlements. The Sherpas have been in the high parts of the Nepali Himalayas for the last 2-300 years. They migrated from Tibet and their language, culture, and religion are still Tibetan. Finally, in Junbesi, even the bottom of the valley is so elevated that the Sherpas have settled here. I stayed with a family for a few days and did a trek up the valley to the famous monastery Thubten Chöling. It is a beautiful lush valley, and it has a homey feeling for a Scandinavian person. When I began my trek home a little servant boy from the family I had stayed with caught up with me and insisted on following me. He had a tough life and I had been kind to him, so he had decided to throw his lot in with me. The next day he began to get doubts, and when we met a man from Junbesi he agreed to return with him.
I had been walking barefoot all the way and had constant trouble with my feet. On the way back I also got a stomach infection and could not keep anything in me. I felt weak, but there was no alternative, I had to go on. The last day, on the way slowly up the last ridge, I met an American who gave me a bag of trail mix. That proved to be the first food that didn’t go right through me, and it gave me good energy so that I strode along the ridge and arrived at the paved road with my stomach back in order and my feet tough and for the first time without any sores.