It was well after nightfall when I realized we had gone the wrong way.
The village I had been looking for was somewhere up the mountain … if we could even find the trail in the pitch-dark. My two porters and I had been walking for almost thirteen
hours straight. Winter at night in the mountains of northwestern Nepal is bitterly cold, and we had no shelter. Two of our three flashlights had burned out. Worse, we were deep in a Maoist rebel stronghold, not far from where a colleague had been kidnapped almost exactly one year before … I wondered how things would have been different if I hadn’t gotten hurt. Or if I hadn’t split from my team, or if I hadn’t decided to wait on that mountain for a helicopter that never came. It didn’t matter now. What did matter was figuring out how we would get through the night.