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April 5, 2019

Jungle Diary

Khim Ghale

The Jungle, where I was lost for 3 hours Trekking in Nepal
The Jungle, where I was lost for 3 hours Trekking in Nepal

We were on an expedition to Lamjung’s Barahpokhari area, in the last week of April. While returning, I lost my way. I kept loitering here and there in the dense forest for nearly three hours.

This is the jungle, I lost for 3 hours

Trekking in Nepal
The jungle where I was lost for 3 hours

I remembered the recent news related to lost people in the jungle. My heart weakened a bit. Especially, I remembered the Taiwan couple who were lost in the jungle in April 2017. I thought I might face the same fate. I recalled another news event about a couple lost while trekking in and around Ruppy valley in Dhading. When the local rescue team had arrived, the youth was alive, while the girl was dead.

But in my case, I did not lose my heart. With courage, I walked back along the uphill road and reached the previous main road junction by taking nearly two hours, which I had walked down in just one hour before. Then I met with the local rescue team that came to look for me. And I followed them until I reached the destination.

My Mistakes

My first mistake was to depart from my group. Our group comprised of 16 members. One group was a fast walker and the second group was a slow one. I walked with the fast walking group. However, I could not keep pace with this. I was left behind. But I also did not wish to wait for the group coming at the back. I thought what’s harm in walking alone. I continued to walk further though I had little doubt that I was not walking on the right route.

Before I lost in jungle, the view from my was like this
Trekking in Nepal
A view of the site before I was lost in jungle

After walking for a while, the road, I was taking branched off. One narrow track led to another side while another track went down side. Since I was somewhat physically tired by this time, I thought I should choose to walk by this road which was going downwards. This was the place where I actually missed my right trail to reach my destination.

Ignoring Trekking Route Signs

I ignored roads signs left by the group members, who were walking far ahead of me. I did not take care of any road signs. That’s why I landed on wrong track. Furthermore, I dared to continue walking by guessing that I would reach my destination.

While trekking back only that I could see those roads signs. I started walking fast thinking that the second group from behind also might have walked past me.

My group members in a trip
Trekking in Nepal, Barapokhari
My group members

After walking fast for nearly 10 minutes also I did not meet any one. I suddenly reached a green meadow where few cows were grazing but the cowherd was not there. I took the trail leading to the hill. I reached the hill top within 15 minutes. And for nearly 45 minutes I walked down the hill and kept walking.

Delayed Communication

I communicated with my team only after walking for nearly 45 minutes under the impression that I was on the right track.  It was risky enough to continue walking alone in the jungle even after knowing that something was wrong. I was much far away from my team when I communicated with them.

Unable to locate my whereabouts and direction

I had a mobile with a network. But I feared that mobile battery might get low when using the internet to locate the direction and whereabouts. I failed to tell the rescue team where I was and the direction of my position. Instead, I tried to return to the same point from where I had come so far. I trudged along the uphill track to reach the earlier point.

I was lucky that my team was anxiously waiting for me at the same point where I had taken the wrong trail.

We met again and returned to our destination. My team was also preparing to fetch a new battery for a torchlight to search for me, if not found in time. The local team had also imagined that the wild bear they had seen earlier in the jungle might have eaten me up.

Flora and fauna like this 
Trekking in Nepal
Flora and fauna

My Suggestions

We usually hear, see and read stories about any accident or lost people during expeditions or trekking. I would like to make few suggestions here which are based on my personal experience and knowledge.

  1. Before going on any expeditions or trekking, try to know in detail about the area, tracks, situation, and local villages.
  2. Make full preparation for your journey by equipping with all the basic materials required for the trip such as a map, GPS.
  3. Never leave your expedition team and guide who know much about that area. Don’t dare to walk alone.
  4. Once you know that you are on the wrong route, then immediately return to the same area or point from where you took the wrong track.
  5. Immediately communicate with the team leader or team members.
  6. If lost, then try to reach any topmost area and give a loud call to your team.
  7. Never make mistake to walk on the wrong path continuously. Walk only when you are sure that the path you are taking is the right one.
  8. Do not hesitate. If you hesitate, you will make mistakes.
  9. Return to the previous place by following the same path by which you came. Your rescue members will follow the same route.

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