So, after an eventful Day one journey, Day 2 started little early around five with the morning wake up call. We woke up to a cold yet splendid morning as one would expect and as soon as I stepped outside the tent, I saw the sun rising behind snow clad mountains. It was exactly the same picture we used to sketch in our art class as a kid; two hill tops with the rising sun in between them 🙂 ; the birds seem to be happy enjoying the brand new day and my spirits rose along with it as I could smell the fresh air around me.
So, with a hint of nostalgia, I finished my routine activities and although hot water was available in one of the bathrooms, I decided I could do without a bath and chose to lie back and enjoy the beautiful view while everyone else was getting ready for the day. Fair deal, isn’t it? 😀 Around six, breakfast was ready and once again, we savoured some delicious hot parathas. We, then packed our lunch for the trek, as today we were going to enjoy it somewhere between two camp sites. So, as soon as everyone was ready with their rucksack, we bid farewell to the base camp without further ado.
We began our ride from Rumsu to Gulaba around seven; so you see, our actual trek starts from Gulaba village that lies on the road to Rohtang Pass. The ride up till here was quite scenic, and fortunately, it happened to be a Tuesday, so we didn’t meet much traffic as Rohtang pass remains closed on that particular day. We reached Gulaba around ten and started our trek with full zest. Hardly had we walked 15 minutes, we spotted a small canteen in the middle of the mountains; the cafe was small and cozy and the stunning view of the snow capped mountains added to its charm effortlessly.
It was the perfect place to be for the time being and lush green grassland met our eyes everywhere in front of us; to top it all, a hot bowl of Maggi just did the works for us. Post that gastronomical delight, we handed over our rucksack to the porters at the canteen to avoid a tiresome trek. Our camp site was located at such heights that collecting wood from surrounding areas wasn’t a doable task for us, so we gave extra bucks to the porter for the arrangement of wood and he did the same for the campfire in the evening. As soon as we were done with all the arrangement, we started our trek without wasting any time.
The terrain was steep and the hike was tiresome. We had to take a break after every 15-20 minutes hike and on the meanwhile, our guide was suggesting breathing techniques and gave us tips about how to drink water during rest. These tricks may seem irrelevant but on high altitude, they are your lifelines. So, once we got used to the conditions around us, our speed increased and we felt more confident with time.
After plodding for almost two hours, our tummies called out to us and so, we chose a comparatively flat spot to rest our bottom and enjoy our lunch. We ate some yummy pulao (cooked rice with nuts and vegetables) overlooking the bright sky admiring the view that lay in front of us every second of it. You see, its an experience in itself when you rewind and go back to the jam packed office canteen enclosed with concrete walls during lunch hours.
However, we didn’t sit there long and as soon as we finished our lunch we resumed our trek. It wasn’t long when suddenly clouds began to soar right above us, and our minds began to anticipate a shower but our guide told us they were moving further away from the mountains and there was nothing to worry about really. The terrain was not steep as earlier now, so with increased speed we moved further ahead. However, soon, to our surprise, clouds changed direction and just like that, the weather started to get worse.
Engulfed by clouds within moments, visibility reduced to zero for few minutes. We reached for our raincoats and wind cheaters from the rucksack and covered ourselves immediately. So, fully covered, we kept walking and after a while, we reached Chor Nallah, a beautiful stream that seemed to flow steadily. We took the opportunity of this beautiful sight and paused for a few minutes to click a few pictures there and crossed it thereafter.
As we moved further, we began to feel a slight shower of snow falling on us. At first, our faces lit up to the very sight of snow in the month of June, but after a while, we realized how challenging it is to walk on snowy terrain. The land is wet, visibility is low, you don’t have any shelter, and the snow is hitting you hard, but you can’t afford to stop as you never know how the weather’s going to be after some time; for a fact, it could get worse and work totally against us. So, we continued walking keeping in mind all the while that our next campsite wasn’t that far anymore.
We reached there around two and immediately retreated inside our tents as the snowfall was still generous. That’s the thing with mountains, you start your trek when the sky is crystal clear and the sun is shining bright but then, it only takes minutes and you find yourself amidst a sudden snowfall. Its a thing one should experience this at least once in a life time. After a while as the snow stopped, everyone stepped out of of their tents. We were glad to see that snacks were ready by that time and so we gladly welcomed it along with some steaming hot tea. The evening was too cold due to snowfall but for some time the sun was liberal enough to shower its rays over us, so taking maximum benefit of it, many of us captured some fabulous pictures.
Dinner was served around seven after which came the best part. The CAMP FIRE! How could you not look forward to that on a cold misty night? It is one of the most favorite part of my adventures and I know the feeling is mutual with the lot of you. We sat around the mighty fire and sang songs; shared our stories and enjoyed cups of bournvita. The best thing about the night in the mountains is that you can watch the whole Milky Way and luckily that night, we were blessed with a clear sky and hence, enjoyed a breath-taking view of our galaxy.
The temperature was below zero even before nine so we went back to our tents before the mercury meter moved further down. We wrapped ourselves in our sleeping bags once again; however, tonight, no one seemed to complain and everyone seemed to be comfortable with the idea of it… and so we dozed off to a beautiful silent night.
To be continued…
To know what’s in store next, wait up for the final chapter until next week! Until then, make up your mind where do you wish to head next.