On most days, hikers in Sonaichhari trail start the walk early in the morning.
As they walk through the rocky trails heading towards the bat cave, they carefully adjust their feet between the slippery stones and ascend steep uphill, before descending back down the slick trail leading towards the waterfall.
Most hikers walk back to the village through the same route while some make another steep uphill climb from the right corner of the waterfall.
Either way, when hikers get back to the village at the trail mouth, the sun is scorching as the clock is usually ticking past the lunch hour.
Bathed in sweat and driven by the empty bellies after a difficult walk, every hiker races towards grocer Joynal Abedin's house on the edge of the trail.
During the peak season, on weekends and government holidays, Joynal hosts and feeds about 100 guests. The weekdays do not see such a huge rush of guests, though.
Lunch at Joynal's costs around Tk150-Tk200 per plate, depending on the menu, which includes rice, egg, chicken, daal, bhorta, even beef or goose if you want.
You may perhaps find better food at a lesser price in Mirsarai Bazaar by the Dhaka-Chattogram highway. But for that, you will either have to walk a few kilometres down the village street to the bazaar, or you can also get a CNG/rickshaw, if you are lucky enough. CNG/rickshaws are hard to find at the trail opening.
Joynal, on the other hand, can offer you a clean toilet, a place to take a bath (Tk50 per person), and necessary rest after a tiresome walk that you will not get in the hotels. He also arranges a home-stay if you want to spend the night.
At present, Bangladesh's hiking-centred tourism is largely dominated by various Facebook-based tour groups. And it is these groups, one can deduce, which popularised trekking, hiking, etc among local tourists, starting approximately five years ago.
These groups also conduct trekking tours in the Chattogram hill tracks on weekends.
And if you ask any of the group operators who led their teams to Mirsarai's Sonaichhari trail in Chattogram about Joynal Abedin, they will, invariably, have a lot of stories to tell you.
He is now quite famous among the hiking groups.
How the village grocer found an alternative livelihood
The day we walked this trail in early March, our team had 40 hikers, including women and teenagers.
With such big teams, you will not enjoy the bliss of silence, the chirping of crickets, the rhythmic tune of cascading water or have the space to take in the majesty of desolate rocks.
Human cacophony will drown out the harmony of nature; it is what it is.
However, the number of hikers on this trail has been increasing exponentially in the last few years. And that has changed the game for village grocer Joynal.
Iftakhar Hamid, team leader of a renowned Facebook-based tour group named Shopnoghuri, was leading our team.
"I met Joynal three years ago when I came with my team in Shonaichaari for the first time. Since his grocery stall is the last store before the trail, we stopped there to buy water and other essentials. Joynal approached me asking if we wanted to have lunch at his place.
And ever since, every time I come here, he hosts and prepares our food," said Iftakhar, adding "In three years, I saw how the tourists have changed the life of Joynal. He used to live in a mud house back then, and now he has a nice tin-shed structure."
When we reached his house after the day's hike, Joynal, along with his wife and sons, were busy serving food to our team. We found another hungry team already waiting to eat.
Joynal, now a 45-year-old man, did not get the scope to study much when he turned to business at 15.
He used to sell bread, tea and a few other food items on the hill by the Sonaichhari trail.
"Back then, 200/300 people from the village used to go to the hills to cut trees and bamboo. I used to carry my shop on my shoulder to the hills to reach those customers," Joynal reminisced about his childhood.
Ferrying tea to hill workers cannot earn you much; poverty was Joynal's inevitable companion.
So a few years after he married, about a decade ago, he launched a permanent store near the trail. He also built a mud house near the stall to live in.
"Back then there were not many tourists. Only a few would come to this trail. So I depended entirely on my grocery store," Joynal said, "things changed only three to four years ago when a lot of tourists began to come and I got a new source of income by feeding them lunch."
Initially, Joynal said, small teams of three to five people would come and ask if he could make them lunch. Gradually the number increased. "From five to 10, then 15 … and now people from all over Bangladesh call me before coming here to get lunch," Joynal said.
Because many people eat at his place every week, Joynal stores around 50 people's food in his fridge all the time.
"Many people come here without calling. They ask for food while passing my store," Joynal said. He stores food so that he does not miss out on these customers either.
Due to the increasing number of tourists, you may not enjoy the trail as much as you would have liked it hiking alone.
Instead of the sound of clicking bats overwhelming you at the bat cave in the middle of the trail, you will probably hear a teenage boy playing lousy Bollywood songs. If you are one of those hikers who wants to get closer to nature free of human noise, you should walk this trail on weekdays.
But in the backdrop of such human traffic at the Sonaicchari trail, some people like Joynal now have an alternative source of income.
Even his sons, besides going to college, can contribute to family earnings by working as guides - when they don't have classes - for the hikers.
"They can earn a few hundred taka by guiding us on the trail. There are other people too who guide and host hikers for lunch on this trail," tour operator Iftakhar Hamid said, explaining how tourism is contributing to the income flow of the locals.
In Sonaichaari trail, however, none of the locals could make a name for themselves among the tourists as much as Joynal has.
Capitalising on the new source of earning, he paid most of the loans he had taken while building his house, sent his kids to college and now anticipates an even brighter future ahead.
Joynal said that "Sometimes when tourists are few, I struggle to pay my loans. I have to pay my [house] loans for two more years. But more tourists will come in the rainy season. By the mercy of Allah and thanks to your prayers, I am doing very well."