From Machhapuchhre To Mount Hood

archana parajuli

The Snow Girl: Lady from Pokhara where people experience the world famous mountain Machhapuchhre in Phewa Lake, got opportunity to play with snow only after she reached the States. So how was the adventure? “Might have been romantic,” she writes in this blog, “if only I had been with my boyfriend.” And quickly adds, “damn.”

By Archana Parajuli in Portland, OR.
Saturday Blog. Theme of the blog: Lost, Alone, Invisible & Empty

The truck was stuck in the thick snow. We could do nothing, there was no help in sight and it was too late and risky to head to the highway eight miles to the south. There’s always the danger of hyperthermia. It was 6 o’clock and it was already dark. We were doomed, for the day at least. We’d have to do away with the jeep and the little food we had carried. Good lord, this was a situation unexpected.

It was my first tryst with snow. Hadn’t touched it or felt it, ever. But let me tell you, the situation I was in wasn’t as romantic as shown in some movies- being stuck in the middle of nowhere, where even the cell phone was adamant to throw up some signals (Might have been romantic if only I had been with my boyfriend… damn).

December 17, 2005: Having just finished the finals, I had a late night. I had watched Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl, one of my favorites (I just can’t seem to get enough of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom). My uncle woke me at around 7.50 and asked me if I wanted to go to the mountains. I wasn’t prepared at all. But I knew if I didn’t grab this opportunity another was far away. It seldom snows in Portland.

I born and brought up in a place where Machhapuchere [aka Fish Tail] seemed like it was just an arm’s stretch away. That was in Pokhara, the place I call home. Seen it covered with snow all the year round. But here I was in America craving to touch the snow. And I’m the one who goes around telling people that I come from the country of Mount Everest (that’s the situation for most of the Nepalis I guess).

We left at around 8.15. We’d go to Chad (our neighbor)’s property which was at the other side of Mt. Hood, east of Portland. We’d snow hike and also get some firewood and a Christmas tree. YO HO.

There were three of us- me, Chad and my Uncle (I call him Kaka). The trip was really good. I was enjoying every moment of it. Snow ball fighting, clicking pictures and eating in the under construction- ultra modern shack that had come along with the property. Chad had bought this property of 80 acres with some friends some 2 months back. We could see deer roaming around and also foot impressions of rabbits and elks (Chad is a hunter so he could tell which foot impression belonged to which animal). This was real break for me. Being in America and being able to enjoy the nature sounds like a contradiction but hey, there is more to America then just the high rise buildings, burgers and Bush’s crap!

Archie with her Kaka.

Kaka had to make it to a dance competition at my cousin’s school at 6. He was one of the judges (you are supposed to laugh at this because anyone who knows kaka will know judging a dance competition is just not his thing). So at around 2.30 with some firewood and a Christmas tree we headed back.

Chad is someone who loves living on the edge. Adventure is what he is made for and he wasn’t getting one today, yet.

We reached a cross road. Now we got to decide if we wanted to return the way we came or try out another way, which would have snow all the way. Well, you guessed it right we took the snowy road. We had passed some 16 miles when we realized that the road had not been ploughed for quite sometime. My uncle was intuitive enough to say- hey lets go back and return the way we came. But Chad and I wanted to keep on driving that way. It was more fun to be driving in the snow between the woods than in the smoothly tarred road and also, the highway was much nearer if we kept on going this way.

Brrum brrum! The truck didn’t want to move further. We got out and checked the wheels. It was in deep snow and the time was exactly 3.50.

Now all we could do was wait for other vehicles to come by which would perhaps help us out. But we had just passed two trucks on our way and that was it. We had left them far behind. Thinking we could perhaps find some help anyway Chad decided to run the way we came (not all the way but about 1-2 miles). Kaka and I would be in the truck and see if any other vehicle came by the other way.

We waited and waited and waited. And we still waited. We hoped that Chad would find someone to help us. It was 6 when Chad returned. Our hope turned into despair when he said there was no one in sight and that we had actually missed a sign saying the road was closed starting December 15. The trucks we had passed on our way surly must have seen the sign and returned back. Bravo, what an adventure.

