126 days: Anup Gurung

Today, the calm waters of Phewa Lake reflected the clear sky, an ideal setting for some solitary reflection and leisure. As I rowed the rented boat, the serene environment was only occasionally disturbed by the gentle splash of my oars. During this tranquil sojourn, I met Anup Gurung, a local guide who was assisting a group of photographers eager to capture the ethereal beauty of the Annapurna range at golden hour.

Having grown up in the foothills of these massive mountains, Anup shared stories of his childhood, when the peaks were both a playground and a place of mystery. His deep connection to the landscape was evident, as was his pride in his cultural heritage. Anup's life, interwoven with stories of adventurers and trekkers who had passed through these parts, was a vivid tale of resilience and deep respect for nature.

Our conversation drifted from the challenges faced by local communities to the changes brought about by tourism. It was a learning experience to understand the balance between growth and sustainability through his eyes. I returned to shore feeling enriched and contemplative, my mind buzzing with the stories of the mountains told by someone who calls them home.

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