Monday, July 1, 2019

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”.


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