Costa Mesa, California

April 28, 2008

Family and Friends:

I have been home now for almost one week, and I am feeling really well.

Our trip started as a trek to Everest Base Camp for my daughters–Lori and Amy–and a climb of Mt. Everest for me. This was to be a reprise of my 2007 Mt. Everest climb in which I reached the South Summit (28,750 feet), just a wee bit short of the true summit (29,035). But, this year I was brought back to the reality that my plans are not always His plans. I accept and embrace this reality. As I look back on our adventure, both before and after I fell ill on the mountain, the true purpose of the trip has come into sharp focus. We had an eventful, rewarding and totally successful trip.

After Lori and Amy rejoined me at the Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, we made one more visit to the orphanage. We started by playing a dvd of the Wizard of Oz for the children. None of these precious souls had ever seen or heard of this movie, and they were captivated by this wonderful story of adventure, hope, courage, love, friendship and family. Their eyes were glued to the television screen, and their emotions showed with every scene. They laughed hard at the Munchkins, and their eyes opened like saucers at the appearance of the Wicked Witch of the West. We made a gift of the movie to the children. After the movie, we took the older children shopping since many of them did not receive gifts on our first visit as we were expecting only younger children. Most of these children had never been inside a retail store, so they were thrilled to be told they could each choose three outfits. They busily searched for just the right outfits and proudly modeled them for us. All of the children were so pleased with their selections. After our shopping spree, we returned to the orphanage and played games–Musical Chairs, Duck, Duck, Goose and a balloon popping contest. We all had a great time. In the evening, the children sang for us and some of the younger children performed dances. This was the sweetest part of our visits to the orphanage. We said our sad farewells and told the children that we would try to return next year. At hearing this news, they broke into applause. In talking about the orphanage, I use the word “we.” But these visits to the orphanage were planned and carried out by my daughters with the help of Puchhanga. I am so proud of them.

Over the next few days leading up to our departure, we spent a lot of time enriching the coffers of the street merchants in Thamel. I tagged along because I was enjoying this time with my daughters. Puchhanga also came with us on most of these shopping trips. In order to get to the Thamel district from our hotel, we had to cross a busy intersection. In previous crossings at this intersection, we noticed the street children hustling drivers and pedestrians for money. These children, no more than 5-7 years old, would dart in and out of busy traffic knocking on car windows seeking handouts. They would stay late into the evening, well past midnight. One little 7-year old girl, wearing a dirty pink dress, caught our attention because she was so sweet looking and yet aggressive and street smart. On one trip home from shopping in Thamel, we decided to stop and talk with this little girl and her friend, a young boy about her age. We gave them a little money and Lori and Amy took them to a clothing store near the intersection and bought each one a nice new outfit. They looked so good in their new digs and each gave us a big smile that was all the thanks we needed. As we left the store, they darted off into the darkness of the night, calling out “see you tomorrow.”

As reported in my last post, we enjoyed a marvelous dinner with Asian Trekking at Kilroy’s restaurant in Thamel, and the following day, we attended church with Puchhanga where we participated in a Communion service. Our last dinner was at our favorite restaurant–Fire and Ice. We were joined by a young missionary family affiliated with the Assembly of God church. I have such admiration for these servants of God who have devoted their lives to improving the lot of the poor and impoverished living in Nepal. There is a special place in Heaven for these compassionate human beings.

Since returning home, I have reviewed our photos and videotape of the trip. I have over 5-hours of high definition videotape of the trip as well as lots of still photos. Lori and Amy each took over 1,000 photos. The still photos and video are breathtaking in quality. I will be posting some of these photos and videotape on my website in the next few weeks.

I feel more confident than ever that I will reach the summit of Mt. Everest. This was not the year, but next year brings new hope and possibilities. I place my full trust in the Lord. When the time is right, I will realize my dream. As far as 2008, my good friend, Billy Gomez, summarized my feelings in a message he sent while I was in Kathmandu:

“mr. b

i have followed all the updates. and as always i have really enjoyed reading them. I look forward to it. I get so excited when i receive an email telling me that a report has been posted. this trip has been special, no question about it. and in all honesty, the trip seems to have been a total and complete success, bill… it appears that the importance of this trip was based on connections: you being there with your daughters, the people in need at the orphanage that you’ve all provided so much for, the nepalese man who was able to share a much needed helicopter ride with you to the clinic in katmandu, … and most important, i think a deeper connection was reached within yourself. i am so happy that your health is on the mend and you were able to experience all of this. you didn’t get to THEE summit… but i think you reached one that towers even higher. congratulations, my friend. Billy”

I have great plans for the summer. I will begin full time training for Everest 2009 next week. On May 17, I will be climbing Mt. Shasta, which has been on my list for over one year. I will take that long-planned motorcycle trip to Banff Park in Canada on my Harley Davidson Road King Classic. Along the way, I will do some fly fishing in the rivers and streams. And, in August, Sharon and I will be traveling to Hawaii with our 4 children and our grandchildren. So, life is good. God is good.

Thanks for your support this year. I hope you will consider providing that same support in 2009.

In the immortal words of Dorothy “there’s no place like home.”

God bless you,