Mani Raj Gole
Mani Raj Gole I have always loved to go to new places and experience local cultures and traditions. As such, I was really excited to join the Deerwalk hike team. It was my first hike since joining the company. The planned route of the hike was from Dhulikhel to Nagarkot. As planned, we gathered at the office premises at about seven in the morning. We left the office at 7:30 AM by office van. Before leaving, we took a head count – and it was seven - excluding Kedar, who was driving us to Dhulikhel. At 8:25 AM, we stopped at Banepa to pick up Rosina - the eighth hiker of our team. It was about quarter to nine when we entered D.Newa Kitchen in Dhulikhel to have some breakfast. As we had a long hike ahead of us, we wanted to have a good meal to start with. Inspired by “words of wisdom” from Rupesh, we left Dhulikhel – all packed up with food and water supply. At first, the locals were surprised when our team leader led us downhill in search of way to Nagarkot. He seemed confident that there was an easier and a more straightforward route. Trusting our leader we followed him. Some time into the foray, we began to feel that we were lost. We climbed through the ploughed fields – asking the locals for directions to get to the nearest main road. Luckily, we were not that off course! On the plus side, we got to enjoy tasting some fresh Kimbu and Aaishelu on the way. Our first rest of the hike was beneath the shadows of a huge tree. It was eleven by then. We took some glucose water and Red Bull to replenish ourselves. Enjoying the natural scenery and serenity of the environment, we kept climbing up. The locals at Oopi Gaun were ready to plot their corn fields in the dry weather. We reached Nala at around 12:30 PM. With all the beautiful views of mountains and villages as well as the cool weather, we forgot our tiredness. Before scaling the height of Kashi Vhanjyang we took some rest. In preparation of the tough ascent, we filled our water bottles and had some food. We took some photos as well. Kashi-Vhanjayang hill was the final frontier in our journey to Nagarkot. Our team climbed up the stone stairs, motivated by the locals. After almost an hour long stair climbing we came to a rest house. We munched on some dried meat, which was well preserved in Rupesh’s bag. With renewed energy, we followed the jungle trail to Nagarkot. We ran into some Israeli hikers on the way, who were heading to Nagarkot as well. After some introduction, we shared a bit of laugh with the Israeli folks. It was already three, when we were crossing the Nagarkot jungle, and it looked like it was going to rain. Just as we passed the jungle and were on graveled road by an army barrack, rain drops started to turn into hail storm. We were stranded in the middle of the road with no cover. Fortunately, we had an umbrella – which was a life saver for us – providing whatever little protection it could from the hail. It was quite an experience to take striking shots from some of those stone-like hails. We were stranded for more than ten minutes, which, frankly, felt like hours. Thankfully, a tourist van stopped and gave us a ride. At around 4:45 PM we entered AC’s café and fast food to take rest and have dinner. Everybody sat down shivering with cold - sharing their experiences with each other with hot cups of coffee. Exhausted and cold, everybody munched on delicious traditional Nepali dinner. Finally we headed to Kathmandu at 6:15 PM, which marked an end to an arduous journey – wonderful and memorable nonetheless.