Two Richmond Heights residents, strangers to each other, had a chance meeting in the Himalaya Mountains on Thanksgiving. One of them, Jim Renz, contacted Patch with the story.
This is Renz' telling of the meeting in the Himalayas.
I am a longtime Himalayan trekker, and was in Nepal this Thanksgiving, trekking in the Annapurna mountain region.
I was having my evening meal in a Gurung lodge in the village of Gandruk, when two other trekkers came in.
I said to one of them, "Are you Americans?" He answered that they were. I said, "So am I."
I asked him where they were from, and he said, "Missouri," and I said, "So am I."
I asked him what part of the state he lived in, and he said, "St. Louis," and I said, "So do I."
"Where do you live in St. Louis?" I asked, and he said, "Richmond Heights." I said, "So do I!"
With that, our eyes went wide, and we looked at each other in disbelief. But it was true. We were both from Richmond Heights, and we lived within a quarter of a mile of one another. The other Richmond Heights trekker is Rick Angevine. He was traveling with Kurt Calvert, from Glendale.
He was coming down the mountain from the Annapurna Base Camp, and I was heading up the mountain when our paths crossed that night.
Now, what are the odds of two Richmond Heights residents, trekking in the far-off Himalayas, on the other side of the world, meeting coincidentally at dinnertime on Thanksgiving evening in a remote mountain lodge? You tell me. In any event, I felt a lot closer to home as we toasted the holiday together that evening than I thought I would when I had rolled out of my sleeping bag that morning.
Renz later added this information.
By profession, I am an attorney in St. Louis. I have trekked in Nepal and the Himalayas over many years, and have always traveled with my Nepali friend, Subha Rai. The two of us have trekked up in the high Everest region as well as around Annapurna.
As for Thanksgiving night itself, when we met, Rick and his friend were heading down from Annapurna Base Camp, while I was heading up. It was an absolute coincidence that we were staying in the same Gurung lodge that night, and that we happened to be in the dining area at the same time.
After introductions, we had dinner and a few toasts to Thanksgiving with rakshi, a local moonshine, and laughed about this very curious coincidence, while other trekkers and locals looked on. Although we were over twelve thousand miles from Richmond Heights, on the other side of the world, in high and remote mountains, nevertheless while we sat there together, for a little while it felt like we were back home again.
My Thanksgiving dinner, by the way, was a Nepali dish called dhal bat, a combination of rice and lentil soup cooked with curry, and topped with meat and vegetables.
After dinner, we talked about trekking. Since this was Rick's first time in the Himalayas, I was curious to know how he and his friend, Kurt, had handled the high altitude issues. I also wanted to know about weather conditions higher up in the mountains.
Some years snow has been very heavy, and has caused some high mountain paths and passes to be too treacherous to cross. But this year, they assured me, that weather would present no problem.
After a while, we bade each other farewell, and headed off through the cold night to the warmth of our sleeping bags. By the time I awoke next morning, they were already gone, heading down to Naya Pul and trail's end.