Monday, July 1, 2019

Hike To Jharlang(Batase)

Hike Date: 22nd-23rd June 2019

This was fairly a new route and we were pre-informed that we will have to catch a local van or bus from Dhading besi hence our departure time was 6 AM. Most of us reached the office by 6 am and awaited a few of the remaining hikers. At the last moment, however, Kushal backed out because of some personal reasons. The 13 assembled hikers including our dear Rajendra dai, then left for our destination at 6:30 AM. We started our hike with our musician, Raman, playing songs on guitar. We picked Shreebatsa from Kalimati who had bought apples and bananas for all of us. The unfortunate story is, he bought unripe bananas that weren’t edible even on the next day. We made our bread and jam in the van as a breakfast. We stopped somewhere between Naubise and Galchi for tea, pea and pee break. At 10 AM we took a local bolero from Dhading besi, that is where our musical journey of guitar and vocals ended as we left the guitar in office van. We booked the bolero to drop us at Dundure. The driver was telling us the bolero can fit 16 people but fitting 13 of us was a challenge in itself. At 12 pm we ate our lunch at a local place, and surprisingly the food was really tasty. We reached Dundure at 2pm. As we started our hike, the locals were telling us about our luck as the cloud was shading the sun. After only 30 minutes or less walk, the rain followed us, and we geared up with our raincoat and umbrella. As everyone was walking along the roadway, Sumit, Subash and I took the forest shortcut thinking the road and the shortcut will meet in the next corner as it happens in most of the cases. 15 minutes into the hiking trail, we get a call from our coordinator Shree who informs us that due to bad weather he is thinking of changing the plan and that we wait for the rest in the junction, where the hiking trail meets the vehicle route. We waited in the drenching rain, bedraggled 20 minutes….30 minutes, calls made to and from.... 40 minutes. They did not seem to catch us, or had they already crossed us? We waited there confused. We kept asking the locals if we were on the right way to Borang village and which we were. We even checked the map and yes, we were on the right track so why hadn’t the rest of our group caught up? 1 hour and there still was no sign of our group. Our phone conversations were not helping either. Finally, we decided to go back the vehicle route and that is when we met 3 locals who told us that they saw our friends going through the wrong route.
When we realized that we have been separated, our coordinator asked us to come to Ward no 7. The locals informed us that ward no 7 is very far, and we will find a better view and better hotel options at Batase, 2 hours from was where we were and quite nearer from Ward No 7, where our friends were. Communicating that with our coordinator, we all decided Batase as our meeting zone.  The locals helped us further by guiding us through the village route past the green trees and wet alley with leeches. After 1 and half hour of continuous uphill walk, we finally reached Batase and said our goodbyes to the noble locals, without whom our journey would have been a hard or maybe lost one. We had been so crestfallen when we found out the group had been separated. So, to us the locals became "dhunga khojda dueta vetayo". We then met another local who was coming from another direction, who informed us that our friends were 5 minutes away. Meanwhile, we inquired for a hotel to stay in. After reuniting with our lost group, we were again helped by the friendly locals who guided us to the only local hotel that could accommodate 13 of us.  After settling our bags and hanging our wet raincoats and jacket, some of us settled down to check for leeches, and oh if there weren’t any suckling our blood. I alone was bitten by 6, Subash had 7. When our leech hunting was over, we all freshened up and sat for tea. We played dumb charade, mafia as we waited for our dinner and the night to fall.
It was raining heavily that night and we slept with the optimism of a clear sky the next day. I woke up at 4 am in the morning and went out for bathroom break as well as to check on the weather and the view, as I do in most of my hike and trek. The weather was doomed. Still, the view outside was beautiful in its own way. I went back to sleep, placing myself in the small bed that I shared with Karishma. The rooms were see-through too and we could hear as well as see the guys snoring from the adjoined room. By 6 in the morning, everyone had woken up and were freshening up. We had tea and biscuits and left Batase at 7am. From here on, we again followed any locals we could find who were also headed to Dundure to catch a van to Dhading besi.
Again, through the wet and grassy stairs and alleys with a constant cloud and inconsistent rain, screaming at the attack of a leech, running at times, stopping sometimes to admire the beautiful view in front of us, we reached the point where I, Subash and Sumit had waited an hour the day before. But today we came across a lot of locals who were going the same way, and we found even more shortcuts we had missed the other day. After walking for 1.5-2 hours we reached Dundure but due to a rise in the water levels the van were unable to cross the rivers hence we had to walk at least 3 -4 hours more to catch a van at Kintang Phedi.
The fast walkers, went ahead, following the locals. As we went ahead, we made signs of stones and sticks to show shortcuts for our slow walkers. We kept moving and moving as we did not want to miss our chance of walking alongside the locals who could show us the shortest route to our destination. 1 hour later, we received a call from the coordinator who informed us that Raman was having a hard time walking due to pain in his legs and hence they will be slow. We continued our walk, without taking any food or bathroom break until we crossed the first suspension bridge after Dundure. From here on, we only had to follow the vehicle route as there were no shortcuts, so we decided to rest a while as we dipped our legs in the cold stream.
As we started back at our hike, the sun rose almost above our head. It was getting hot and humid and walking became tiring and difficult in the scorching sun with hungry stomachs and tired legs. Constantly checking on the map and asking the locals, who were confused by our wrongly spelled and pronounced destination name, we reached Kitangphedi at around 12pm. We went right into the riverbanks, where we rested, being seated on the stones of the bank. Subash and Sumit had other plans and they swam in the slow current river. After 15 minutes, me, Shreya and Rajendra dai went to order us lunch. Unfortunately, they had no or too little food to suit a group of 13. The water level had also decreased so all the vehicles waiting at Kitangphedi had either picked up the locals and left for Dhading or went ahead to Dundure.  That meant we had to wait at least an hour or more for any vehicle arrangement, so we decided to order lunch, which according to sauni would take 1 hour maximum to a minimum. 1 hour later, everyone arrived, and we all delved into the plates of chowmein and cold drinks. Our food was still an hour away from being ready, so we all went to the river shores to enjoy some nature and relax. At 3pm, we ate our lunch/brunch. We had ordered a bolero from Dhading besi which was on its way so while we waited, we watched the repeat telecast of FIFA women’s world cup, played mafia with the interested bunch. Finally, at 5 pm, our vehicle arrived, and we left for Dhading besi. At 7 we caught up with our office shuttle, and our previously hurt Raman, came back into form as he got his hands on the guitar strings. He played the strings so hard, the 3rd string actually broke. So, when that happened, we went back to our speaker, which we had played constantly throughout our hike with songs “Galbandi Chyatiyo”, “Lifejacket” on repeat. The lyrics of lifejacket “we don’t reach destination unless we walk, we cannot touch the sky unless we fly, we drown many times in life, but if we have a life jacket we won't drown” became so popular among the group along with the line from Galbandi “dhila ayo tara kada ayo (Although late, the entry is blasting)”. At 9pm, we stopped at Naubise for dinner and reached office at 10:45 pm and everyone left for their home.

