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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

The not-so-mini trek

Our trekking adventure began with an early morning and a hot bus ride through the hectic, yet cultural city of Kathmandu. Despite traffic through the city, we passed the time playing games on the bus as we picked up and met our trekking leaders along the way. Once we arrived Sundarijal, we were all super excited to begin the mini-trek we had been waiting for.

Even though adrenaline filled all of our bodies, the first day of the trek proved to be the most painstaking. While we only had to cover 11 kilometers, we had to climb 2100 ft (!) in elevation. Our trek began going through a stair-filled forest and many of us dreaded the intense humidity and sweating that accompanied us. After a couple of hours of endless inclines and a myriad of stairs, we made our first stop for lunch at an eatery along the trail where we had the first of many daal bhat meals on this trek. After a light rain, we continued our journey and were quickly exposed to a nightmare many of us didn’t know we had: leeches. Ultimately, we made it to Chisopani and were blessed with amazing views of the horizon and another dinner of daal bhat.

After the night in Chisopani, we woke up early and embarked on a long 23-kilometer hike. During the day, we ventured on a relatively level path and walked through the bird-filled forests of the Kathmandu valley. Along the way, we witnessed incredibly beautiful views of the lush, crop-filled landscape as we trekked through small villages in our path and once again stopped for some more daal bhat for lunch. After a long 7 hours of hiking, we finally arrived at Nagarkot and enjoyed a relaxing evening highlighted by Nick’s reading of The Perfect High by Shell Silverstein. The tea house we stayed at also had a guitar and drums lying around, and we all enjoyed listening to Benjamin play in a drum circle with some Nepali folks, as well as Alessandro, Rishi, and I fiddling around with the guitar. Luckily for us, this tea house also offered us an escape from the ubiquitous daal bhat, as we enjoyed some pasta, chicken, and juice before resting for another long day ahead of us.

The morning of our last day started off wonderfully as we had breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance, as well as a familiar breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast. Soon after, we departed Nagarkot and preceded towards Dhulikel on another long day of hiking highlighted by copious riddles we pondered on along the way. On the hiking path, we observed amazing views of the valley and livestock as we traversed through farms, forests, and small villages. As we finally reached Dhulikel, we enjoyed some delicious milk tea and hopped on a bus to Namo Buddha Monastery, where we all enjoyed singing along to some nostalgic pop music and looking at amazing views of the beautiful horizons as our awesome trek came to an end.

While the trek was difficult at times, it really helped bring the group closer together and perfect our team chemistry as we delve into Buddhism at our week-long stay at Namo Buddha. But as we reflect on these three days, one thing was really cemented in our brains:

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and a nice homecooked meal of daal bhat.

Written by Blake