Residents share tale of exploring Mt. Everest National Park

A Shelton father and daughter recently returned from completing a hike in Nepal that they will never forget.

Mountaintops, mountain goats, and sleeping in sleeping bags during single-degree weather — Ria Dalvi and her father, Ashish,i said their experiences with the views, animals and weather conditions were certainly different, but they wouldn’t trade them for the world.

During the first two weeks of April, Ashish and Ria headed to Kathmandu, Nepal, in order to begin their exploration of the Mt. Everest National Park. After landing in Kathmandu, Ashish said, he and Ria boarded a small plane to Lukla, Nepal, where Mt. Everest National Park is located.

Ria’s mother completed the hike last year with a group of friends, and Ashish said that inspired him and his daughter to take on the challenge. According to Ashish, the family does a lot of hiking locally in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Colorado.

“The hike itself was 10 days long,” said Ashish before explaining the challenges of the hike.

Ria said some parts of the hike were steeper than others and there were portions that were literally composed of rocks.

“I would definitely do this hike again, especially with my sister, who said since she wants to go when she gets older,” said Ria. She explained that she and her father trained for the hike by going to the gym four to five times a week to walk on the treadmill at its maximum incline. “It was hard to accomplish but beautiful to see.”

Ashish said that even with the extent of the training they did to prepare for the hike it was still difficult after a certain point in their journey. After day five, when they reached an altitude of 14,000 feet, Ashish said, he began having trouble breathing.

“Everything past that was physically tough. There was less oxygen, so breathing was much harder, and because breathing was harder after every 15 to 20 steps my heart rate would go up and I would have to take a break to get my breath back and heart rate back down,” said Ashish.

This was their longest hike to date, Ashish said, and they learned a thing or two about how to appropriately pack.

“We carried a big duffle bag to carry our clothes, and a day pack with water, snacks, gloves, and hats in it as well,” said Ria.

“One of the things that I would consider for my next hike is making sure my day bag was much lighter,” said Ashish. “Walking around with a heavier bag is definitely a challenge.”

During their 10-day adventure, Ashish said, he and Ria were exposed to parts of the culture in Nepal they were not used to. The Dalvi family said their guides, who cooked for hikers at the end of a day’s hike, would not eat at the same time as those hiking.

“A number of times we would ask our guide to sit with us and have food, but until the last day they would not do that,” said Ashish. “That was a very interesting cultural difference that I encountered.”

Ashish added that the staff exemplified impressive physical capabilities.

“The Sherpas climbed the mountains with ease,” said Ashish. “They do this every day, but it was still amazing to see.” Just weeks after returning from their trip, the Dalvis said they are already planning their next hike.

“We talked about doing a hike at Annapurna in Nepal,” said Ria.

Ashish said one of the next hikes to cross off his bucket list is Machu Picchu in Peru.

“I’ve seen pictures of that and it definitely seems so beautiful and I’ve heard from people that life is amazing,” said Ashish.

The family is also planning to climb Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire this summer, according to Ashish.

“It’s a good challenge and a good one-day hike,” said Ashish.