Hike to Chitlang And Chandragiri 2017

Hike to Chitlang
Date of Hike: 19th -20th August 2017.
Route: Kathmandu -> Thankot -> Naubise -> Palung -> Chitlang ->Chandragiri ->Thankot
Co-ordinator: Kushma Thapa
AmbikaM, BigyanS, DijupT, KarishmaP, KumarD, KushmaT, SanjeevS, SarojK, SheprataS, ShreeKrishnaG, ShreyaS, SujanS, SurajR
Report by: Kushma Thapa, Saroj Khadayat, Shree Krishna Gurung, Sujan Sauden

Recalling Chitlang Hike by Kushma Thapa
Departure time: Stated 6am, Actual 7am.
Date of Hike: 19th -20th August, 2017.
No matter how much of pre-planning you do, you are bound to face obstacles you couldn’t have imagined. Our hike to Chitlang was also a gift box that unwrapped unexpected obstacles.
On the first day, we ate our breakfast at Naubise, and took the route to Daman from the Naubisejunction. It was the first time taking this route for some of us. We stopped at a deserted house for a short nature break. On the route, we discussed few terms: 2005, two types of brake: fuel and motor. I am sure these terms don’t make sense to the readers but it’s just a flashback to the memory lane for the hikers. At around 2pm we stopped somewhere around Palung/Thaha municipality and started our hike. Our destination was around 7km away. The biggest joke of the day that happened was when Sujan said (or so we heard): “How much can we walk in 7km?” (Hami 7km ma kati hidna sakcham ni didi?). Since our route was no hiking trail but vehicle trail we were bored. In addition, the road trail was also very skewed. Hence, we decided to take a shortcut and walked catawampus across the maize/brinjal fields. It was very much fun to walk through the muddy field trails while constantly checking for leech attack. Finally, we made back to the road trail, caught a place with big stones placed, where we sat for short snack time. From there on it was all walking until we reached a homestay where we ate our brunch. The non-vegetarians loved the piro choila and even packed 3 plates for the night. From here on, we explored Chitlang as much as we could, again taking the maize field trail so we could explore more of “the Chitlang basti”. On our way, Dijup Dai and Bigyan gave a visit to the yak cheese factory. If anyone is interested, the price of 1kg yak cheese is Rs 3000. Unfortunately, the price was very expensive for us and so we bought none.
Finally, we made it to Chitlang organic resort. We rested for a few minutes, changed and gathered to the main area of the resort. The resort was nothing like a resort: Flies, dirty room walls, dirty sheets, and unsatisfying customer service are some ways I like to review the resort. After a few moments, it started to rain, and we got a beautiful view of a rainbow. Rainbow, pear farming and thick green forest in the background and our Shahrukh khan pose for a picture is a memory I’ll keep. Soon we all settled for snacks.  We danced, we sang, we ate, we played games and we also completed our punishments, which was part of losing in the game. Whoever lost in the game had to perform squats or pushup or plank for a specified amount of time or number. After eating our dinner, we all hummed along while Saroj and Sujan performed live for us. This went on until late evening. When the night came to end, it became difficult to sleep in a room with dirty walls, dirty bed sheets, and insects accompanying.
Next morning, we took our breakfast at around 8am, packed our bags and left the resort at around 9:30ish. 20 minutes after walking a not so straight yet not steep road, the uphill route began. The route was filled with leeches and that was the scariest part for me. After around 1 hour or so of climbing, we reached right below Chandragiri hill. There we ate our lunch and rested for about an hour. We decided to climb the Chandragiri hill instead of taking the down road to Thankot from there. As we were walking to our destination, Chandragiri, it started raining. Most of us hid under our umbrella, but Bigyan and Dijup dai took shelter under their special plastic raincoat. Since it was raining, the view from the top was all white and nothing more was visible. So, we concluded we cannot get a view that made King Prithvi Narayan Shah desire to take over Kathmandu valley, without paying Rs750 for the cable car. Hungry hikers that we were, we ate another quick lunch at Chandragiri. Luckily due to protest by visitors for costly food price, the management team of Chandragiri had made the food price reasonable.
