Sepru Para in Ruma, Bandarban is surrounded by a nice hillside. During our long journey, this neighbourhood was a lot like a base station for us.
Since we already knew the karbari (village head) and his family members, the hospitality we received here was also special.
Karbari's grandson, John and son-in-law, Shanto, were both very friendly and helpful so there was no scope of becoming bored for us. With Shanto as our guide, we started our journey to the Maithaizama and Dumlong peaks.
Our trip took place last year during monsoon, around June or July. Along with sightseeing, we planned to scale six of the highest peaks in Bangladesh including Dumlong and Maithaizama.
Dumlong is considered to be the third highest mountain peak in the country. This hill belonging to the Rentlang Range is about 3,316 feet in height and located in the Bilaichhari Upazila of Rangamati.
Our journey began long before dawn. Among the teammates, Mariam Apa, Mamun Bhai and Palash had visited Dumlong before. So we understood why they did not want to go on such a long and arduous journey for the second time.
Moreover, they also had different plans to visit the Rumana Para.
We started walking rapidly in the dark with torches in our hands. The idea was to move forward as much as possible for as long as we had energy.
The light of dawn broke as we walked through the jhiri path (a trail along a stream). Going to Dumlong from Sepru Para meant we had to cross the Maithaizama Hafong at first.
The only thing that was comfortable that day was not having to carry a huge backpack. However, cloudy weather was also a threat as rain could raise the water level on the trail. For the first hour or so, everyone just ran to save as much time as possible.
Being late would mean increasing risk while trekking at night on our way back. There was a huge, steep road which had to be climbed with the help of a long bamboo. If we are late, it would be more dangerous to cross this road.
Shortly afterwards, we took our first break. At the end of the break, we started running again. When we came to a jhiri, John saw a fruit the size of a pendant and he picked it up for us to see.
It was a tiny, ripe mango and we had never seen anything like it. We gathered as many of these wild mangoes as we could and ate them with relish. They tasted delicious and gave us instant energy.
With the help of our guide and Google Map, we decided to walk the trail instead of going up the hill. When the hilly path started, we started walking across huge bushes.
After many hurdles, we finally reached the top of the Maithaizama Hill. Cold, dark clouds were all around and nothing could be seen even three feet away.
When we reached the peak by walking through dense bamboo bushes, it was about quarter to nine. We could not believe we actually reached before the estimated time!
Maithaizama Hafong is unofficially the sixth highest peak in Bangladesh. The height is about 3,164 feet.
Although we entered through Bandarban, the location of these hills is actually in Bilaichhari of Rangamati.
As mentioned earlier, nothing was visible due to the clouds and we were surrounded by an eerie silence. We took a break for a photo session and then rested for a bit.
The distance from Maithaizama Hill to Dumlong Hill is quite long; no less than the path we had already travelled.
We then resumed our journey. The roads were barely crossed by human beings and light drizzle turned them dangerously slippery. Even though we were extra cautious, we slipped in quite a few places while going down the hill.
We did not dare to take a break because of the mosquitoes. Also, some paths were extremely difficult to cross.
At last, we could see the mighty Dumlong Hill in front of us. I was so tired that I did not want to move even a little bit. But we were quite close to the top.
At around noon, we reached the Dumlong peak. This time too, we arrived long before the estimated time.
We all sat down and had our lunch. The guide offered us some sweets he had brought from home. After taking some photos we were ready to leave.
We were exhausted and walked like zombies! At around 3:30 in the afternoon, we arrived at the ruins of a jumghar (a house built in the midst of a jum cropland). We took a break here.
When we crossed the Maithaizama peak, it was late and everyone's pace was getting slower. Finally, we reached Sepru Para at 8pm.
After taking a shower and eating dinner, it was difficult to stay awake for a minute. I fell asleep in anticipation of a beautiful morning.