Archie with Chad

There was no option for us besides sleeping in the car for the night. We decided we’d walk to highway 35 early in the morning and see if we could send the message home and ask them to pick us up. We kept our fingers crossed praying that everyone at home wouldn’t go hysteric and start a search operation in the night.

We cuddled up in the car, turned on the heat and ate the tortilla chips (it turned out to be my breakfast, lunch and dinner) with some good dip kaka had prepared out of avocado. The boiled eggs and the tinned sardines we found in the car would be our breakfast (we thanked Isabel, Chadâ??s partner, for forgetting the sardines in the car. That was a blessing).

It was a typical winter night (it’s not yet winter though. I think they call it fall). Had we been filming a horror movie the set was perfect. Full moon, three people stuck in the middle of the woods, and the cell phone dead. The trees were throwing eerie shadows and the howling of the wind could make someone like me do what kids do the best (I’m strong when it comes to living beings but dead people. Encounter with one would be my worst nightmare and I fear that every night.)

None of us could sleep. And especially me who was always throwing a glance at the windows expecting the face of lord Voldermot pressed against it. I was least bothered about dying because of the cold but being killed by some GHOSTS.

So began the story telling. Kaka went on to tell the story about his life and Chad told his. Mine wasn’t even an inch interesting as theirs so I just shut up. We dozed off at around 3. The window was all covered with ice when we woke up at 5.30. (Thank god didn’t see anything. Maybe because this was America. I guess there are no ghosts here.) We had our breakfast and headed out towards highway 35. It was some 8 mile walk.

After a mile or so Chad decided he’d run and get to the highway ASAP and try and send the message home that we were safe.

The walk for kaka and me would have been an eternity but we starting talking about me and all the pressure that my parents were putting on me to get married to some ‘cultured guy from a good family’ and time flew. Yahoo, Kaka was on my side!

We were walking at the base of Mt. Hood. Even our eye lashes froze. But the walk was pleasant. There was so much energy within us. Perhaps it was the hope for a warm bath, our cozy bed and the warm food that was driving us on. Without even knowing, we were in the highway. Chad was waiting for us. He had reached there 45 minutes ahead of us and somehow managed to send the message home.

People from the Oregon Department of Transportation would come and pick us up and take us to there office. Our family would then pick us up from there.

It was not until we reached the ODoT office that we came to know that the search for us had started in the night at 12.30. Chad’s family and my brother were all around searching for us (there were 25 people looking for us!). All the rescue team in Oregon had been informed early morning. Thankfully the press hadn’t sniffed it yet.

The time hadn’t been that bad for us but I could imagine the anxiety of the people who were waiting for us. They had expected the worst. Some even thought we might have been eaten by some unidentified objects!

Well, we returned home. On our way, the icy rain started to hit and by the time we reached home the roads were all covered with snow. But there is no wow from me now. Iâ??ve spent a whole night in the snow, walked in knee deep snow with the icy wind blowing on my face. What is this one inch of snow? Nothing but solid water.

Archana Parajuli is a former Kathmandu Post reporter who is now studying in Portland, OR.

25 Responses to “From Machhapuchhre To Mount Hood”

Anjan Says:
December 24th, 2005 at 3:27 am

Oh yeh! My dear sis…It wasn’t as adventurous as it seems in the blog…especially for us who went on for the rescue….you guys dozed off at 3 am…we did not even do that

I_miss_all_fun Says:
December 24th, 2005 at 3:57 am

Next time you walk into the wild, inform me please! We won’t take kaka and Chad. It will just be us!!

He he!

Its an interesting story. Good that you all are fine!

13yLAMA Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 11:01 am
Thats very much interesting folks around himalayan mountain. This time is fine, so next time not you and kaka but you and me .OK

non- for- profit Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 11:15 am
come to the Moutains of Idaho okay….u and me

Evergreen smile Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 5:37 pm
Hi there,
What an irony that having born in the lap of Machhapuchre, u had to travel all the way to US to smell the snow. True, life is full of ironies! Still, enjoyed reading ur snowy odyssey!

Agya Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 7:47 pm
hey archana…
scary…..and I am “J”…but that doesn’t mean we give up our yeti searchin plans does it?? wink wink

Achilese Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 9:18 pm
My lord! you are not eaten by the snow.

