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Osborne reflects on trip to Nepal

The thrill of adventure is nothing out of the ordinary for 75-year-old Erwin resident George Osborne.
Osborne, his son, Brian, and grandson, Justin, had the opportunity to travel to Nepal in November 2014, just months before earthquakes devastated the country in April 2015.
“My son dreamed this trip up first,” George said in an interview with The Erwin Record. “Brian and my grandson planned this trip and we left back on Nov. 15. We flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. Then the next day we took a 40-minute flight to Pokhara. After we flew there, we took an hour car ride and hiked in the Annapurna range.”
An extraordinary view of the terrain awaited the Osbornes during their trip to Pokhara. Three of the world’s largest mountains – Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu – are within 50 kilometers of the city.
“Once we got to the trailhead, we hiked for about four hours,” Osborne added. The first night was a new experience for the family, spending the night in a smaller hotel in the mountains while taking in the experience of a tea house.
“Everything back in that mountain, all the supplies and building materials has to be carried on people’s backs or a mule train,” George said. “There’s no roads back through there. I met one guy carrying supplies. I asked my guide how much he was carrying and he said 80 pounds worth of supplies.
“They raise a lot of buckwheat, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach … all the animals you’ll see back in the mountains are water buffaloes and they use those for plowing.”
The hikes continued for four more days until the family split apart. Brian and Justin continued on while George and his guide hiked back out of the Annapurna range to take part in activities back in the city’s capital.
George made it 10,000-feet, while Brian and Justin went up to 14,000-feet at the Annapurna basecamp.
During his time in the capital, George had the chance to visit places that no longer stand.
“My guide and I went into Kathmandu and did a lot of sightseeing,” George said. “A lot of the old temples that I got a chance to see, fell down in the earthquake. When I was flying into Kathmandu, I knew this part of the world was prone to earthquakes like that.”
Following the earthquakes, George exchanged emails with the man who served as his guide during the family’s trip. His guide informed him that the family made it safely through the events.
While taking in the sights and sounds in the Kathmandu, George took in different shops while visiting different monuments throughout the area, until linking back up with Brian and Justin.
“I hung around there until they got back and then flew back out Nov. 30,” he added.
At the end of the day and with the months gone by, the trip still sticks in the mind of the Unicoi County native.
“It was a really special trip for me,” George said. “Especially with my son and grandson. When my son said he was heading that way, I told him his dad’s going with him.”
For now, a return trip to Nepal with Brian and Justin may not be in the foreseeable future but Osborne still holds a love for the outdoors and nature.
“I don’t know about all that,” George added with a laugh.