“In a remote kingdom hidden in the Himalayas, there is a trail said to be the toughest trek in the world—twenty-four days, 216 miles, eleven mountain passes with some over 16,000 feet in elevation. Fewer than 120 people a year attempt the trek and less than 50% finish it.
In 2007 Kevin Grange decided to go on an epic adventure to the country of Bhutan and take on the infamous trail, the Snowman Trek. He was thirty-three, a struggling screenwriter and wanted a timeout from his life in CA. Against a backdrop of Buddhist monasteries and soaring mountains, Grange ventured into a rarely seen part of the world with time-lost villages and sacred valleys. In the process, recounted here with a blend of humor, candid introspective, heartfelt poetic insight, and observation, he tested the limits of his physical endurance, met an interesting assortment of characters, and discovered truths about faith, hope, and the shrouded secret of blossom rain.
Beneath Blossom Rain, Grange’s account of his journey, packs an adventure story, a romantic twist, and a celebration of group travel into a single entertaining book. The result is the ultimate journey for any traveler, armchair or otherwise. Along with high adventure, it delivers an engaging look at Bhutan—a country that governs by a policy of Gross National Happiness and that many regard as the last Shangri-La.”
Most people needing a timeout in life don’t think about undertaking a 24 day, high elevation, 216 mile trekking adventure in the Himalaya. However I do and that is why this book resonated with me. Life is full of challenges and sometimes we need to step outside our everyday routines and take on something completely different. We need to reconnect with our inner child, be a kid again, hike, explore and look at people, nature and life with fresh eyes. When you do this, it is amazing what you will discover.
The author does a beautiful job expressing his inner thoughts and heartfelt observations. He captures these in poignant statements such as: “There are two kinds of people on the planet- those who make your world larger and ring with possibilities and those who make your world shrink.” In another part of the book he describes putting away his camera instead of capturing a moment in time of a young Bhutanese boy casually standing next to a fence. Granger writes, “some moments should be left alone and simply lived.” In this day and age with social media, cameras on our cell phones, Facebook and Twitter, we forget to just live in the moment. Let our eyes and mind capture what is before us. We forget to just be where we are.
Anyone looking to join a group adventure trip or who has ever been on one can relate to the unfolding team dynamics Granger describes throughout the trek. He includes interesting history, religious and cultural facts. His search for understanding and seeing the Bhutanese term “Blossom Rain” is heartfelt. When you go on adventures like these, it is more than trying to physically accomplish something. It is mental and life changing. Or at least it should be. It really is about the journey and not the destination.
Beneath Blossom Rain: Discovering Bhutan on the Toughest Trek in the World
By Kevin Grange
– Paperback: 352 pages
– Publisher: Bison Books (April 1, 2011)
– MSRP $19.95