The white wall waits
On the 26th of February, we were on our way, first thing in the morning.
I forgot to tell you the opening scene!
Back home, we decided not to spend lavishly on the gear. Instead, go to the place and rent.That is exactly what we did but it was a strenuous process. Before we set out, we had to go rent our items required for our trek. These items included a pair of gaiters, (don’t know if that is the correct spelling) , shoes for my cousins (I bought mine before, so I did not rent ) , a pair of crampons ( spikes that enable the walking on snow) , a jacket for me because that shop rental guy said that my jacket would not withstand such a temperature and I would just freeze. However, my cousin wore the same jacket (branded as “useless” and “yeh nahi chalega”(“this won’t work” in Hindi, a language spoken widely in India)) and scaled the summit. Whose jacket doesn’t withstand now tough guy? The store manager (Himayalan High was the store name) was all but nice to us and wanted us to rent everything; like everything. We bluntly refused as we had brought a few; just a few necessities with us. The equipment was rented on a daily basis with each person shelling out additional money for the tent. The TENT! Oh yeah. We rented two tents from the second base camp ( as 4 of us were climbing). So per day, we paid for the tent, mattress and sleeping bag. Given beforehand, adding up individual expenses.
Once we embellished ourselves with the gear, we were almost ready. Without food in the morning, how could we even think of going?
Sankri, as mentioned previously, consists of one road stretching to like a 3km length filled with houses, hotels (couple or more), 1 rental store for mountain gear and some motels.
On the left side of Sankri was step farmlands and below that, during night time, looked like an abyss; daytime, vale after vale after vale. Anyway, coming back to the original point of eating, we met a lady who was hospitable and welcoming. Her shop was one that none of us would ever forget, situated 4-5 buildings from where we stayed. Before the trek, we ate Maggi at her store, drank a cup of tea and YES! WE WERE ON OUR WAY!
Our bags were heavy, but we didn’t mind as we knew all too well that it would reduce by the time we raced back to the ground. Dry fruits, dates and soup and some food(I’ll tell about this food later on) The initial phase of the climb was slow. The start was at a place where they had put up a notice on responsible trekking. Yeah yeah, we knew that we were responsible. So we went ahead. A unanimous decision to go with a guide hired in Sankri was taken but we ended up following a random guide rather than hiring one.
The trek started at 8:30 and we hit a small hut at 10.30.The first 2 hours, there was no evidence of snow. Occasional smell of dirt and the rotten smell of Horse dung or whatever one may call that as stung the nose.
Horses are very prominent in the area as they carry the heavy load of some of the trekkers.
I ASSUMED this hut to be the first campsite. Elation was my food at 10.30. However, the guide said that the campsite was a further hour and a half away and starved me by taking away my food. Slowly, slowly, ever slowly the first campsite drew near. Just before the campsite( 45 minutes before) was a huge place with another hut; this time, neither was I elated nor was I frowning. The fellow trekkers (From India Hikes) stopped there and we also stopped there for a while, refreshing ourselves. It is at this place where we saw snow! Yes! Snow! The feeling was surreal. I made sure that I held snowflake at that spot and took a picture. Ahhhh! My hands are trembling even now!
We pressed ahead. Since our tents were in the second base camp, we had a long, long way to go. Trotting along the dirt path ( only dirt and sludge on the way where the snow had melted), we came to a place where a white cover was visible on the left(range of mountains) and our path to the camp was on the right.
Pictures there too!
After some snow encounters, we reached the first campsite – Judaa Ka Talaab. The view, the pond, the campsite was a sight for sore eyes! Couple of pictures here, a couple of pictures there, selfies here, selfies there, videos here, videos there; we were ALL OVER THE PLACE, partly because we were not staying there for the night. After much quarreling and driving each other out of the campsite for spending far too much time ( we had to hit the second camp before darkness consumed the mountains), we proceeded towards the second campsite (kedharkanta base camp). This was our first snowy path! People who experience snowfall/ snow every now and then, please cooperate with my enthusiasm.
After trudging through the white path for a while, finally, finally! We reached the second base camp; or did we? We soon found out that our tents were pitched up at a higher altitude. So grunting, panting, perspiring, trembling in the legs, we saw our tents! It was 5:30PM.
The rest of the day ended in resting our tired legs and minds. There were others in the same site and we decided in our tents that we would leave for the summit early in the morning with the fellow hikers in our campsite. Hell, we were tired, halfway through our adventure, our energies hitting new levels, determination feeding us more than food. My heart would have melted if snow had melted before we came to the place.Till then we would rest our legs,
I’ll see you all in part 3 of my adventure!