One fine morning I woke up excited for a new day. It was the day Amore, my two and half years old Maltese dog was all set to go in the Himalayas of Nepal. While planning my trek to the Manaslu Circuit, I was quite in a dilemma. My loyal pet who used to accompany me everywhere from clubs, beaches, parks to social gatherings whether to take her along for the trek or not. I was not sure if she could stand the mountain weather in rugged pathways. But wagging her tails, her eyes inquired, “Douglas! Am I going trekking with you right? ” I was moved by her behavior. I could not stop myself from taking her along. Instead, I started preparing for her flight. Excited to see her reactions in the rocky, snowy terrains I changed the flight thrice and finally landed in Nepal.
No sooner we reached Arughat our gateway to the trek, Amore excitingly started marching ahead of us. She was enjoying the countryside environment. The lush green hills and rhododendron trees were new to her eyes. Inhaling the fresh mountain soil and the pebbles on the pathway she was twirling in delight.
“You’ll never walk alone because I’ll always be with you”- her eyes spoke as she walked ahead of me. She was more interested in finding the pathway than I was. Every time she would walk ahead of me and check if everything was ok across the route. Brought up in the city, she had much difficult time walking on the rocky roads. Her paws had swelling and bled many times, still, she kept on marching ahead.
She was happy to walk freely in a pristine surrounding. Born and brought up in Italy, this was her first encounter with the hillside surrounding. On walking, wherever I stopped for water, she would stop by my side and freshen up. She was enjoying the icy cold water. I had feared that she might fall sick because of the river water. But to my wonder, she showed no sign of bad health in the overall trek.
It was a bit challenging for Amore to walk barefoot in the stone pathways. The small pebbles would hurt her paws and she had much difficulty walking down the rough road. But slow and steady she kept on moving. As usual, whenever in heights she would stop by to explore the surrounding she was walking into.
She walked fast, stopped to climb the boulders, inquire about the road ahead, but showed no sign of exhaustion. Wagging her tail, turning round around me, she would entertain me in short stopovers. On moving, whenever I held her in my lap, she would pass an alluring smile. We were delighted that we were walking together.
After long and tiring walks, whenever we stopped at the local tea shops or roadways, Amore would obediently rest on my feet. A loyal friend, she rested calmly beside me inspecting the typical villages of the trek route.
“Look at her! Posing for the pictures after the snowy walk”. Her fur was drenched in snow en route but she was guiding us all along despite the difficulties she was going through. She would walk ahead and discover the mystic sceneries and the panoramic views. And turn back to check if we were following her or not. To protect her from cold, I made her wear her warm hoodie.
Once I reached the top, I was exhausted and dog-tired. But look at her! Half of her body is dirt painted, and the hair rough but the stamina! I must appreciate. Away from the hustles of Italian cities, she seems to enjoy the tranquility of the snow-capped peaks. En route, whenever she saw any boulders, she would step over it to inspect the surrounding. Could be, she was trying to stay away from the snow even though for an instance.
This was the most difficult times we faced all along our trek. There was heavy snow and the route blanketed in dense ice. I could walk the snowy route. But my kid would drown in snow and catch a cold. I could not see her suffering, so I made her rest inside my luggage bag and carried her on my back. I even made her wear my woolen cap so that her fur does not drench in the cold. She was more curious about the route we were heading to. Avoiding the cold, she occasionally peeked from her woolen hat to inspect the surrounding.
The final destination of our trek – Larkya La Pass. The point when Amore was happy for being able to conquer the Manaslu Circuit. I have seen and heard many people trekking in the mountains, but a pet trekking in one of the remote trek I have never heard of. She was motivation for us during the difficult walks. We felt low, dehydrated, lethargic at times, but she never quit. Nor stopped at a single moment. She kept on moving ahead of us, guiding us in the land she had never traveled before.
On return, we had a pleasant mule ride. After the long trek, it was the blissful walk downhill. Amore seems to enjoy the ride as this was her first ride on the mountainous path. To reward her for her successful trek I offered a mule ride in the pastures and villages of the Manaslu region. From the very beginning of the trek she was active in marching ahead, but by the time we were at the end of the trek she showed fun in ride than in walks.