A story rife with adventure and parting morale is one worth telling, and it’s especially better if it is one from your life. The secret to what makes a terrific well-lived tale is the amount of time you have dedicated to exploration- the world has a lot to offer, and you have a lot to experience. This brings us to one of my own experiences with mother nature herself, which elaborates on how my friends and I took it as our mission to touch the clouds of Pokhara’s Sarangkot Hill in Nepal.
Far from being a morning person, I struggled to get out of bed. After enduring the grueling process of getting ready while being half asleep, I finally managed to drag my “zombified” body out of the room only to find my companions in a state of limbo on the hotel lobby floor.
In a feeble attempt to wake up completely and not get judged by my guide, I slapped ice-cold water on my face multiple times. Our guide finally arrived at our hotel 5:30 in the morning to pick us up. With the hope to loosen up my body, we began our hike from our hotel. Sadly, my hope remains unfulfilled to this day.
Moving along with the story. As motivated as morning roosters, we reached the bottom of our 5,250 ft mammoth. Feeling like an ant in front of the behemoth, I focused on how far I could push myself.
Not to anyone’s surprise, our guide began to prance the hill upward while making a point of how out of shape we were. Quite rightly so, years of sitting in a cubicle caught up to us as the path ahead became steeper. If that was not embarrassing enough, packs of school children came up from behind us and skipped away merrily leaving us in their dust. These were seasoned warriors!
PIECE OF ADVICE FOR READERS, IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO FOR A HIKE, AVOID SMOKING FOR AT LEAST FOUR DAYS AND GIVE YOUR LUNGS A BREAK
Playing motivational Ted Talks in my head, I managed to push on and worm our way through the woods. The path in front of us got rockier with each step. To add salt to the wound, it started to drizzle, rendering the moss-covered stone steps slippery. Thanks to my combat boots made in Kachukhet, my skin was saved from plunging into the depth of the forbidden woods (Harry Potter reference)!
By the time we started to climb the steep path of seventy degrees, two of our comrades had given into exhaustion and decided to head back. Piece of advice for readers, if you are planning to go for a hike, avoid smoking for at least four days and give your lungs a break. Getting into the habit of walking a minimum of at least fifteen thousand steps a week prior would also be a great help for your muscles to get accustomed to the daily exertion.
This realisation came as we saw the construction labourers walking up the hill carrying heavy tiles and rocks on their backs blurred in front of our visions as they expertly navigated their way ahead of us. The guide then topped it off with a friendly reminder that Sarangkot is apparently one of the easiest and shortest hikes in Nepal. This was definitely life’s own way of rubbing it in our faces that we need to hit the gym, first thing after returning home.
IT IS IMPERATIVE TO CARRY BOTTLES OF MINERAL WATER AND ELECTROLYTES IN YOUR BAG. IT IS ALSO EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO SIP WATER EVERY FORTY MINUTES TO AN HOUR
After an hour of climbing the rocky ledges, we were reminded that the invulnerability of our once teenage body is now a thing of the past. For those who plan to go for a hike must make sure they build up enough core strength to endure the constant strain on your muscles. Dehydration will sneak up on you like dementors before you realize. Hence it is imperative to carry bottles of mineral water and electrolytes in your bag. It is also equally important to sip water every forty minutes to an hour. Gulping it down in one go like your life depends on it is not advised. Trust me; it is not a pretty sight.
On our way to the top, we came across small settlements of beautiful cottages and houses from where we were able to refill our bottles. We took a moment there, to appreciate the modest lifestyle of the mountain people. Their seemingly innocent send-off, “Have a nice walk” felt like darts thrown at our backs.
After making each of my muscle fiber screaming at individual frequencies for 4 hours straight, my companion and I were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the majestic Fishtail of the Himalayan range before the view was engulfed by the pesky clouds. Not only did the sight make everything that we had endured worth it, the ache in our muscles dissipated in mere moments.
After reaching the top of the hill at over five thousand feet, the preeminent mountain view with scenic local villages of the different cultures and traditions of Nepalese natives made me aware of how much I have yet to explore.
As a celebratory drink, we ordered hot tea and looked out into the distance, while I pictured myself as a Viking who had just conquered a mountain. My comrade then pulled me back to reality by informing me, (much to our dismay) that we would have to take the same path on our way down. We didn’t. We took a taxi instead.