Meg Sikkim 2010

Preparing for the Sikkim trek 2010

I’ve been enthusiastic about travel ever since I was a student at Syracuse University and accompanied the Quaker International Voluntary Service (QIVS) team to Europe in 1949 to help rebuild hospitals and schools destroyed during World War II. You can imagine what an adventure that was!

I have also been passionate about hiking ever since my parents took me up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire at the age of nine.

What could be better than to combine both these interests and explore the world?

My first international adventure occurred in 1973, when I backpacked and hitch-hiked for six weeks with my children through Western Europe, and managed a little climbing in the Alps as well.

But it was when I turned 59 years old that my traveling began in earnest. I had just resigned from being the executive director of the international organization, Music Education for the Handicapped, which I co-founded and directed for seven years. It involved running international symposia in Denmark and France, as well as traveling in the 1980’s to Poland and Hungary, behind the Iron Curtain. Quite a challenge! Before that I served for twenty years as educational director of Oscar Schmidt, Inc., manufacturer of the autoharp and other classroom instruments. This had required traveling the country, giving numerous workshops, writing 38 method and song books for autoharp, and co-authoring two texts in the field of music education. I was ready for a change!

I’ve always been a frequent flyer fan, so I jumped on TWA’s offer of a free ‘round-the-world trip for 60,000 miles, partnering with Qantas Airlines, to be used by November, 1986. Can you even imagine that today?

Thus began my first solo backpacking trip highlighting Africa, India, and Asia. It was on this trip that I trekked to Everest Base Camp, the beginning of my many future treks in Nepal and neighboring countries. I wrote a travel memoir about this sojourn (Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy?). In 1996 I embarked on another ‘round-the-world journey, traveling to Tibet, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Before the Covid outbreak I had returned almost yearly to Nepal and enjoyed many treks, my favorites being Kangchenjunga, Annapurna, Langtang, Sikkim, and an extraordinary trek with my eldest daughter, Cary, to circumambulate sacred Mt. Kailash and reach the Drolma La (18,540 ft.) in Tibet. Interspersed with these trips have been other adventures like a month in Mongolia, the Wainwright Walk across England from St. Bees Head to the North Sea, Peru (hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu), Bhutan, Norway, and Sweden.

In 2013 I moved from New Jersey to Whidbey Island in the Northwest, branching out from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the Cascades and Olympics of Washington State. Thus began my Northwest mountain adventures with my friend, Jon Pollack, whom I met on the Annapurna Circuit in 1999. We enthusiastically explored campground and backpacking spots from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Baker in the Cascades, and Mt. Olympus, Hurricane Ridge, and Glacier Peak in the Olympics.

I also co-authored a play, Thank You, Dear, which was produced on stage in Deerfield, MA in 1995 and as a stage reading in Langley, WA in 2023. My essays have been published in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and New York Newsday.


Everest, Lhotse, and the Nuptse ridge from Thangboche Monastery. Photo taken during Everest Base Camp trek, March 1988.

Meg Noble Peterson

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