Phulchowki – one of the hills to be conquered, on top of my long list of hiking trails around Kathmandu valley. The towering Phulchowki after a long wait (read: YEARS) I finally got the chance to hike it with my best friend! This one trip was done by just three Sarita, Pramesh and me as everyone else was caught up in their own world.
For the hike, we assembled in the Lagankhel Bus Park around 7 AM where we bought some snacks for the trip and got on the micro bus headed towards Godawari, our starting mark for the trip. From Lagankhel to Godawari its 13 km which takes about 25 minutes micro-bus ride assuming if there is no traffic.
As we headed uphill on the hike, we saw a girl practicing her scooty riding skill; unfortunately she had a little accident right in front of us because she was trying to avoid hitting a Chicken crossing the road!
She hit her face right on the pavement. Thankfully there weren’t any other vehicles on the downhill road. Since, Pramesh had knowledge of what to do at times like these he helped the girl with her injuries (just some cuts on her face) and we went to the park further down to get a micro-bus to get her to a near medical facility.
After we left her in a nearby clinic in the care of her family, we now headed once more to our goal, Phulchowki! When we finally started our hike it was already 10 in the morning. We just followed the trail road winding up the hill getting little sights of the town below now and then. The rest of the hike up the hill was quiet and uneventful except the three of us chatting away and hearing some sounds coming from the bushes.
We had started our hike a little late in the morning so, after some time of hiking we decided to take shortcuts for rest of the way as it would also make us feel like we were actually hiking the hills of Phulchowki and not just walking on some man-made road for vehicles.
Further up the hill we kind of got lost in the dense forest which was quite amazing to see and walk on almost non-existing trails that only wild animals would take. Watching every step we took so as not to break a leg or two, we came upon the hiking trails and a while after that we caught up with a bunch of other hikers on their way up to the top of Phulchowki.
Closing in on our destination we climbed up stairs after stairs and finally were on top of the hill where there is the mark of the height of Phulchowki (2782 m). There we saw the tower for telecommunication and the army barrack stationed there to safeguard it. We rested there for a while, had lunch, snapped some pictures but there wasn’t much of a view because of the gloomy but cool weather.
Before we left from there we took a short tea break in the cold weather that was residing on top of the mountain which I presume is always the case. Then it was onto our journey back home. We had so much fun hiking right through the middle of the forest that we decided to do the same while coming back down the hill. Sarita led the way and we followed on her trails joking, laughing and chatting away.
Short cuts after short cuts, one in particular led us off-track and we ended up seven hills further from where we were supposed to be. Sun coming down real quick and time running out, we didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere in the dark. So, we walked faster and came upon small shops where people were enjoying their Saturday. We asked a person if the trail there leads to Godawari, he confirmed it and again we cut our way right through the dense forest. I think at some points we even ran downhill!
We breathe a sigh of relief when we landed on ICIMOD Knowledge Park, Godawari. With a skip on our feet, we came out of there and squeezed our way through a tiny opening in the bushes near the LOCKED gate (None of us had any energy left that could make us climb up and out the locked gate!)
Finally, we (read: I) dragged my feet holding Sarita’s hand in the dark and made it to the bus park at Godawari, six in the evening. Unfortunately, the micro-bus was already packed and for another one, we would have to wait a while which was out of the question. That led us to walk AGAIN for another 20 minutes aimlessly by the side of the road but thankfully we got a ride on a micro-bus which had a few empty seats!
Feeling wonderful from the day’s events minus the girl’s accident we witnessed, we were a jolly bunch who just finished a complete hike of Phulchowki that took us around 6 hours. Saying our goodbyes at Lagankhel, we went our separate ways with sweet smile on our faces and carrying bags full of memories!