Achilese Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 9:21 pm
Badshaha is waiting for you.

sanobahini Says:

December 24th, 2005 at 11:55 pm
unbelievably stupid. you never want to go in the high mountains like that without snow tires and chains or four wheel drive. and to keep the heat on in the car, you could have died of carbon monoxide poisoning. but it looks a lot like my home in wyoming. now perhaps some of you who make fun of me in wyoming as a few on this blog have will realize an amazing country, so immense. that is why i keep guns, too. because we have grizzlies there….mt. hood is amazing, but next time, come prepared, girl. either you, chad or your kaka were very immature and could have died out there.

oh, and about bush_ have some respect, please. he is our president, like him or not. we have given you a chance to come to our country, the land of the free, so please respect our leader. even if we disagree with his policies, we respect him as the leader of the free world, which you are enjoying right now due to our largesse i letting you in the door.

Rohit Says:

December 25th, 2005 at 2:25 am
I know of only one thing that is free in America—ignorance and stupidity.

twaaks Says:

December 25th, 2005 at 5:38 am
Ah! with bush, “you’re either with us or against us” no in betweens and no comments please!

Chandan Says:

December 25th, 2005 at 10:23 am
Archana didi,
U r enjoying holidays in snow! huh…u have gotten fat…anyowe see that…that skin thin Archana has gained some weight (not some but a lot)…even in snow her fat did not contract…too much of staurated fat gained…hehehheheh…

sanobahini Says:

December 25th, 2005 at 3:12 pm
we are not ignorant in america, the country that has brought more people out of poverty than any other countrz in the world, thanks to democracy and capitalism. and we are not stupid. if we were, we would not be the worlds lone superpower and promiting peace and democracy in your country, and around the world, wishing you the prosperity we do.

for us or against us is not the point. the point is we have a leader of the free world we respect. he is not an autocrat. he is not letting his own people suffer while he enjoys immense wealth. our president, in a country of 260 million people, makes US 200,000 dollars a year only. compare that to the millions and millions your king and your poiliticians have stolen from you poor nepalese. we have the rule of law in the usa, as well. whatever you think of iraq or other policies, we are proud to be americans and wave our flag with pride, not with shame, as many nepalese feel these days(and as you rightly shoudl feel, as it is shameful what the king, the politicians and the maoists are doing pushing your small tiny himalayan kingdom over a cliff)

oh, and yes, all of you who come to the usa on student visas, you are given VISAS. you are guests in our country. remember that.

and, finally, the point of this article was her unfortunate episode in the snow, which was a result of total and complete STUPIDITY. no one ever goes up into the high mountains like that in the usa without proper equipment. i live in a wilderness area in the usa. i have 4wd, carry sandbags in my car for extra traction, have emergency supplies, food, blankets and flares in case of emergeny. we have huge amounts of wilderness in the usa where there are few if any people, huge amounts many many times larger than little nepal. she could have died out there, and it is no wonder they were out looking for her. it was just plain foolish.

Archana Says:

December 26th, 2005 at 2:05 am
hello sano bahini ji,
i’ve seen u make to the point tht u comment on everyone’s stuff no matter how weak ur argument is.. for ur saying that we should be ashamed of ourselves and our country ur r absolutely wrong.. why should we be ashamed? we are proud to be nepalis.. mind u not nepalese…. but nepalis…… we see a silver lining in what ever is going on in our country at this time…. u hav every right to show ur patriotism but hav no right to question ours.. we r proud to be nepalis…. yes we are guest in your country.. now please brag.. but ur country is made up of all the immigrantes, u too perhaps come from an immigrant family…. u guys dispalced the native americans.. encroached their land and settled in.. well who should be ashamed me or u? we’ve not done anything unethical to others.. what ever is happenning is happenning within our country..and we’d love it if u’‘d stop judging us..

BOSS Says:

December 26th, 2005 at 5:25 am
wassup!! nice blog!

twaaks Says:

December 26th, 2005 at 7:03 am
Well… Dear Ms. Sanobahini, it was not my intention to offend you in any way but since you seem offended, let me clarify my position. Let me analyze your comments point by point,

“we are not ignorant in america, the country that has brought more people out of poverty than any other countrz in the world, thanks to democracy and capitalism. and we are not stupid. if we were, we would not be the worlds lone superpower and promiting peace and democracy in your country, and around the world, wishing you the prosperity we do.”

well I never said that you were ignorant or that you were not rich. so please do not impose your complexes on me.