After taking a few selfies, group pictures, and wandering around, we started walking down to our destination: Thankot. We had planned to descend to Kritipur but we were informed the road is very steep and slippery due to rain so we decided to take vehicle route so we could avoid slippery and leech-y shortcuts. At one point, we collected gravel stones to make way as the road was very muddy.
Up until now, leech had been the scary part; so, enters another scary part of the hike (at least it was scary to me). At first, I ignored what was in front of me like the roots of trees, pink and widespread. It took me a few seconds to realize the whole width of the road was smothered by big thick pink legions of earthworm.  We covered leech, we covered earthworm, now let’s come to another interesting gift our hike unwrapped for us as we almost reached Thankot. We were probably 20 minutes away from the township of Thankot when we came across a fresh landslide. There was just no way we could cross the landslide. There was little panic starting on most of our heads already. Luckily there we 3 locals who were also travelling who told us there are other routes through the thick jungle. The first shortcut was a dead end so our effort of climbing down, with the help of plant/bush/tree roots was in vain.
Crossing the myriad of earthworm again, we came to the entry point of another shortcut. We grouped the team so all the ladies were in between. The road, rarely used and very slippery, was the final gift we unwrapped. Some of us made through the whole route on four legs. Some of us had to take help from more than one person to make through some slippery turns. Some of us trusted on our two legs and some of us trusted our two legs to support our self as well the other person. As we advanced, the route progressed even more deeply into the jungle. Throughout this journey, our motivation was “aayo aayo road aayo”, which never came of course until the end. In the middle of the journey, Shree Krishna informed us that the road ahead is slippery so it’s better if you climb down seated on the muddy route. On that note Sanjeev Dai’s reply was “basera aye ni huncha! Uthekai kaile thyo ra?” i.e. Climb down sitting?! When had I even been standing?  Unsure where the route led us, unsure what was to come ahead, with no food and no water ( Dijup dai secretly had water he kept for an emergency case of someone fainting or worse) we kept moving forward, at times talking of the possibility of coming across a tiger. Finally, finally, we met the vehicle route. The happiness was too real and too treasured.  30 minutes of walking, we found Ram dai and our office shuttle. Everyone settled in and we started recalling the day.

Recalling Chitlang Hike by Saroj Khadayat

August-19 2017, we were all set for a hike to Chitlang. Chitlang is located at the southwest of Kathmandu valley in the Mahabharat mountain range. Fifteen signed up for the hike out of which fourteen people showed up. Office vehicle was available for driving us to the starting point of our hike which was Satghumti. On the way to Satghumti we got stuck in jam for about ½ an hour. The traffic jam made us eat bread and jam since most of had not had our breakfast in the morning and everyone was hungry. Dijup dai’s past hiking experience talks made the drive more fun. After about 4 hours’ drive, we finally reached the starting point of our hike (satghumti). The excitement level was too high for me since it was my first hike with VITians. Per the weather forecast, there were chances of heavy rainfall so we were all well prepared for it with raincoats and umbrellas. The day seemed perfect for the hiking- cool breeze, green hills, clear landscapes kept excitement all along. Those songs on Dijup dai’s speaker made the hike more wonderful. His old collection playing while walking down the desire line of paddy (so-called shortcuts) gave that retro feeling.

