The lesson from the story seems to be a bit weird when it comes to survival in the jungle, I know. But you would soon realise why this seems more appropriate rather than saying that don’t try the treks that you are not aware of when tigers can be around at the same time.
Sarankot (1610m) – day hike – 5/6 hours from the town called ‘Pokhara’ in Nepal
4th Day in Nepal, we had successfully climbed up this day long hike but one problem was that we started a bit late. It was the day after Shivratri so me and my friend were of course not in the best state of our mind but we had been thinking of being more active and lose some weight in the holidays that we had gained from the various cuisines we already had so far. We anyways got determined to do this trek which didn’t look very threatening looking at our level of fitness and it was around 1 PM when we started. It was very sweaty but still refreshing to get to the top. We took our time to take some nice shots and admired the beauty of the town from there.
I have already posted some really nice pictures that I was able to take the same day of sunset (only that I didn’t mention that it was half an hour before we were getting our new lesson in life https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/a-magical-evening-from-nepal/
Soon we realised that we have been descending for quite a while via road and it does not seems to take us anywhere near the town hence I pointed out to a trek that was near the road and looked like a short cut. My friend agreed with me and we both started following this trek more quickly than we had thought as the sun was on its way home much too quick. We heard few kids laughing and saying there are tigers in the forest but their tone didn’t seemed to be serious hence we assumed it to be a common joke around the locals.
Soon we had arrived the rice terraces with no one left around and we are still descending. We could see the town somewhere far away below but it was still a long way to go. Now there was no clear trek so we started jumping one rice paddies at a time. Then we spotted a farmer winding down his day and thought it as a good idea to ask him for the direction. He looked a bit amazed looking at us, two girls, in the middle of nowhere and keen to make our way in this wilderness into the dark. But he anyways pointed out to the right side and said good bye. As usual we obeyed to any guidance provided by this so called only available local expert in this foreign land but soon we realised there was no way that we can go ahead in that direction, else we will end up being in the very dense forest. And if we try to climb down the rice paddies then it was as high as the wall of an average room so there were quite a few chances of breaking our legs in case we jump from there. We thought that we were following the easier trek earlier (before we took the promising direction guidance from the farmer) so we might want to go back (to the left). So we thought of backtracking our way a little and successfully did half of it in one direction. But now there was no staircase like paddies left, all we could see were high walls all around and it was getting harder to imagine ourselves climbing down those with any success to getting close to the city. We scrambled few bushes and tried to follow the water streams between the gaps of two rice terraces vertically but then it was getting dark all too soon.
Then we made an unsuccessful attempt to cross the rice paddies horizontally via the water stream and got ourselves into a very steep rock soon and back tracked the same to reach the top of the paddy. My friend was brave to say that it’s ok if we have to stay in the forest and back of my mind I started counting the resources we had to stay there – none. No tent, no water, nothing to eat, nothing to cover ourselves and no torch (battery of my mobile was also dying). She was confident to an extent that she was telling me to climb the tree if an animal shows up and here I was not trained in all these traits of climbing trees, living in the forest with nothing. Ouch, I felt a bit scared and my mind started racing to find a way out. I asked her if she is ok to back track the way up and go back to the street from where we descended at least that way we will be close to civilization and will be able to get a ride home if nothing. Thankfully she agreed and my heartbeat got a bit normal. Then next challenging task was to lead the way and I volunteer to do that. Soon I felt as if I had eyes of a cat (people used to say that I had catlike eyes – hazel), but joke apart, It really helped because I was able to see my way in very dim light from the moon.
Finally after 30 minutes of struggle we were able to see few people sitting near the farm. I can’t explain how relaxing it was as if we found the lost treasure there. Now I was more hopeful thinking that we would definitely be safe and alive now. But there you go, a guy from the group said that he can help us to go back to the same rice paddies and show us the proper track that we have just missed. This was not happening, as it was really dangerous to go back but he tempted us with the time it would have taken to get home through this short cut. And a moment later we were following him through the same path. Annoying – yes it was at that time but survival was more necessary than any other emotion at that point of time. My friend snapped at him once as well when he started doing the small talk by asking where she is from. She replied – ‘How does it matter at this time?’ and it was true we were there stuck in the middle of nowhere and not at all in the mood of this kind of conversation. But after a while we became more relaxed as we realized that he knew where he was taking us. My phone was of some help with the light to show us the way as well.
But the happiness of being found didn’t last too long. There it was – he said it. He started telling us that there is a tiger or may be a few in that forest and he even confirmed the path we had taken after being guided by the farmer few hours ago was where they saw the tiger few days ago. I gulped and didn’t know how to react. I was not sure to look ahead or look back to make sure no tiger is following me. Not that I would say that I am afraid of dying. But at least I wanted to be ready. My friend wanted me to take her picture looking into the eyes of tiger in case she encounters such situation and put it on Facebook (lol). But now that looked like a really bad joke when in the dark I was not sure where to look for this dangerous creature. It was not even like going into a national park to spot one…here we were not willing but still in risk of seeing one in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to shout or cry not sure what but I had to man up and focus on the way.
Soon when we were just able to gather our calm and cool again he threw another piece of information on us about a Japanese girl who got lost there like this almost a year ago. I was expected some kind of horror story now. But thank God it was alright. He told us that she gave him a lot of money to save her life, not that he fought with the tiger and all. But it was when we were ready to follow the track at our own when he asked if he can stay with us. Now that was awkward. We told him that we can give him money but he should find his way back home after that. There was a little discussion now on this as I preached this guy about morality and pointed out that we are happy to pay for what he is doing for us and we really appreciate his help. We realised that he was more risky to be around than the tiger then we decided to pay him money and track our way back home from there. We did that and finally got to the main road and took a deep breath. Our first reaction was a little shock realizing that we are safe and alive but we had a laugh soon when we started walking in the middle of road and my friend said that it would look very bad if after surviving through the forest we got hit by a car there.
We stopped for dinner on the way home in a nice looking restaurant, not that we were looking very good to enter there but we stopped anyways. We really needed some good food after no lunch all day (just late breakfast) and all this adventure. I liked a quote from my friend that we should be really good friends that we didn’t fight during this crises today. I really felt relaxed after all this and the meal tasted as if I never had that good a meal in my life. It was a meal after you just got another chance to live 😉 Now I think I am exaggerating it.
Thanks for reading dear friend. It was one of the experiences I will always remember and I am glad that you lived it with me again.