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.




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