By Tom Dare
THIS INCREDIBLE video has captured the moment a lone traveller stumbled across acres of wild marijuana plants while trekking through the Nepalese Himalayas.
The video shows Gabriel Morris, a YouTube travel videographer from San Francisco, pretending tongue-in-cheek to wake up from a nap to find himself lying on a hillside surrounded by the plant. The camera then pans across to show marijuana as far as the eye can see.
Gabriel, 45, has been travelling the world on and off since he was 18, and was on a hike over Thorung La Pass in Nepal when he made the remarkable discovery.
And he says that, while he was aware that the plant grew in this part of the world, he was never expecting to see it growing so freely next to the walking path.
“The first time I saw it was a couple weeks earlier when I was doing another trek to Annapurna Base Camp, which is in the same area,” he said.
“I wasn’t really expecting to see it growing right along the trail so it was a little bit of a surprise, but really awesome to see it growing on its own right next to a hiking trail and near local Nepali villages.
“This area of the world is where cannabis comes from originally, so it’s not uncommon to see it in certain areas where conditions are right for growing. I saw it a bunch of times in the course of my several weeks of trekking the Himalayas.”
Gabriel has visited a remarkable 45 countries during his travels, venturing from Canada to India, and says it’s unusual experiences like the one he had in Nepal that keep him coming back for more.
“I’ve been traveling around the world off and on for 27 years, since the day after I turned 18 and went to Europe for the summer and yes, unusual, challenging, mind-blowing experiences are what it’s all about,” he said.
“It’s also a great way to learn about the world, people, cultures, yourself and break free from the limitations of society. My general approach is just do it really.
“I was born in Vancouver, Canada, raised in the woods of Northern California by pot-growing hippies, started hitchhiking when I was a kid, went to five universities including two in Alaska, and studied creative writing and world religions.
“I love to check out places that sound interesting, do some research, buy a flight and go. I don’t do much pre-planning of my trips, just fly there and then plan things out a few days at a time.”
So will Gabriel be revisiting Nepal any time soon?
“I’m not sure when I might go back to Nepal, but I definitely plan to go again sooner rather than later,” he said.
“Next time I want to trek to Everest Base Camp, which is about as high in elevation as Thorung La Pass.”