First Hike from New Office: Shree Krishna Gurung
Just 2 weeks of joining Verscend, I got the opportunity of enjoying my first ever office Hike. I was not very sure if my name would be in the hiker's list. I also had no idea how many hikers will be listed or any more detail nevertheless, I was hoping for the best. This hike gave me the opportunity to bond with my Verscend Colleagues. I also enjoyed leading the way through the deep forest trail. Although, Dijup dai was constantly asking us to keep on moving, at times the forest was so deep that I waited for other hikers just in case we encountered a wild animal and we could outnumber the animal/animal gang. Because a lone wolf dies but the pack survives as quoted by Sansa Stark in GOT season 7 episode 7. Thank you so much to all the hikers for making my first hike so memorable.

Long awaited chance to be part of office Hike: Sujan Sauden
Regardless of showing interest in many other hikes, this was the first time I got the opportunity to be a part of the hike. The whole experience has been beautifully expressed by other hikers so I am not going to dive much into the hike details. The only bitter experience was the customer service. Unfortunately, I had left my slippers at home so I requested the resort manager many times to provide me a pair of slippers but unfortunately, they turned cold shoulders to my request. I don’t want to say anything more, overall it was nice, fun and everything

Picture 1: Start of our hike

Picture 2 Taking the shortcut through brinjal field


Picture 3: Giving Sharukh Pose in front of the Rainbow, but where is the rainbow?

Picture 4: Traditional Raincoat

Picture 5: View From Chandragiri


Picture 6: THE VIEW ( minus Rs750 cost of the cable car)

Picture 7: The shortcut through the deep forest trails (Slippery, leech-y, earthworm-ly), behind Sanjeev seated and waiting.

Australian Base Camp: July 2017

The Amazing Experience of Exploring Australian Camp
Hikers: Anil Dongol, (organizer, absent in person due to fever, but present in words as irony), Keshab Maharjan, Teena Dongol, Rina Shrestha, Bimal Karki, Binjita Aryal, Saroj Thapa, Dilip Kunwar, Raj Thapa, Bhushan Shrestha, and myself Kushma Thapa.
Departure time: Stated 6am, actual 7am.
Date of Hike: 22nd-23rd July 2017.

Some experiences leave you so speechless, you cannot decide where to start. Hence skipping the part about the mundane routine of the hikers having their breakfast at Naubise (new eating place this time), lunch at Abu Khairini’s  “Thakali Shanta Hotel and Lodge” and in between bathroom breaks, let's jump into the part where we hired a Sumo, or so I think, from the Tudhikhel of Pokhara and experienced the bumpy sumo ride. I am sure the sumo driver assured Keshab Dai five times that our bags on the roof of the vehicle were safe regardless of not being tied. Nevertheless, the driver had to tie up our bags defeated by the consistent request from Keshab Dai. We drove up to Dhampus, 11 of us, including our beloved Ram dai from wherein we started our hike to Australian Camp.
Before we started our hike, I and some of my friends applied clove oil on our legs so as to scare off the leeches, while Ram dai gave us another alternative solution which was to apply Titepati. Turns out leeches despise the bitter taste of titepati or Artemisia vulgaris. As we reached the base, we saw some of the locals were playing futsal. After asking them if we could join, me, raj and Saroj and Alex, a tourist, made a team and played against our amazing local players. While we were playing futsal, some of the hikers took rest under the shade, captured pictures and finally made their way to the hotel. The 3 of us, me, raj and Saroj, also quickly went to our respective rooms, placed our bags and came back for another game of futsal. In between the game, I heard someone say mountains. To my utter surprise, the view in front of me left me speechless. My eyes were nowhere in the game but fixated on the view in front. The clouds slightly cleared themselves to show off what was hiding behind them. The amazing white Annapurna and Macchapuchre. The view was so stunning. Some think they are bored of seeing the mountains and the hills, but how can someone not feel immensely mesmerized by a view as beautiful as that. Nature can never cease to amaze us even with the same creations it has under its sleeve. A short time after that all of us headed to a small base near the hotel. The base outlooked the whole of Pokhara city, Kande and a lot more as the Australian base is 2060m above the sea level. We headed back to the hotel after observing the outflow of scenic beauty that we were present and ate our snacks. Bhushan dai, Binjita, and Dilip were checking out the maps for the next day’s hike while Bimal, Raj, Saroj and I, played a game of dare and truth. At one instant, we dared raj to act like a drunk husband who is persuading his wife to open the door. Soon after, we took our dinner and most of us went to sleep.
At 5 in the morning when darkness finally started giving out, we came to the rooftop to just lay, feel the cool breeze, and observe the view of the mountain scale ahead of us, the view of Pokhara city along with fewa lake and clouds overhead of it, the view of a town drizzled in rain with thunderstorm on the very south. As the sun started to rise, the mountains glittered more and more. The green jungle around, green grasses below, beautiful people along, the white mountains ahead, and the beautiful city of lakes to the southeast, we just laid lazily sipping our tea.
At 8am, we started our journey downhill to Kande, resting at places while mimicking the noise of goat, we finally reached Kande where we ate local noodle soup and tea. We ate our lunch at Pokhara at the usual stop: Fewa thakali. The food was amazing. We left Pokhara city at 11:30 am or so; most of us happy about reaching home early. Unfortunately, our little happiness shattered after being stuck in the traffic from Thankot to Kalanki. We reached Thankot at 5:30 pm and crossed Kalanki chowk at 8:45 pm. In that traffic, we also made small talk with some Indian tourists who were here to visit Pashupatinath on the auspicious month of Shravan. Their 3rd question to us was “Why is this city so dirty?”. In my travel, I also caught sight of a truck loaded buffalos. They were severely tied on their tails, their heads and crowdedly placed (3 times that of the dangerous Nepal Yatayat). The worst part of the view was catching one of that soul shedding tears. The tears were so real, so thick and so painful. We are at the top of the food chain and so we take the liberty to eat them. The problem isn’t the food chain, the problem is how are treating the ones who lay below us in the food chain. As Plutarch said, “But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy. We have a choice but they neither have a choice nor the power to rid themselves of that pain.  
Nonetheless, let's end with another beautiful quote, this one is by John Muir.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature's sources never fail”.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

