Returning Home

Yak & Yeti Hotel
Kathmandu, Nepal
June 3, 2012

Namaste Family & Friends:

I have been stuck here in Kathmandu waiting for my bag to come down the mountain from the South side.  There have been no flights from Lukla for the last few days because of weather. Lots of trekkers, climbers and bags are stranded at Lukla. Tomorrow, I leave, with, or without, the bag.  I hate to leave the bag here for later shipment because it has lots of my film footage from the South side. But, I need to get home.

Before I leave, I want to thank all of you for following my incredible journey this year. It was a real treat to climb on both sides of the mountain, and the expedition was filled with adventure and excitement. When I get home, I will prepare the report I promised and will send along some photos and video. You will never know how much your prayers and support mean to me.

I also want to thank my wonderful family for supporting me on these adventures. I know it is stressful for them when I am away, and some of them probably wish I would take up a more customary hobby in my gray hairs, like golf or tennis. But, hard as I try, I have never been able to hit that little ball straight, and I am a terrible tennis player. I guess I like the extreme sports, which is why I own 3 motorcycles. So, I will continue to lobby for that family support I need so much and have always been able to count on.

I want to express my special thanks to my beautiful young bride waiting for me at home. We met when I was a senior and she was a junior at Burbank High School (yes, I robbed the cradle). We married in my first year of college and she gave me 4 beautiful children. In turn, they have given us 14 beautiful grandchildren. On June 17, Sharon and I celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Our plans for some travel to our favorite destinations (e.g., Hawaii & Hong Kong) will have to wait until Ollie’s condition is stabilized. He is our first priority right now. The wheels are slowly moving to have him admitted to Stanford University Hospital soon after I arrive home. Our return to the Stanford campus will be bitter sweet for Sharon and I since I attended Stanford Law School and one of our daughters (Lori) was born at the Stanford Hospital. I wish we were returning for different reasons. Thanks to all of you for your prayers for my little hero and Training Partner. And thanks to you Sharon for putting up with me all these years. I love you.



20 thoughts on “Returning Home

  1. Bill,
    thank you for letting us share in your adventure from the warmth and comfort of our house while you have to wonder what the next hour/day will bring. Congratulations on your climb from both sides and your decisions to take the correct turns. Your speech was exceptional and pointed out what often gets overlooked. Most of all, however, we think of Ollie and pray that he will get help at Stanford.
    Be well and Godspeed

  2. Bill…wow!!!! 50 years of wedded life and you look 45 years old to me…talk about robbing the cradle! The old Royal Blue and White Bulldogs of Burbank! Get home so you can put on some weight and we’ll have a nice “SPAM” lunch with a MRE as dessert…maybe some dahl baht as an hors d’oeuvre….ymmmm! Go Stanford Cardinal.

    John Dahlem

  3. I add my thanks to you for allowing us to share your adventures (albeit from the safety and comfort of warm, sunny summer environs). This was my third year following you and I love every vicarious minute. I wish you well in your travels home and will keep your family, especially Ollie, in my prayers. Congratulations to you and your wife (and family) on 50 years. You truly are an inspiration in so many facets of your life.

    Catherine (Charlotte, NC)

  4. We are glad to hear you will be returning home safe and sound, it has been fabulous following your incredible journey. We are praying for Ollie and trusting in the Lord to provide you and your family with spiritual strength and love during the difficult days ahead; He promises He will never leave us or forsake us.
    Bill & CJ

  5. Bill, you have endured physical hardship,and emotional heartaches the past two months, but you were never alone–He was there. “God always gives us strength enough, and sense enough, for everything He wants us to do.” (John Ruskin) Travel blessings,


  6. what a beautiful letter. i am a coworker of your nephew, Jeff Smestad.
    he introduced me to your adventures and i have waited anxiously for each and every blog you have posted. you have motivated me to get moving and hiking. my thoughts are with you and your grandson and his health. thank you for posting and letting me share a little of your world.
    karen h.

  7. Okay, I must confess, the true romantic in me teared up with this post– thanking the “beautiful young bride” waiting at home for you. Safe flight home.

    And can I borrow your minus 40 bag for Denali? 🙂

  8. Have a safe trip home, Bill. I am so amazed by everything that you have accomplished on this trip, despite all the adversity you encountered. You are incredible, and I hope to meet you some day.

    I know that your priorities will change once you get home and head for Stanford, but if it is not too much trouble, could you post an occasional update letting us know how Ollie is doing? I will be praying for him.
    God speed,

  9. Ollie is blessed to have a grandfather and grandmother like you guys. I will continue to pray for him and for his doctors. thanks for sharing your amazing adventure. You are such wonderful people. And, happy Anniversary. Love you both.

  10. Congratulations to you and your bride on 50 years together! You have created quite a legacy, and those grandkids have a lot to live up to! Praying for Ollie and praying for you and your bag’s safe travel home!
    Namaste Mr. Burke!

  11. Have a safe trip back home to your beautiful family! Happy early Anniversary and definitely thinking of Ollie!

  12. Congradulations 50 years is quite an accomplishment .Making good decisions is obviously a well practiced trait in your family.

  13. Hi, Bill – glad you are coming home. There is nothing like having a
    loving family – that alone makes life worth living. May God bless all
    of you and wishing you all a long and wonderful life. Hope to see you
    on the easier HPS (new) peaks again someday!

  14. Aloha from Maui Mr. Burke,
    Praying you have a safe trip home and your bag is able to make your flight. You are such an inspiration. Sharon, your kids and grandkids are so blessed you are theirs! We are all blessed by you too! Looking forward to a report of good news from the medical team at Stanford after Ollie is settled there. Keep us posted….. 50 years with your best friend…. does not seem possible since you and Sharon look like you are only 55! safe travels and God bless you 🙂

  15. Thanks again, Bill, for all of your wonderful reports of your exciting adventures & insights into your philosophy on life, family & spirit. Congratulations on 50 years of marriage to both you & Sharon. She is a peach. You make a good salad together, LOL. I can’t wait to hear & see you latest trip to the North & South side. You know that my prayers are always with Ollie & the family. Keep us posted. Love & Blessings, Betty

  16. My heart just melted reading this letter, Mr.Burke you are an inspiration to everyone,You are caring,compassionate,courageous I think you are wonderful 🙂 Happy 50th Anniversary to you and Mrs.Burke and may you have many more years together. My prayers to Ollie, May god bless you all.

  17. Happy, Happy 50th Anniversary! I hope today is filled with the things that make you both happy, including each other and family. Fondly, Marge Giambra Allen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *