Abhinav Regmi It was raining cats and dogs during the early hours of the day of the hike. This got me worried, as I didn’t want my first hike to-be from Deerwalk to get cancelled because of the heavy rain. As soon as the rain stopped, I rushed to the office. I was pretty excited about the hike, which must be the reason that I was the first one to get there before anyone else. Our planned hiking route was from Sisneri to Kulekhani dam. We set off from the office premises at around 8:05 AM. We picked up rest of the hikers along the way. We were well on our way to Sisneri that we suddenly realized that one of the hikers had got left behind. Poor guy! Breathtaking scenery and greenery greeted us as we moved away from the valley. The ride was truly enjoyable. Soon, we reached Pharping, where we had our breakfast. After the breakfast, we continued on our journey. We passed through the famous Dakshinkali Temple on the way, where many people were standing in line to worship the goddess. The ride was further enjoyable, thanks to Rupesh’s funny jokes, which left us laughing uncontrollably. Soon, we reached Sisneri – the planned starting point of our hike. We, however, ended up starting the hike from Taker – some three kilometers away from Sisneri. Certainly, it was much more fun and exciting than I had anticipated. As we passed through villages, the local people asked us where we were from and where we were going – often with puzzled looks on their faces. We chit chatted with some of the locals and told them that we were heading to Kulekhani dam. They suggested that we would have been better off taking the bus to get there. When we told them that we were on a hike, they kindly gave us the directions. The villagers were really cooperative, friendly and helpful. The hike - strenuous as it was with the narrow trails through many hills - was quite refreshing. The beautiful scenery of the countryside was well worth the effort. On the way, we ran into an old man taking a rest on the shade of a tree. When we asked the man for directions, he began to speak in his own native dialect – unintelligible to any of us. Clearly, he did not speak Nepali. When we reached the top of a hill, we had some snacks. After continuing on from there, we reached Bhalukharka – small village on top of another hill. Bhalukharka was a small village with only a few houses. The locals there also were curious as to where we were headed. They also informed us a little about their village. Tired as we were, mainly because of the difficult trails, we were determined to reach Kulekhani dam. Tiredness took a backseat as we enjoyed the view of the serene and beautiful green hills. We picked Aishelu (a kind of succulent fruit) on the way. Rhododendron, Nepali national flower, adorned the sidelines of our trails in some places. It was already 2 PM and Kulekhani dam was still nowhere in sight. It was cloudy. None of us knew the way, so we were asking the people we met on the way for directions. We took some pictures along the way as well. At one point, we descended downhill where the trail was really narrow and risky. We continued along hoping to find better and wider trail - but with no luck. The trail was slippery in many places, and some hikers slipped - fortunately none of them got injured. For my part, I accidentally got hold of Sisno (a plant whose leaves leave a severe burning and stinging sensation on the skin if touched), and my hands felt as if it were on fire. It took a while for me to feel better. It was a whole new and different experience - even for the experienced hikers among us, as none of us had encountered such a trail in any of the previous hikes. Much to our relief, the perilous trail was over as soon as we crossed a river. We all were very tired, when we were told that Kulekhani dam was still about five kilometers away. We clearly did not have energy left to walk that distance. Our coordinator decided to call our van driver, Kedar, so he could pick us up and drive us to our destination. Kedar turned up with the van and we reached Indrasarover at around 4 PM. Indrasarover is adjacent to Kulekhani dam. At Indrasarover we checked into a hotel to have lunch and to take much needed rest. We ordered our lunch and walked to Kulekhani dam site. This was my first time at the dam and I found the place really beautiful. Although the dam was very big, the water level was low, probably owing to the dry season. No wonder, we have such heavy electricity load shedding in Kathmandu, as the water level may not have been enough to generate enough electricity to cope with the demand. After our short tour of the dam, we went back to the hotel and had our lunch. We left Indrasarover at around 6 PM for Kathmandu. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the tough and long - albeit full of fun - hours of our hike. We did not lose hope and give up amidst all the difficulties we faced in the trail. No doubt, this will be one of the best and unforgettable hikes for many of us.