First Hike From Verisk: Ghanpokhara Aug 20-21, 2016

Hiking to Ghanpokhara

Date: August 21-August 22, 2016
With packed bags and hiking shoes, we left the office premises at 7am in the morning. We hadn’t reached very far when we got a call from Sameer. He had missed the van so we asked him to catch us at Kalimati where we opted to have tea and a light breakfast while awaiting him. At around 7:45, of course after also picking Sameer, we headed for our journey. The road from Kalanki to Thankot was a mess. Leaving aside the details of where we stopped and where we had our breakfast, after crossing Muglin, near marsyangdi hyrdo power area we stopped at a waterfall site. God help us hike since our shoes and our single pair of socks were totally drenched in our adventure of climbing the rocks to get a nearer view of the top of the waterfall. Off then we went, everyone, taking a turn to try playing the ukulele, singing songs at times too loud with a hungry stomach. We stopped at the very popular Besisahar khana spot of Verisk which was “Puspanjali Hotel”. Unfortunately, the hotel phone number we had was not working and hence we couldn’t pre-order our lunch, making us wait another half hour to ravage any food. We discussed the Annapurna circuit map (which was proudly displayed on the hotel walls), our hike route and whether or not to include Ghalegaun in the route arguing on our chances of reaching there in a favorable hour.  Unfortunately from this spot on we had to take a local vehicle and we were told the public bus was to leave not until 4pm local time. We decided to wait at the bus park, and only a few minutes after we reached the “pippal ko bot” park, a “Safari” came in our sight. The ride of half hour to Khudi bazaar on the “Safari” was priced at NRs 1500. Squeezed on the seats, very bumpy roads, the river on the right view, what an adventure the ride on the “Safari” turned out. At 5pm local time, we stepped foot in Khudi bazaar, started our hike from there, constantly discussing everyone’s dilemma on whether to hike all the way to Ghalegaun? We met a school teacher and a local boy who was heading to his home, which was on the way to Ghalegaun route. While many of us discussed our low chances of reaching Ghalegaun before 12 noon, the boy kept encouraging us to keep on moving forward. After an hour of walking, we stopped at a resting place, washed our face, drank water and then started our journey again. 10 mins into walking, we heard a local girl calling to us. Turned out Aayush had left Ashish’s camera tripod. Someone from the group was wondering if the local could have used it to plow their fields!
After more walking, more dilemma, we sighted two jharnas (waterfall). We asked the local boy, who was accompanying us (the school teacher had already parted ways by then) if reaching the waterfall by tonight was possible and if we could find any shelter there to stay the night. His response was that the waterfall though looks near is at the very end of the village and is very far. We decided to stay at Ghanpokhara if we could arrange a homestay. Asking here and there, someone suggested there was a place where we could find a shelter. We then reached the school of the teacher we met at the very start of the hiking journey. He told us of our slim chances of getting shelter and asked us to rather return back to Khudi and stay at “Maya” hotel. But we did go and take our chances but were turned down and so we decided to return back to Khudi bazaar. On our way, I encountered, probably, my second or third leech biting. It was scary. Bimal at one point said “let's hurry up and cross the river kholsa before it gets too dark”. And then everyone started reasoning with fun, whether that is so due to our chances of encountering a ghost? Walking, walking and more walking, encountering a crab, few frogs, stopping at a local kodo ko rakshi pasal, we then finally reached back to Khudi bazaar. Dinesh an Aayush had already reserved the rooms when we reached the hotel. The pricing was based on head count rather than room count. All I want to say about the room is that it was very dirty, and the pathway was a trap. Only one door could be opened at a time. Opening the door of one room meant the pathway was non-traversable. The best thing about the hotel was that it was on the river side. Early in the morning, sitting on the rocks by the side of the river, drenched by small waterfall, pondering on nothing was like a much-needed meditation.
We took a local bus from Khudi to Besisahar this time, enjoying the tv of the bus, the road felt less bumpy this time.  Having had our breakfast in Puspanjali, we went off to our next destination “THE WATERFALL” on way to Besisahar near Dumre. The waterfall had a man-made swimming pool, through stacked small rocks and stones. It was mesmerizing. The guys jumped into the natural pool, had the time of their life, swimming and enjoying. Arjun lost his power spectacles in the pool and asked the local kids to look for it offering them a reward if they get successful. Most of us had left our shoes to dry meanwhile. By the time we were leaving, our shoes were dried, so one can imagine the temperature of the day.
At Abu Khairini, we had the most delicious lunch. It was full of flavors, everybody deciding to come back to that thakali bhancha ghar again. I don’t remember the name of the hotel but I do remember it was just beside the “Singapore hotel”. We were early so we decided we could jump to the very popular riverside spring resort in Kurintar, with the exception of Dinesh. We all dived together, did dolphin underwater, some guys joined the in-pool bar. More than swimming we had fun. We even played “rock paper scissor” underwater. After an hour of fun, we left RSR. We got stuck in a 1 and a half-hour long traffic in Satungal, where we also caught a small accident. Our van collided with a stalled truck due to a road bump. Finally at around 8:30 we reached back to office premises and hence ended an overall very fun hiking. It was full of unplanned routes and plans, new bonding, ukulele, and Aashish’s suitcase.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

