Trek to the Clouds

Text by Svasti Garg

Trek to the Clouds

You don’t have to go far and away to enjoy a day in the wilderness, look around you, and you’ll discover there’s plenty nearby, too.

Despite the concrete jungle that Kathmandu has become, there are still small slices of nature as yet untouched by all the hustle and bustle. I wanted to experience nature in its truest form, thus a short hike of the Shivapuri trail was the perfect solution. It is the second highest hill around Kathmandu and stands at a height of 2,563 meters. This trail merges with the famous Shivapuri Wildlife Reserve, Sundarijal-Shivapuri National Park. Baghdwar, one of the sources of Bagmati River is located nearby and snakes its way throughout the trail.

It was a bright, sunny Saturday morning with blue skies making it perfect weather for the trek. We began from Budhanilkanta, where we parked our car right outside the gate of Shivapuri National Park. Armed with a bag filled with water, some food, hiking shoes, and two hiking sticks, I began my trek with my father and a few friends. Initially, we were walking on a smooth cemented road, but we suddenly stopped in front of an off-trail path that wiped the smirk off my face. This was the real start of our trek, as from that moment, we climbed uphill on a path that was roughly embedded with large rocks that acted as footholds. With the sun shining brightly, I started hiking with full vigor. From this experience, I understood that one should not underestimate the ease of the trek.

In fact, this trek was much more challenging than a session at the gym, as your muscles are tested to the limit. As I kept climbing the scenery around me changed, as well. The greenery became more lush and vibrant, the air got cleaner. We were surrounded by nuts scattered across the ground and damp leaves. The chirping of the birds and insects was the best part. It felt like I was enveloped in a bubble of serenity. It was so peaceful that I completely forgot about my phone, which is usually my lifeline. As I continued my hike, I was in awe of the continuous change in the patterns of the weather. Sometimes it got sunny and sometimes it would be damp. The climb was at times hypnotizing. It felt like I was in sync with my surroundings.

We stopped for a break at an intersection that led to various villages. What left me dumbfounded were the women carrying heavy bags laden with produce climb the trail with such ease only in their simple footwear. As we kept gaining altitude, all of a sudden we were surrounded by clouds, and it felt like they were whispering against our skin. As we passed by, I felt that I was being hugged by the clouds. Soon, the atmosphere became heavier and the climb a bit difficult. I did not realize how three hours had passed by so quickly.

As we neared the summit, I almost gave up, and felt like the steps were never ending. But, after a few words of encouragement from my dad, I finally reached the top. I was swamped with feelings of achievement, and the view left me speechless. It was a breathtaking view of the entire mountain range, which enthralled me. We sat there in silence, just taking it in. Finally, it was time for us to descend, and it was much easier than expected. The stairs were broad, which made it easy. The trees filtered the sunlight, which was pleasant to our eyesight. Before I knew it, we were back at the spot where we started. I felt a little sad that the journey was over, but my sore muscles didn’t let me forget!

This was one of the best treks that I have ever done. It was challenging for me, but definitely worth the pain. It was the perfect getaway from the usual humdrum of our busy lives. I would definitely recommend that everyone should try this trek.