Sleeping Under The Stars (Chisapani)
I heard something breathe slowly and heavily outside our tent. In the quietest tone possible I called to my friend,”Did you hear that?” . He heard it too. Scared, I laid my head down and told myself “What have I got myself into?”
Before I tell you what happened, let me tell you how it all started.
I had bought a new tent and I wanted to get the bang for every Rs I paid for it. So, I wanted to camp whenever I made plans to travel and this time I chose Chisapani.
Chisapani lies inside the Shivapuri National Park. This place has so much wilderness to offer. That means amazing starry nights and the best view from the tent. I got my colleagues excited talking about it.
I will fast forward my journey to our camping spot so that I do not get you guys bored.
Started our journey from Thamel. We rented sleeping bags, stove and a mattress. From there we walked to Ratnapark, hopped into a bus to Sundarijal. Ate our lunch, bought noodles and biscuits. Got a huge polythene bag to pick up trash left by hikers.
After we left Mulkhara, we started picking up trash. We picked enough trash to fill the huge polythene bag up to the brim. Left the trash to burn at a place which is a 30mins walk from Dhaap.
I could not find the camping spot which I had discovered some time ago so we decided to settle for a place where the water source was near too.
As soon as we got there, we setup the camp, cooked noodles then went out to fetch water. Due to strong winds, we could not start a fire. We did start a fire but the wind blew its flames away. The place we were staying had dried grass. We were afraid that we would burn the whole hill.So we put out the fire and moved back to the camp.
It was getting dark and we had no fire. The cold strong wind forced us to move inside the tent. We 4 campers made ourself comfortable in a 3 man tent. We had to squeeze and utilize every empty space to make us comfortable. The wind blew hard and the tent`s rain cover moved violently which made it impossible for me to sleep. When the wind blew, it moved the trees and the long dried grass around our tent. It created a feeling that something was approaching our tent.These things got me very paranoid. I was just waiting for the night to pass and we still had 7 hours before 5 am.
At 11 pm my friend woke up feeling uncomfortable and headed outside to throw up. After some time, he came in and we zipped the tent. A few minutes later, I heard something breathe slowly and heavily outside our tent. I called to my friend,”Did you hear that?” in the quietest tone possible. He heard the breathing outside the tent too. Laying my head down, I told myself “What have I got myself into?”. I do not know what that thing was. I guess it was a leopard or a tiger or deer. We did have a small knife with us but I doubt if that would help to defend us. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
At 1 am I woke up again.It was so hot inside the tent that I did not even use my sleeping bag.I took off my woolen hoodie and used it as a blanket. The sleeping bag I was using was wet with my sweat. I tried to sleep again but my friend was snoring so loud. The reason we are safe now is because of his snoring. I guess that scared off the predators.
At 5 am, I and my friend woke up. I unzipped the tent and saw hills covered with fogs. Though it was an ok view, I enjoyed it because I was happy to be alive to see the morning. We had survived the night in the wilderness.
The night after the camping, I was getting ready to sleep. I turned off the light and rolled in my bed. It was a privilege to sleep in such a nice warm bed. My room was dark and suddenly my heart started to pound hard. The trauma has not yet left me. I remembered how pitch black the wilderness was. Then the heavy breathing outside the tent. I kept thinking what would have happened if I had unzipped the tent to look outside at that moment. Things like these started to play in my mind. I am happy to be alive and tell this one heck of a story now.
The next morning I was getting ready to got to work. The first time in my life, I was happy to see so many people in the streets, I felt healthy to breathe in the polluted air.
This camping trip was not fun but it was definitely an experience. Due to my naivety, I nearly got my friends killed by some wild animal. Please learn from my mistake.
When camping, make sure you are camping near a human settlement.Make sure that you have easy and quick access to water. Camp in a group of more than 6 people. Carry a knife every time.
If you somehow end up camping miles away from human settlement, camp in the slope of the hill. It will block strong winds and make it easy to start a fire.