Feb 16, 2007

Up, ahead the world is a high!

(To Hemkunt, Valley Of Flowers & Auli-II)

Nothing rejuvenates me fuller than a sound sleep. And if this is succeeded by a healthy breakfast, I will shame a mule for the day's work. At Joshimath, the sleep in our cramped, smelly room worked as a natural steroid. I woke up so fresh that when it came to walk up, for the first time in my trekking career, a concretized trek (Sikh devotees had made smart pathways to Hemkunt), I was leading the pack by several paces. Right from the onset, when we posed before a hanging bridge, I beat my co-walkers by yards. Quite a solace since four years back, Sukriti (nine years younger to me) had kept Gautam and I at a lengthy bay while climbing up to Nag Tibba .

My will to keep ahead worked well for other tired souls too. I fixed a place for our lunch, spelled out a menu and moved backward to see how far behind were my trek-mates. It tickled my ego that inspite of being the eldest in the pack, I was ready to run to and fro to keep the flock like a shepherd.

Irritants were many. Sukriti like always was fussy about the menu. In the plains, she wants nothing except muttar-mushroom and in the hills she would sift tomato skins in her plate and make a pile of wrinkled refuse. An ideal pupil for Bubbles who can work her appetite at whatever she could find — from Maggie to dal-chawal.

Weather became the next irritant. While till lunch, it had been a cool uphill walk, thereto the weather began to whistle… in no time the drizzle turned into a chilly rainstorm. We covered ourselves with the Rs10-rainsheet, a plastic sack with one-side slit, and ploughed on. I still led the pack, with a 500-ml coke spiked with rum for instant energy and warmth. A young wolf-pack from Punjab stayed on my tail, badgering me, like the drizzle, about my co-trekkers. Some of them thought Supriya to be a German (where else may a 5’10” fair woman belong to?) and Suku an American (I am sure they meant a Latino). If rum weren’t there, I could have... grrrr.

Late afternoon, it was Bubbles' turn to cause pain. Inspite of being tired and hungry (more hungry than tired) she refused to ride a pony, delaying in turn the whole five. It was only after a few harsh words on her hassled being that Damyanti Ji agreed to mount a horseback; her business skills still trying to steal my larger sack on the horse.

Being on four legs, Bubbles was the first to reach the spot, a Helipad before Ghangaria, where we had decided to camp. However, considering the lack of dry clothes and firewood, we decided to stay at a dhaba, where we could dry our clothes and get a meal without doing the chores. The bottle of rum came out and all five of shooed off the cold and fatigue.

Either for the rum or a roof, our bunch was fit as fiddle in the morning to deal with the rest of our journey.
(The trip to Valley of Flowers & Hemkunt plus our race to Joshimath-Delhi is next)


holi wishes said...

Hey this was quite interesting to read...thanks for sharing all this...and hey since we have Holi round the corner do drop by my blog on Holi Celebrations sometime and check out all that i've posted there!!!

Tarana said...

Looks like you are a traveller to the core! Very scenic read this. Do you professionally write on travel as well?

Tarana said...

Hi!Writer yes, but I am hardly a pro! I am content writer-cum-features writer and I write for agencyfaqs.com, and also its mag, The Brand Reporter. I write my blog to express my other interests - current affairs, literature and social issues.