Nature writing at its best! This book is the perfect addition to every mountain lover’s bookshelf.
In 1931, a party of British mountaineers—including Frank S. Smythe—on their way back from a successful ascent of Mount Kamet, were looking for shelter from inclement weather in the wilderness above Joshimath in present-day Uttarakhand. They chanced upon the lush and colourful Bhyundar Valley, the Valley of Flowers. In the monsoon of 1937, Smythe returned to the Valley with four Tibetans from Darjeeling. On this adventure, Smythe extensively explored the Valley, identifying and collecting flowers and seeds from among the wealth of plant life. He and his friends also scaled the Nilgiri Parbat and the Mana Peak and were defeated by Mount Rataban. Beset by the rains, the party was nearly always soggy and, once, an Abominable Snowman gave them the fright of their lives. Yet, these were but minor prices to pay for the privilege of witnessing the Himalaya in its infinite variety and for a great deal of time usefully spent ruminating on the joys of idleness.
“For solitude in the Valley of Flowers taught me the insignificance and incapacity for happiness of thought as compared with a meditation that knows no intellectual limitations, but is content to accept with childlike faith and delight the infinite beauties and granduers of the universe.”