By Jessica Hoover
Every 10 years, Fishers resident Kevin Slaughter and his son, Paul, take a major trip to celebrate Slaughter’s birthday.
For his 40th birthday, when Paul was 15, Slaughter joined his Boy Scout troop as a chaperone to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. For his 50th birthday, the pair traveled to Peru for a four-day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.
In October, for his 60th birthday, father and son traveled to Nepal and hiked 77 miles in 12 days to the base camp of Mt. Everest.
The trip to Mt. Everest began in Kathmandu, Nepal, where Slaughrer and his son toured the city and visited four UNESCO World Heritage sites. From Kathmunda, they traveled by plane to Lukla and hiked 8.1 miles to Phakding. On the second day, they hiked 6 1/2 miles to Namche Bazar, sharing the trails with donkeys and yaks. They rested on the third day, and on the fourth they hiked 9.3 miles to Tengboche.
“Picture yourself doing a six-hour intense aerobic workout 12 days in a row with 58 pounds on your back at 2-plus miles above sea level,” Slaughter said. “But I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was fantastic. Plus, I got to do it with my son.”
On the fifth day, the Slaughters hiked 6.6 miles to Dingboche. On the sixth day, they hiked 11 miles to Lobuche. On the seventh, they hiked 6.6 miles to Gorak Shep then to the Mt. Everest base camp, ending at an altitude of 17,600 feet.
“It was 98 percent incredible and 2 percent, ‘What the heck was I thinking?’” Slaughter said.
Between days eight and 12, Slaughter and his son made their way back down the mountain to Lukla. The next couple days were spent traveling by plane and van from Lukla to Ramechhap to Kathmandu, followed by a more than 28-hour plane ride home.