|Title||Hiking from Sankhu to Bhotechaur via Jhule|
|Route||Driving (Kathmandu >> Sankhu), Hiking (Sankhu >> Jhule >> Bhotechaur), Driving (Bhotechaur>> Kathmandu)|
|Date||April 6, 2013|
|Hike Duration||2 hrs|
|Participants||Anjan Prakash Karki, Jeevan Timilsina, Kapil Pandey, Manish Man Singh, Narendra Maden , Pramod Kumar Rai, Robert Woollam, Sawan Vaidya, Swoyambhu Shrestha.|
|Photos By||Anjan Prakash Karki, Manish Man Singh|
|Report By||Robert Woollam|
|Creative Support||Kanchan Raj Pandey, Rinesh N Bajracharya|
|Edited By||Rinesh N Bajracharya|
On Saturday April 6, 2013 I had the opportunity to experience my first Deerwalk outing. We left the campus around 9:30 AM and headed south out of Kathmandu toward our first stop of Sankhu. Immediately after departing the vehicle we were presented with an awesome painted archway that we walked under to get into the village. We stopped for some pictures before finding a local restaurant for breakfast and then enjoyed an hour or so of playing the card game Syabru before being on our way.
Next stop on the outing was Jhule back to the north east of Sankhu. In true form the guys were kind enough to the “new guy” and drove partway up the hill before we hopped out of the van and began our trek. It began by scaling some “step like” fields and enjoying the views of the surround farmland. I had an opportunity to eat wild Aaishelu which I can best describe as a small orange raspberry. It was great! We climbed for another 45 minutes or so through various degrees of “paths” before resting in the middle of the woods for another round of Syabru and some rest. After that it was more hiking and eventually meeting up with the van to head off to our next destination.
BhoteChaur is a mountainous farming region north east of Kathmandu. We drove through very winding roads being serenaded by the constant beeping of the van’s horn to alert oncoming traffic of our presence on the sharp turns and bends. We eventually came upon a busy village with a large school on the side of the mountain. We hopped out and asked for some recommendations for places to eat and were directed to a fairly new bamboo hut restaurant that overlooked a tea garden nearby.
As we drove toward our new destination we quickly realized that we didn’t have the proper vehicle to navigate the increasingly rocky terrain. Fearing for our jobs if we broke the van we parked near some houses and took off on our second hike of the day. It began innocently enough following a simple dirt road and the sides for the tea garden. Kapil Pandey quickly became frustrated with the serpentine tendency of the road and suggested we take a shortcut up a steep embankment toward the tea gardens themselves. He was quite convinced our bamboo restaurant was located at the top. We divided the team into two and most of us headed off on the “shortcut”. Full disclosure I was warned in advance of Kapil’s “shortcuts” and foolishly ignored the warning.
An hour of leg numbing hiking later we reached the top of the tea garden hill only to realize that the restaurant was much further ahead and up a much higher second hill. We received confirmation from our wiser co-workers who had maintained their course on the road and quite a ways ahead of us. So down the tea garden hill we went towards the road and followed in the others’ footsteps and eventually making it to the top and the restaurant. Admittedly at this point I was exhausted and was hoping there would be a Deerwalk helicopter to come and pick me up.
We had some nice views from the top of the hill while we waited for lunch. We eventually were seated in a small bamboo room at a large square table. It didn’t take long for the cards to come out again and we enjoyed a few games before we had a lunch of chicken, rice, and broth. After the meal we adjourned to the outside again and took in the incredible view of the tea garden below us and the mountains in the distances while enjoying what else…some tea.
Hiking back down the hill was much easier than I anticipated and we had a lot of laughs and some great pictures as we made our way back through the tea garden area. The serpentine road was welcome route on the return to the van and by the time we got back we were all pretty tired.
It took a couple of hours to get back to Katmandu through the winding mountain roads and I arrived back at my hotel around 7PM quite exhausted but thoroughly grateful for the experience. My time here in Kathmandu draws to a close for now but I’m grateful to those who have taken time out of their own lives to share their beautiful country with me. I’ll never forget the experiences I’ve had and look forward to making more in the future.