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Follow the adventures of Mia Tarduno and Larry Lacerte as they blog about their travels.

Baretrax Diary: Where Do We Even Start?

Holy River?

Holy River?

We’re starting a series called the Baretrax Diary.  There are some topics we’ve been hesitant to take on because they are polarizing and politically charged issues facing humanity.  Issues ranging from climate change and single use plastics to the loss of community and the preservation of wilderness are complex.  We’ve been afraid to take these issues on without writing full blow research reports. The research is there. A quick search online can send you down that rabbit hole.  Instead these posts are designed to be quick snapshots of what we’re seeing as we travel about issues we’re passionate about. It’s easy to feel like it’s hopeless.  Change starts on an individual level and every person doing their part could add up to tip the scales and spur real change. An important first step is to start the conversations… so here goes.

Here’s the dark side of our trek on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.  It’s dirty. There was trash everywhere. At the start of the trail, there were wrappers and plastic bags scattered everywhere.  Even in the high alpine trash and more trash. There were piles of plastic bottles waiting to be burned. There were empty beer bottles at guest houses put to use decorating gardens or outlining walkways.  I marveled the resourcefulness and artsy side of putting the bottles to use but was frustrated that tourists could see what I was seeing and go right on ahead drinking and adding more empty bottles to the trash pile.  Numerous times I was on the verge of yelling at someone for blatant littering. I saw one man walk to a shop, buy a candy bar, tear off the wrapper, and promptly throw the wrapper to the ground. It’s ok someone else will get it...  We’ve got to change that mindset. 

I enjoyed the trek and it was a highlight of my time in Nepal.  I was shattered to see all the trash on the trail and everywhere else besides.  Traveling to the city really highlighted the waste management problem- pile it up or burn it.  In Kathmandu, I looked at their holy river and all I could see was a trash choked mass of brown sludge.  There was nothing pretty about it to my eyes. Where do we even start?