“for us or against us is not the point” – well what is then? you invaded a country based on that doctrine and president bush did estimate 30,000 death toll in iraq, incidentally that is a 100 times more people that were killed during 9/11. even if you assume that iraq with saddam plotted 9/11 that is unjustified. unless of course you equate 10 americans as 1 iraqi.

“the point is we have a leader of the free world we respect”

that you respect. the fact that you respect him does not mean that the whole world has to respect him. unless if you force it upon peoples throat by promoting your magnamity. respect is something that must be earned, it does not come because of position or heredity or else prince paras would
have been the most repectable person in the world.

“he is not an autocrat. he is not letting his own people suffer while he enjoys immense wealth. our president, in a country of 260 million people, makes US 200,000 dollars a year only. compare that to the millions and millions your king and your poiliticians have stolen from you poor nepalese”

well what about the multinationals that have sucked the blood of poor people too? every company from enron (remember those guys? they wanted to develop middle marshyangdi) to the drug companies that would not extend the patent right to indian companies to develop medicines against the SARS or the AIDS that can be distributed to people at a cheaper price.

“we have the rule of law in the usa, as well” – yes you do, but is it perfect and is it the only way that you are so sure that you would export it to every country in the world to be made in your own image?

“whatever you think of iraq or other policies, we are proud to be americans and wave our flag with pride” – are you claiming this staement for all of America? if you are, isn;t that against the very essence of democrace where you claim that the very act of dissent is unpatriotic? I for one do not see a difference between king G, maoists or your president bush in this issiue.

“oh, and yes, all of you who come to the usa on student visas, you are given VISAS. you are guests in our country. remember that.” – we do remeber that and every day, because we are never made to forget. but please remember that we are allowed to have our opinions unless you say that “all people are equal but some people are more equal than others because……” fill in the blanks yourself.

“and, finally, the point of this article was her unfortunate episode in the snow, which was a result of total and complete STUPIDITY.” – that I very much agree with.

“i have 4wd, carry sandbags in my car for extra traction, have emergency supplies, food, blankets and flares in case of emergeny. we have huge amounts of wilderness in the usa where there are few if any people” – so does a lot of parts in the world

sorry for my irreverence, but I could not help myself, being the radical that I am…. I hope that you take this in good faith, the only thing that I wanted to point out was there can be more than one point of view to any opinion, satement or even a sentence printed in a newspaper or an online blog.

Sinke Changbaa Says:

December 26th, 2005 at 4:07 pm
U’re on my mind, ever since you have been gone
I keep thinking of you from dusk to dawn
Can’t wait for the day that you’ll be back for me
Coz without you everything is as meaningless as it can be…


sanobahini Says:

December 26th, 2005 at 11:09 pm
archana, can you not write proper english? i am shocked you are in the usa. you write like a child.

i am an american. i am part native american. native american tribes are doing very well in the usa. you did not even seem to know there was snow in the usa. so perhaps you do not realiye how prospersous many native americans are now. do you know many of the casinos in the usa that bring in millions of dollars are owned by native americans? go to the arapahoe nation tribe’s own website to read about their business and enterprises. they are the closest tribe to my home in rural wyoming.

i was born in america and my family came here in the 1600s. i am not an immigrant. i am a native born american and proud of it.

i am sorry you are so hateful to our country. but you are there because there is nothing for you in nepal. so instead of whining and bitching all the time, as most of you nepalese in the usa do, why not be thankful? why not stop complaining about everything and thinking that nepal is so wonderful and great. you know well it is not. otherwise, you would not be running away. look at how many are desperate to get dvd lotteries. the usa was great long before you were born. that is why most people in the world want to come there, not live in misery in a third world shithole…i used to live there, did some good work there, but now i am older and realize how lucky i am that i could LEAVE and go back to my beautiful country, America. the land of the free and the brave.

and if you don’t think so, then please, leave America. we do not need you.

archana Says:

