Dr Sean Egan
Update: Monday 16th May,
By Harold Mah
Hello everyone. You will be
surprised to read that I am writing this final blog to you from my home in
Anna the Banana, Seamas the
Famous and I learned late last week (Thursday evening) that we had airline
tickets to leave Nepal on Friday afternoon. That meant late night packing and
power shopping on Friday. Anna and Seamas are now in Ireland with their
fatherís family mourning and putting closure to their loss. They are planning
to return late this week.
Details for Seanís funeral in
Ottawa will be announced by his family later this week and a Blog will follow
with the information.
Our final days in Nepal were
spent re-tracing Seanís footsteps to Everest Base Camp. We planned to do a
4-day trek to Namche Bazaar.
Due to cloudy weather
conditions, the first day of our trek, May 7, 2005 was spent at the Kathmandu
airport waiting for the skyís to clear over Lukla to allow us to fly and land
safely there. We spent over 10 hours sitting in the airport and on the
airport runway (we were actually sitting on the tarmac of the runway for 3
hours, so much for security).
At one point we were going to
take a chartered helicopter to Lukla and we were even seated in the helicopter
and then the flight was cancelled. They put us in an airplane and then that
was grounded because of weather. Finally, it was decided flights were
cancelled for the day.
On a positive note, we
learned that there were people at the airport that had been waiting for 3 days
to catch a flight to Lukla. Our wait didnít seem that bad after all. Also,
my friend Todd decided to join us for our trek and see a part of Nepal he
hadnít seen in his past 7 weeks of travelling. Anna and Seamas found joy in
feeding the monkeys that live in the area around the airport. Lapka Tsheri
Sherpa who was the climbing guide for Sean would also be our guide for the
trek. This would provide an opportunity for Anna and Seamas to talk to the
last person who was with their father before he passed away.
The next day the sky cleared
and we were off to Lukla. They were amazed at the flight scenery and the
incredible landing strip built onto the side of the mountain at Lukla
airport. A number of the airport staff recognised me getting off the airplane
and welcomed me back. What a surprise! An easy trek to Phakding was the goal
of the day. For the first time I observed Anna and Seamas demonstrating the
fun qualities of being brother and sister. Jokes and picking on each other!
Seamas starting the first signs of a true trekking experience. A
gastrointestinal infection (GI) was starting in his system (you can use your
imagination)Ö. Lapka shared his sadness with me about the loss of Sean. It
was very touching and very sad.
The next day is considered
the toughest part of the trek whether youíre just going to Namche or going all
the way to Everest Base Camp. A 2,000-foot climb is the final approach to
Namche. However, on the way you cross 3 suspended bridges over some of the
most spectacular rivers and valleys you will ever see.
On the way, we saw the winner
of last yearís Everest Marathon run by. I was able to enjoy the trail again
as it was full of life because the trees and plants were blooming. The air
was full of wonderful smells except for when the occasional Yak convoy went
by. The month prior when I came up with the expedition, everything was still
dormant. Perhaps this was Seanís spiritual way of showing his children why he
came and loved the country of Nepal.
The climb up Namche proved to
be very hard for Seamas. His GI was now full blown and he suffered up the
entire climb. He was sick quite a few times yet carried on to Namche. We
were all very proud of him and we all agreed he is very dramatic when not
feeling well. His sister did the best she could to look after him. I canít
describe this in words so if you know or ever meet Seamas ask him about his
double poling technique for trekking. Iíve never seen it in any guidebooks.
Upon our arrival into Namche
the children and Todd loved the place. Built into a valley and with numerous
shops selling souvenirs and trekking gear Namche is a very interesting village
of 1500 people, which mostly serves the two trekking seasons of the year in
Nepal. Anna went shopping of course and Seamas had to sleep because of his GI
and effort getting to Namche. I was able to visit a number of people I met
the first time I came to Namche. We also bumped into a trekking group we met
the previous day from New Zealand. They informed us three of their trekkers
had stayed behind in Phakding because of a GI infection that had similar
characteristics to what Seamas was suffering from. In other words, a bug was
on the loose in the valley.
The next day was the most
memorable day for Anna and Seamas. The clouds finally disappeared which
allowed us to take a short morning side trip to two lookouts. The first
lookout was located in Namche and the second on the trail that leads to
Everest Base Camp. We were finally able to have a clear view of the Himalayan
range and their fatherís goal, Mount Everest. There was an incredible plume
coming off Everest that day. We were all awe-struck.
Seamas was feeling 100%
better and ran down the same hill he was sick on the previous day. Everyone
was happy we came to Namche. For the children, it was the first sign of
healing and closure.
Upon our return to Lukla, we
learned there were no flights that day to take us back to Kathmandu. The
result, an anything-you-want-to-do day in Lukla. Anna went shopping againÖThe
highlight of the day was watching Anna and Seamas eat two kilograms of ripe
tomatoes. For some odd reason they couldnít stop eating tomatoes. By late
afternoon we ended up playing Euchre and drinking Everest Beer in the teahouse
we were staying in and arguing on how to pronounce our Porterís name. Anna
and Todd tried Yak meat for the first time and survived!
We caught an early flight out
the next day. Lapka stayed behind in Lukla because he was preparing to head
back up to Everest Base Camp. I know the time he spent with us was very
therapeutic. He got along amazingly with the children and we strengthened our
bond. Lapka talked to Seamas about his father, which I hope will allow him to
move on with his mourning.
Later that evening we learned
we were leaving the next day for home or Ireland.
This concludes my journey of
a lifetime. My 49 day trip was like a book full of very different chapters
which I will never forget.
Being with Anna and Seamas
has allowed me to put closure to Seanís death. They are great young adults.
We had a wonderful time in Nepal to talk about their father for 8 days. I
hope I have helped them with their grieving process.
Some of you have asked me via
e-mail if I would ever come back to Nepal. ABSOLUTELY! The country is
amazing. Iím even considering organising a small trekking trip for 2006 and
another climbing trip for 2007. I have unfinished business here.
The guiding company we used,
operated by Kili Sherpa, is amazing. His staff person Shankar Gurung arranged
all our in country trip details. Shankar was the one that got our airline
tickets to fly out of Nepal. If it werenít for him, we would be in Nepal
To the trekking team, I miss
our laughs and team dynamics. I know some of you still are still mourning and
I hope I can help you with closure when I see you.
Dr. Sean Egan, he had a goal
and brought with him 16 other people from diverse backgrounds to share his
dream. His tragic death didnít mean we didnít accomplish our goal. Knowing
Sean he knew regardless of whatever happened it would become a trip we would
never forget and in some small way we would forever be joined in the various
spiritual ways he preached. Sean could make us laugh or cry. He was an
We hope to keep Seanís name
and legacy alive. Preliminary talks with the Founders of Child Haven (www.ChildHaven.ca)
have taken place to start a fundraising effort to build a school in Kathmandu,
Nepal. If you are interested in helping in some way, further details will be
sent out in the very near future.
Finally, to all the Blog
readers, thank you for joining us on our trek and sharing your messages with
me. Keep your dreams and goals alive and obtainable. Donít hold back and
never regret your decisions. I look forward to one day reading about your
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