About Matter

Look right or left,
How does it matter,
Passive or active
Why does it matter,
I'll open up my heart
You'll know then why?
Why does it matter
If I live or die?

Don't talk sweet to me
If you are going to stab me
My baby my baby, acting like my best friend
Going behind and bitching

I told you I can't take it
Your daily nagging
I will rip my heart
And You'll still be shouting

Told you from the start
I know not of Love
Yet you had to make a scene
Out in the front

Stab me, hit me, love me, or hate me
Why does it matter , I don't know why does it matter
You leave me or ignore me
How should it matter,
Life is temporary, relative and perspective
People learn to move on, so may be nothing really matters

Friday, January 18, 2019

Trek To Langtang

Langtang Trek: April 28 2018 - May 4 2018 

Kathmandu-Syafrubesi-Kyanjing Gompa-Rasuwagadhi-RiversideResort @Kurintar-Kathmandu

Day 1: Kathmandu - Syafrubesi

Four of us headed early in the morning from Kathmandu for our trek to Langtang. The bus left early at 7 am in the morning. We went via Galchi route. The route was being expanded so the roads we blocked for 2 hours. 
Dozer working on road expansion

Hence, we chose to pass our time watching the bulldozer pushing away soil and playing cards. Later that day, we decided to stay at Syafrubesi as we were told there isn't any settlement in 2 hours distance (There is though, not fancy but we can opt to stay at Tiwar about 45 minutes away in distance).  We strolled around the city and spent the evening in a gumba. Later in the hotel, we played ludo and TND.

Ashmita overlooking the town from the gumba

Day 2: Syafrubesi - Lamahotel

The next day, we packed our bags, had breakfast and started at 8 am in the morning. After about half an hour, my friend Ashmita told me that she is having a hard time walking. This was her first trek ever and I had warned her to not bring too many items but she told me she can carry the weight and given she is an athlete I trusted her. Nevertheless, I tried encouraging her and we continued our walk through the trails, damaged by the earthquake 2015. The trail was walkable regardless of the damage.  

About to cross the bridge from Syafrubesi
Landslide due to earthquake 2015

After crossing the Tibetan Camp hotel, and Bob Marley hotel  at Tiwari , we reached Dovan. Here we rested for while and hydrated ourselves. We also came across the most friendliest kitty here. Our next stop was Pairo. The locals then told us that the trail up  is only steep. So we started our ascend.
Then there was a point with trail dividing to two different route. One leaded straight following the path across langtang river and the other lead to the hill, the trail being very steep.  There was no sign post there so considering what the locals told us we chose the steep trail. It was very very very steep. Ashmita was having a really hard time climbing so she had asked me to catch her hands and help her. Doing this had drained my energy as well. Overcoming the hardship, and climbing for 30-40 mins, we reached the top where there was a small hut/chiya pasal of an aama. She told us the route leads to thulo syafru, and the trail is for Gosaikunda Trek instead. We were so exhausted and in unsettled by the news that we chose to rest there for a while. We ordered chauchau and soup. We also decided to hire a porter for ashmita so we asked aama to call someone for her. She called someone from Pairo and we waited for the porter to come. We also bought headbands from her shop. After waiting for more than an hour, there was no sign of anyone coming. Not wanting to waste time, we decided we should start making the move, and possibly meet the porter on our way to pairo. We did meet two young boys but they denied to assist us for just a single day so things did not work out for us. They told  us we might find some one willing when we reach pairo so we headed for pairo. As we reached pairo, we rested and dipped our legs in the cold langtang river. Then we asked around for a porter but we could not find one who was willing to stay with us for one day so we decided the 3 of us would carry some items off of Ashmita's bag. It seemed to help her as her bag must have lost about 3-4 kg of item. Then we headed next for Bamboo. En route to bamboo we came across buffer zones and zones with signs that said "Falling Rocks, Keep Away".

