Pratik Kafle Sailung resides high amongst the clouds, straddling the border of Dolkha and Ramechap districts in northeast Nepal. Getting to Mude, the is a straightforward affair. However, the trekking trail is much more strenuous and roads to the Sailung are in poor condition due to the rainy season. Day 1: Fueled with doughnuts and a cup of hot tea, we, twelve hikers, left Deerwalk Complex at 6.30 am. Biting protein bars en route and enjoying 5 hours of ride, we reached Mude at around 11:30 am. Before we had lunch, the sky was grey and the foggy. However, it all got better with our hike. The terrain wasn’t too bad either. We were apt to head out into the wilderness, to feel stranger in strange lands, out of our comfort zone. We kept walking up the inclines, breathlessly. The landscape and the difficulty of the hike both increased as we ascended higher. To catch our breaths, we kept taking short breaks in every 20 steps. Everything we were witnessing was spectacular until it began to shower.
We believed tramping is not a race; it’s all about the journey. So, we started to enjoy the walk in the forest.
We believed tramping is not a race; it’s all about the journey. So, we started to enjoy the walk in the forest. The interplay between the descending fog, rain and the rays of the sunset provided perfect tempo for the walk but we were short of time. So we increased our pace and after 6 long tiring hours, we reached Sailung. The damp clouds obscured the view of the hillocks and the mountains. Wet from top to bottom, we struggled to find our way to Kholakharka. By the time we reached the Kholakharka village, our stay for the hike, the sky was already pitch dark; rain still hammering in. We kept our backpacks aside and sat by the fire; the local herbal tea added to the warmth. Time was to drink local, think global and rest is history. Day 2: We woke up early and heard our fellow hikers scream –“Beauty!”. How often do you get a day when it all comes together: magnificent location, apt weather, and breathtaking scenery? Well, we were lucky. Time came for us to say goodbye to Sailung. So we left ith memories and views. On our way back, we got a chance to meet some exquisite wild horses and take some pictures. The return downhill was a little quicker as we had already done most of the sightseeing on our way in, and by the time we made it back to the base we were all ready for lunch and a siesta. Sailung resides high amongst the clouds, straddling the border of Dolkha and Ramechap districts in northeast Nepal. Getting to Mude, the hiking depot is a straightforward affair. However, the trekking trail is much more strenuous, and roads to the Sailung are in poor condition.
Sitamsh Rijal “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...”--- Charles Dickens When I read those words in Dickens’s famous novel, A tale of two cities at age 13, they were about England and France during a time of political upheaval and how the times were paradoxically the best and the worst to live in. I never thought they would apply so perfectly to my first hiking experience ten years later. Our hike to the remote destination Sailung was eventful, dramatic, perilous, and pretty much everything I never thought my first hiking would be. I was scared, my brain was conjuring up scenarios fit for horror movies and I am probably hiked out for at least a year. I can’t really explain why I wanted to go hiking. I’d never hiked anywhere before. Perhaps I wanted to try something new or maybe I was gripped by Wanderlust; a beautiful German word describing a longing/desire for travel and adventure. I can only think that my fellow hikers were experiencing Wanderlust too. In any case, everybody was excited to hike. The trail to Sailung was not easy. Sure at first, the roads, though muddy, were still decent and walking wasn’t difficult. But soon the roads turned to steep stairs, a stream through the middle of the forest, slippery paths. For a time, especially through a stretch of forest that was kinda scary, I felt like Frodo from The Lord of the Rings, walking through Mordor to destroy the One Ring. When the hiking duration was estimated to be 5 hours to Sailung, I thought “How hard can walking 5 hours be?”, but it turned out we had to walk closer to 9 hours to get to Sailung. For a while, we weren’t sure we’d get to Sailung. See, most of us got lost on our way there. It was dark and foggy around us. All we could hear was the wind howling in our ears.
We wandered for a while without really seeing where we’re going and not even finding the direction we’re supposed to go.
We wandered for a while without really seeing where we’re going and not even finding the direction we’re supposed to go. Luckily, We found a small shelter, probably a shed to keep animals. We made a fire and were ready to spend the night there if needed. We had little food left. A small group had made it to the village we were supposed to go. They came looking for us and found us. We arrived at Sailung late at night. The hiking reminded me that nature isn’t just beautiful and serene. It can be quite unforgiving, uncaring, and unyielding. It exists without us looking at it and will endure long after us. We were humbled before nature. I was also amazed by the uncanny human ability to adapt and change to their situation. People were living and thriving in the incredibly remote place we went to, raising animals and living out their lives. To return to the line from A tale of two cities, I felt incredibly hopeless and scared for a period of time. But after all of that, I was glad that I came to Sailung. It was possibly the best experience one could ask for on a first hike; the ambivalence of experience really awesome things and very dreary things at the same time. After finally returning home and collapsing in my bed, I felt a sense of Wohlweh, which is another German word describing pain that is pleasurable (Sorry if I am using German words in an English blog a little too much. I can’t help it. I am learning German right now and German words are marinating in my brain).