Deerwalk’s culture of regular activities with employee participation has allured me since I joined the company. Being a fan of travelling, mainly consisting of my bike and friends, this was my first hike and I enjoyed it every step of the way. Now sitting here in the comfort of my desk, I can look back and bask at what had been accomplished in the trip.
The Hiking day had started with me rushing to Deerwalk with the fear of missing the trip, as I was a bit late; ironically I was the first to arrive. Slowly and surely everyone arrived to the venue with time. Then the trip began with waves of laughter and greetings. Missing members were picked up along the way before we stopped for breakfast. The menu board consisted of diverse names for a single item of lemon tea. With our bellies full and supplies packed we headed towards the starting point of the hike, Taudaha.
Getting off our ride we warmed up, divided the supplies consisting mainly of water. Initial part of the trip was through a small village with mixtures of modern and traditional houses, cattle grazing, small farms, kids going to school and the smell of rural life all around. Snapping pictures along the way with 3 photographers- Prajwol, Aayush and myself; the feeling of competition that arose was inevitable. Hikers were sweating in no time; the trip was not going to be easy as previously thought. Everyone hydrated and a quick photo session later we walked uphill reaching another village. Feeling a bit nostalgic the reality hit me, the real hike hadn’t even started yet. Feeling pumped up, we walked on as the sounds of vehicles faded and the air grew fresher as we continued on our way to Champadevi.
After another quick rest we continued. Walking uphill through the forest, clicking pictures and hearing experiences of olden hikes from Ishwor, Prajwol and Rajendra was great. As we reached higher the city started to come into sight and the Himalayas started to get clearer. Along the way we met women heading uphill to gather fodder for their cattle, rushing past us as we continued in our pace.
Slowly but steadily at 12:30 pm we reached our first base which was plain area filled with Sal trees with the Himalayan range in the backdrop. With another recharging session we were headed to our final destination around Champadevi. In time we walked with the sun in full glory and poems from Prajwol about the importance of tree shades. Along with Deepak, Ayush and Prabina we walked the stone steps engraved with love signs about young love and romantic jokes. We reached Champadevi Temple and a cool breeze blew past us, taking away the weariness we had accumulated through the walk thus far. After some prayers and entertainment from Subhash and Rajendra, we started our assent.
The trip downhill was so completely different from what we had come across till then; a combination of narrow steps, wet grounds, steep cliff, and I unfortunately had my slippery shoes on. The greenery turned into wilderness; and everyone grew silent, concentrating on every step they took. Along the way everyone slipped at some point, I personally was slipping at every other step. Ironically I just didn’t want to stop and was enjoying the adventure, only concerned about my camera not getting broken. The ascent took more time than we had thought but finally the sun shone on us and things got easier from there on. Looking back we were be proud of what we had just conquered. The sight of Deerwalk van had never made me so happy; it was time to go home. I dozed off along the way only to woken by Prajwol. We had a delightful Thakali lunch at 4:00 pm in Balkhu. The hike to Champadevi was over but the memories shall stay with me for some time to come.
We gathered in the Deerwalk parking lot at around 7 am for the hike, and waited for the arrival of the remaining hikers, who later informed us that they would be at Balkhu. After picking up everybody we moved on to our breakfast venue where we simply couldn’t stop laughing and cracking jokes at the menu. After having breakfast we stocked up the necessary supplies for the hike and moved on. We started the hike to Champadevi at around 10 am. The hike was thought to be moderate but what followed was anything but. The climb was slow and tiring but everyone was having a fun time in spite of it.
The climb was getting steeper and we were getting slower. We finally reached the top at around 1 pm. The view of the mountain range was breath taking, but the view of the valley kind of distracted us. The slow creeping city seemed to be engulfing the hills slowly. We stopped for a brief lunch and shared our thoughts on the day so far. After the quick break we cleaned up our lunch spot and headed on towards the Champadevi peak which seemed to be further than expected. The remainder of the trail was much harder because of the heat that was starting to take a toll on the hikers. The trail however had its own surprises as letters of “I hate you” and “I love u” were carved into rocks at places with seemingly amazing skills. When we reached Champadevi we found out that it was a shrine that the place was named after. There were some video and photo session before we decided to head back. On the way home we stopped for lunch at Balkhu. It was a fun day hiking and I look forward to other hikes in the future.