We ate our lunch at Babmoo. Ashmita seemed to fancy too much on Fanta. Fancily, one small fanta cost Nrs 500 there and the daal bhat was at a price of NRs 250. We originally planned to stay at Riverside or Ghodatabela on first day but since we had lost around 2 hours due to detour and given ashmita was struggling we decided to stay the night at Lama Hotel.
On our next stop Rimche,  we rested for 30 minutes as our final stop for the day was Lama hotel which was only half an hour away. We reached Rimche at 4 and cooled off the heat. There are only 3 hotels at Rimche. At 4:30 we left for Lama Hotel and at 5 we were there at Lama Hotel. There are about 6-7 hotels in the area.
Resting at Rimche and having tea

Day 3: Lama Hotel - Kyanjing Ri:

Ashmita had a heavy back up so we decided to leave items we wont need for the ride up behind.So we left our dirty clothes as well as Ashmita's 3-4 pairs of clothes in the safety of the hotel owner didi. 
Outside the Lama Hotel @Lama Hotel

The next morning we took our leave at 7 am in the morning. The trail was so scenic as we crossed the green spring forest. We reached Riverside in 45 minutes. It has 3-4 tea houses/hotels. Not stopping we continued on. After crossing riverside, the trail gets steep for 30 minutes. That is where Gaurav met phitso, a local, who was heading to Syafrubesi. On conversing, they became friends and phitso told us to stay as his to be sister-in-law's hotel at Kyanjing. 
The trail to ghodatabela has a landslide area so there is an alternate route in between. Pass through the Bridge as shown in the picture below to follow the other trail.
Bridge leading to alternate route to Ghodatabela

However, we had no idea about the route, so instead we went to the landslide trail. The locals had warned us earlier to cross the areas of landslide as quickly as we can and also to look out for the falling rocks from above.

Pass this area quickly
As we crossed it, and were nearing Ghodatabela, we came across the view of hundreds of rhododendron in multiple colors: white, red , pink.

We ate noodles and soup at Ghodatabela where we reached at 12 pm. At 1 we left for Thangshyap, the trail to which was steep route of 45 minutes. At Thangshyap, we ate our lunch, conversed with tourist and guides and then when the rain stopped we  headed for langtang village. The view in front of our eyes really sad as we saw the devastation of earthquake that had hit Langtang Village.

It took us 45 minutes to just cross the devastated area. That only can tell how huge the devastation really has been here. The locals of Langtang had moved just a little ahead of this region with a growing settlement on going. Langtang has enough hotels to accommodate 100 or more tourist. 

One of our friend got mistake for a guide, and thought Ashmita and I was a foreigner so he was asked to register our details at the police bit of Langtang 🤣🤣. We chose to have some snacks here so we stopped on the other side of the langtang village. There is no electricity after syafrubesi but the local hydro power @Kyanjingsupports  electricity to Langtang And Kyanjing. So we also charged our phones. We ate tea, and boiled potato here. Kyanjing was around 2 hours from here as was told to us. We left at around 4 pm and considering we will reach Kyanjing by 6 we walked in our own pace. The trails were also not very steep and rather easy. Some folks of langtang had also migrated upward from Lantang. We went on and on and walked for more than 2 hours but kyanjing was no where to see. We followed the electricity poles with it giving us hopes we are going in the right direction. In a matter of seconds, the weather also got chilly and foggy. The white fog/clouds covered the path and visibility became very poor. Finally we saw a gumba. The signs there were misleading and we lost path. And to make it more dramatic, it started to snow. As we sought to find our way we saw two small huts. We ran to it and had in our mind decided to stay there no matter how uncomfy it would be since we were freezing.  Turns out it was the mini hydro power. There was a worker too who helped us by making tea and turning on the heater. Wow finding the heater and warm tea was like finding heaven. We also dried our wet clothes in the heater. Then followed local women who came to the hydro for shelter against snow. They were locals of Kyanjing so after the snow stopped they guided us to the hotel that phitso had named. The hotel owner's daughter was getting married to phitso's brother in a few days so they denied us shelter initially as they were not taking any tourist due to wedding work. But when we told them that phitso had sent us they welcomed us. We got the most comfortable bedrooms and delicious dinner. Ashmita ate too less and went to sleep early. While i stayed to have a view of the millions and billions of stars as the sky was clear that night.

