After sleeping like a dog last night (Hampta Pass Trek-Day 1, Jobra to Chikka), our guide Kama’s morning-whistle woke me up to a beautiful morning. Ruchi however could not have a good enough sleep in the sleeping bag and woke-up with a mild back-pain. Thankfully it was short-lived and all was well after a quick round of bed-tea (read in-tent-tea 😉 ) . I hardly drink tea but this was special. Why?
Okay, imagine this: you are inside your warm sleeping-bags in your tent sitting with a steaming cup of tea, listening to the sound of the roaring river flowing down the valley, to the numerous other streams all around your camp while looking at this majestic view.
This is exactly what we woke-up to!
From today on-wards, every day was supposed to start with a small morning-brief followed by some basic exercise. Both in my opinion were necessary and was taken care of very nicely by Kama. After-all, you don’t want to leave behind someone behind while you sprint yourself to the next camp.
Between the tea time and the morning exercise cum briefing session, while others were busy lazing around, the curious photographer in me managed to walk up to a near-by stream which we had crossed last evening on our way to the camp to get few shots which I have been wanting to since last evening. Only reason I could not do it yesterday was because there was not enough light but I did not want to miss it in the morning. After almost what felt like just five minutes, I was on my way back with couple decent shots. The only tough (and painful) part here was the fact that to place the tripod the way I wanted to, I had to get down in the freezing waters of the fast-flowing stream but at the end of it, it was all worth it 🙂 .
Immediately after a hearty break-fast of porridge, oamlet, bread, butter & jam and before everyone was done with their packing, I took another photography break and hiked up to a nearby rock. Even though the climbing needed some work, this too was well worth the views it had to offer.
Sitting on the rock and somehow managing to keep myself balanced on its slippery surface, soaking in the beauty around me I was also watching the activities of others at the camp below when suddenly, I saw this (the image below) happen. It was all bright and clear and then within seconds a thick layer of fog engulfed the entire place bringing down the visibility to near zero.
People had already started by the time I got back to the camp and hence, we too started towards the first ascend that awaited us less than 100 meters from the camp. Soon we were walking through foggy mountain slopes, surrounded by layers of colorful wild flowers below and majestic mountains above, with the occasional waterfalls and streams.
To make things more interesting, it started raining while we were negotiating some of the slippery slopes 😉 .
Okay, seems I forgot to tell you something interesting. During the morning brief, we were told that today was going to be one of the most exciting days of the trek. On our way to Balu ka Gera, we would be crossing a fast-flowing river on foot. I had seen photos of this ‘nullah’ which we were supposed to cross today, on foot and had actually been pretty excited about it. After-all where do you get to cross a river (however small be it) nowadays on foot. All that excitement however vanished the moment I saw the Jwara nullah!! It was not any stream that I had expected it to be or had seen in the countless photos on the internet. It was a roaring mountain river!!
The water was freezing cold, above knee-height (for a 5.4′ person like me) and not to mention, fast-flowing! Observing people’s expressions change as soon as their feet was coming in contact with the river, I for a moment had half a thought of crossing it on the back of one of the ponies, just like one of our kitchen staff did (and almost fell in the roaring nullah with all my photography gear which I had handed him moments before). Thankfully, I did not try that ultimately.
By the time I was on the other side, my legs were all but paralyzed. The only good about the crossing was the fact that rocks were not slippery and I did not end up falling and being washed away down the valley. Looking back, it was a fantastic experience which I would love to do again.
The beautiful vistas continued after the water-crossing until we finally reached our camping-spot for the day at Balu ka Gera. It was much better a spot than what we had yesterday. No muck, no wet grass. Just dry sand (remember, its baalu ka gera 😀 ).
Even better was the fact that we had reached well ahead of sun-down which gave us a chance to stroll up-to the glacier nearby.
Today, (actually tonight) turned out to be the best for the photographer inside me. I got a lot of ‘night/long-exposure shots’ which I had always wanted to take (more on this coming soon). This however meant that, I was out in the cold-dark night long after everybody else had taken refuge in their warm tents.
With huge mountains on three sides, a large enough glacier on the fourth and a billion twinkling starts above, far far away yet so near, we finally called it day.
What would you like to do if you are under a clear sky glittering with billions of stars above you? Sleep under the stars may be? Or something else?
**** Like what you read? Please like, share and/or tweet then. Sharing is caring 🙂