December 27th, 2005 at 2:02 am
sad thing native americans in oregon don’t think the way u do and for my english, i had no idea u could get into such petty matters when u couldn’t prove ur point…… get creative and talk some sense or just fool urself about ur grand thoughts and ideas….spare the blog please..

krishna oli Says:

December 27th, 2005 at 3:36 pm
Thanks for your commitmets and have great vision to go reach. May our Lord Jesus Bless all of your in efforts. Have a nice day and take care
yours krishan oli
BOX 21343 ktm,NEPAL
Tel 97712042426

sanobahini Says:

December 27th, 2005 at 5:59 pm
spare us your utter stupidity, sanobahini. i will continue to blog. it is you who needs to look at your poor english and lack of knowledge of our country. perhaps you also need to look at your own country TODAY, not hundreds of years ago as in the way europeans treated native americans. you still treat dalits like dirt, there is still slavery (as in kamaiyanas), you treat people of darker skin color, like the madhesis, like dirt. talk about racism. until you are willing to address those issues in your own country, shut up about ours. if you went to any of the native american tribes in oregon, you would find people working, going to university, building great lives and living thousands of times more prosperous lives than you do in nepal. and you call that discrimination? i am half seminole indian and part african american and french arcadian. so i am a typical american mix.
i understand discrimination and racism more than anyone, but i have never experienced it more than in NEPAL, because of the darker color of my skin…and that is the truth. i worked for ICIMOD for 3 years and was treated quite well there. but outside, i often encountered poor treatment. i have NEVER experienced that in the usa, EVER. think about that, archana.

neutralman Says:

December 27th, 2005 at 7:01 pm
Hey are you really american? Your english doesn’t sound enough american either. I agree Archana’s tiring description is almost bogus, but I agree with her regarding what america is. (Except soem factual errors). And you, too native an american, have u read ur own history how american history is colorured with black and colored’s blood? Yeah, please visit ur own Washnington museum. U will know better. And if u are upto telling Arche leave america, it’s just as much appropriate for you to leave our blog alone and not contaminate with your filthy yankee yawns.
Not so sweet talking.

ILoveNepal Says:

December 28th, 2005 at 1:49 am
Sanobahini ji,

I do not understand why you would say that we should be ashamed of ourshelves.We Nepalis love our country and there is no right what so ever for an American or any foreigner to call upon us and say that we should be ashamed of our native. We definitely are worried that things are not right in Nepal and we have the faith in ourshelves that we are going to fix it. It may take time but that time will come when all of us Nepalis will be as happy as anything and anyone can ever be.

As to the comment on “Bush’s crap” as stated in the blog…We respect America and Americans but that does not mean we HAVE to respect the current administration. And as a matter of fact, there are 50% of Americans themshelves who think that this administration whatever it does and says is crap (well may be more than 50% now as his approval rating is in the lower 40%). They feel that this president have lied to the citizens…is not a lie from such a powerful and well distinguished person to its citizens a “crap”? may feel differently but I definately favor the other 50% of Americans who think it is.

Sorry that you were treated in a way that you should not have been treated while in Nepal. And sorry that you do not really know what Nepal and Nepalis are all about. May be you were confined within the foreign world of ICIMOD than the real Nepal. I can put my experience here too…that being of a darker color (being a Nepali and the sad thing is that about 50% of the people here who I have talked to in the US do not even know Nepal exists) I have gone through a lot of harassment. I have not made a big deal out of it..I know it happens in Nepal (an underdeveloped third world) and I am surprised and shocked that it happens here in the US too (the most developed and the most powerful country in the world).

Keep on blogging…That’s your right but do not think that being from a third world that we are, we do not deserve respect. Take your words back that “we the Nepalis should be ahamed of ourshelves”.

Thank you

neutralman Says:

December 29th, 2005 at 4:50 am
Hey Guys,
Sanobahini doesn’t have a healthy brain to understand all these literary philosophical write ups. At the best she understands grade 5 langauage, and can know if there are grammatical errors. She boasts she worked in ICIMOD (it’s how she knew Nepal), but perhaps she worked as a typist or enterpreter. So please do not focus on her – just ignore her.

Programmer Says:

December 29th, 2005 at 9:04 pm
archana sis, welcome back to your nice words i do pray it. I’m expecting sweet and mild words from you. I do njoy read ya blogs






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