Day 4: Kyangjin Ri (4400m)-Thangshyap

The next morning we woke up at 5 am to find mountains surrounding the valley. Dressing up in warm clothes we went out to have a broader view. We also witnessed the sunrise. We were advised to climb Kyanjing Ri in broad light due to the trails. So at 7 am we left to conquer the Kyanjing Ri. Ashmita chose to stay behind as she was not feeling well. 
It took us 2 hours to climb the hill. And I am going to let the pictures describe how beautiful the scene here was. The weather was very nice today so our view was amazing and breathtaking.
Moon shining on right and the sun about to shine

Early morning at Kyanjing Gompa

Overlooking the valley as we ascend

The lake that is the main source for mini hydro power. They use insulators in the pipe during winter to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
 Climbing the hill was the most easy part for me and going down was the scariest one. I took my time to descend while the gang (Our friend and the friends we met on the trek) were running down the hill and I was at places on on fours using even my two hands to descend as slow as I could. I took me an hour more to reach the hotel. At 12 pm we ate our lunch, packed our bags, called home (there is  satellite phone) and finally said thank you and made wishes to the bride to be and left.
Panorama Guest House
Our next stop was Langtang, where we had tea and since it got dark we chose to stay at Thangshyap.
The accommodation was okay but the people here was so nice. They told us that during winter they stay at Kathmandu. Their daughter is a topper and was appearing for SLC/SEE that year. We are potato, rice, spaghetti as our dinner.

Day 5: Thangshyap-Bob Marley hotel

After having Tibetan bread and breakfast, we said our good byes and left @8 am.  We clicked many pictures as the view around due to the spring weather was just mesmerizing. 

Somewhere between Ghodatabela and Riverside, This place has a single hotel and shop.

Lunching at Lama hotel
We ate our lunch at lama hotel, took our items back and started to head back. Our destination for today was Syafrubesi. 

In memory of an Israeli who lost his life in earthquake 2015

Back at pahiro, giving our legs a foot massage with the cold and flowing Langtang River

We reached Bob Marley Hotel @Tiwari  at 5pm. Since we had stayed at syafrubesi already so we decided to stay at tiwari the night, go to rasuwaghadi the next day and stay at kurintar to enjoy the swimming pool. There was no light so we played cards under the candle. The accommodation was not fancy

Day 6: Tiwari-RasuwaGadhi-Galchi

Breakfast at Tiwari
Next morning we left @8am. We reached Syafrubesi in half an hour.
We had to wait for the local bus until 12 pm to go to rasuwagadhi so the police helped us hitch a ride with a truck. The truck dropped us to Rasuwa.  The driver was having lunch there so we started walking and midway we hitched a ride in another truck. After waiting for 15 minutes the gates to the border opened. Only the locals of Rasuwa were allowed to go to the other side and shop. However they did let us in up to the bridge and allowed us to take pictures.
China Behind us, Nepal ahead of us

We then rushed to Rasuwa's bus stop. We had inquired there and they had told us the bus left at 12 pm. We called the number they gave us and asked them to stop the bus for us. All the trucks were going towards rasuwagadhi for all the import and export so we had to walk back. We ran midway when we heard the bus blow the horn. The bus was late and so we were lucky to catch it at 12:30 pm. There was a 3 day vehicle strike on-going around this time so the bus left us only up to bidur. We hadn't had time to eat lunch so we were very hungry. Upon reaching bidur as well, we were looking for vehicles to drop us at galchi. We could not find any vehicles going to galchi so the local police helped us again and hitched us a ride in a truck carrying imported shipping. The road from trishuli to galchi was a mess due to muddy gravel. We rode the truck at 4 pm and we reached galchi at 10:30 pm. There was such a traffic due to small vehicles getting trapped in the mud. We again took help of the police to find us hotel at that time of the night. We looked around 2 hotels and they were very dirty. Finally we found a newly opened hotel with decent and clean rooms. We finally got the chance to eat a proper food there.

Day 7: Galchi-Kurintar-Kathmandu:

The next morning, we had our breakfast and waited for vehicles. Regardless of the strike, a scorpion stopped and gave us a ride to Kurintar @NRs 2000. After reaching Riverside Resort, we came to know that they don't rent swim suits and we had not bought one. We really wanted to relax away,so we bought swim suits and dived into the pool. It was a much needed rest to relax our whole body.  After cleaning up, we ate at a local shop. Then we waited to get a ride to Kathmadnu. We asked for lifts but no one was stopping. No local bus was running either. Finally a pick up truck, crowded with passengers stopped. We played cards when we got chance, stood up when the truck got crowded and sat on the tent cover when the crowd was less. at Nrs 300 per person, the pick up truck dropped us at kalanki.

Langtang is one of the most amazing and memorable trek I have done. It was so beautiful and rich in scenary as well as the view and its so close to the valley. Its a must do trek. You can finish this trek in 4-5 days.

I support Local Empowerment. So, I’m sharing this Everest Base Camp Trek to promote a new way of trekking where trekkers can empower the local service providers like lodges, guides and porters by booking services directly through them. #empoweringthehimalayas #freetriptoeverest