Nothing much for the first day. Just needed to catch a train at 11:30 in night from Delhi to Haridwar. Which train it was........I can't remember. I do remember, it was a comfortable train and I was traveling with Harsh, Varun and Kiran. I had rented (actually other guys had rented for me) the rucksacks,sleeping bag, and tent from some Caribbean travels in Okhla (Ph no: Will post soon, let me ask Harsh). Rs. 20 per item per day for sleeping bag, Rs. 20 for Rucksack and Rs. 30 per day for tents. Really economical. Harsh and party had also bought some one million packs of maggie, cup-noodle and why-why noodle (please don't ask me why is why-why named as why-why, I seriously have no idea). I was handed over my quota of noodles to carry. I really didn't liked that coz :
1) I hate the taste of noodles or any other chinese food
2) Apart from being tasteless, they are also unhealthy.
3) I knew you can get stuff like aalo parantha, bread omelette, maggie and their various combinations in remotest of the treks.
4) And obviously I hate to carry extra weight on my shoulders.
Guys had bought that stuff to be on the safe side. Harsh Vardhan has got immaculate planning skills and he had covered all the risk factors. I feel much safe and relaxed, when I'm traveling with him. In this trip he had planned with maggie who is a trek expert himself and also maggie is totally vella these days so he had lot of time to do background study as well. I'm a horrible planner myself and did not wanted to interfere in planning of an expert team by providing unwelcome suggestions, so I decided to keep my displeasure regarding those noodles to myself. I quietly kept the stuff in my rucksack along with other stuff. Yes.....one thing I must mention for everyone's benefit. Don't smoke on railway station. Harsh, who was absolutely eager to smoke without having to see irritated face of Aarti, had to pay a fine of Rs. 100 on Railway station.
The group for the trek was surprisingly large. Total of eight people. 3R's of the group Rajat, Ritesh and Rajdeep came to Rishikesh by bus. The time of their arrival in Haridwar was strikingly tuned with our train arrival. We met outside the station. Railway station and Bus Stand in Haridwar are next to each other. We boarded the bus to Rishikesh and then took a taxi to reach Chummi's place at around 5 in the morning. There we took about an hour to freshen up. Maggie was in Rishikesh since last evening and had booked a taxi which arrived at 6:30 A.M. There were lot of Baniyas in the group and it was rather surprising that I was the only one who had not carrying the requisite amount of cash. So we went to ATM, while I was withdrawing cash guys bought some bananas. I ate one and as is usually the case while traveling in SUV's in group I took the back most seat. I think its not a good idea to eat bananas while traveling in hills. Usually I don't face any problem in traveling but that day I felt vomity. I took a medicine for vomit and quickly vomited it out. Guys took out their cameras and clicked the moment. I dont like to post photographs on blog, also I'm not sure how its done so - no graphic display of vomiting me.
We took a detour to visit Tehri Dam. A group of engineer would always be interested in seeing mammoth structure even if they cant understand its functioning or significance. We also got the phrase for the trip "Damn the Dam" due to that visit and the phrase was repeated approximately two thousand eight hundred ninety four times during the trip.
On reaching Uttarkashi, we checked in guest house by GMVN. Fantastic rooms of good size and clean restrooms. A suite (with two rooms, for four people) was Rs. 900 per night. Quite economical. The guest house was practically on the river shore. Kiran and I decided to take a bath in the river. On reaching the shore we realised that it was not such a good idea, water was really dirty. So we took some snaps on large rock, threw few stones in the river, came back to room, had few pegs of whiskey and slept.
This was the most challenging and interesting day of the trip. We started trek from sangam chitti and climbed up 16KM's to Manjhi. Camped at night in Manjhi, drank some brandy beside a bonfire and slept in tents. This was also the day when a giant named harsh vardhan astonished everyone with his stamina and determination. Motorable road terminated at sangamchitti, and the trek started. Our initial plan was to reach a village named 'Agora' which was around 6 KM. We reached Agora at around 11AM, thats the time I usually reach office. Clearly not much sense in spending the day there. We kept walking, each one was walking at their own pace. Harsh Vardhan was well ahead of everyone. He was accompanied by Kiran, who was clearly facing difficulty in matching Harsh's pace but wanted to be ahead of everyone. Me and Maggie behind them, hanging out with our similarly sized beer bellies. We were followed by Rajat and Ritesh, who apart from the usual stuff were carrying 15 variety of glucose, 5 types of cameras, 3 varieties of Sunscreen and as was revealed later on the trek a lot of emotional baggage. The trip after Agora to Manjhi was amazingly beautiful. The hills became more and more picturesque as we kept going up. The trek was also proving to me a test of physical and mental fitness. I believe the capacity to climb is more related to mind than body. I distinctly remember my first trek when I felt I just can not do it. It was the trek to Tapovan above Gomukh. In the starting phase of the trek itself I had completely given up but was pestered by Maggies and Jaini to continue. As I completed that trek eventually I realised its quite possible if you dont loose your heart. When I saw Varun become absolutely crestfallen on this trek I remembered my first trek. Varun and the sardar were the last two members on the trail. That was actually another reason for them to feel tired. When you know that you are not performing as well as everyone else it really breaks your morale. However those guys also kept going despite the various mental blockage. I'm sure in future treks they would be more confident and have more belief in themselves. We reached the destination, Manjhi between 5 PM and 6 PM. There was not much difference between the first person and the last person. Manjhi was a small village but without any villagers. Perhaps they go further up to make money from tourists during summers and come back for winters. It was however a very beautiful village on the hill. There was a small dhaaba in operation and we ate wholesome and well deserved food. The seats of the dhaba were of the trees that had fallen naturally. The huts were all open and empty. The light was fast diminishing as we arrived Manjhi. We camped in the camping area. I was feeling really cold so I went in the tent and inside sleeping bags. Guys put up a bon fire outside the tent and later I joined them to have some brandy. The day was not finished without my clumsiness ruining the fun when I accidentaly broke the brandy bottle which was about half full (or half empty as I tried to convince everyone). Damn the dam!!
The day 4 was the day when we reach the destination. It was actually not as exciting as we thought it would be. In the morning everyone took up the activity of relieving themselves in rather depressing camping toilets. Most of the guys preferred to take the jungle route instead of that thing called the lavatory in the camping area. Then we packed up our tents and started our climb toward dodi taal. It was again absolutely beautiful with spectacles like waterfalls, a small temple, wooden bridges, strange flowers which were beautiful but caused acute skin irritation, group of benign chimpanzees etc. However this climb was much smaller than the previous day. We reached there by about noon. We took rest and ate some nice filling food at another dhaba at the venue. It was an amazing view to see such a large lake in the middle on the mountains. Harsh and Kiran decided to go further up to top of the mountain. I saw the photographs later and they looked like from the movie vertical limit. With three brazen souls (along with the guide) in middle of nowhere. They witnessed completely white snow-covered mountains with strong wind. Rest of us mortal soul enjoyed some form of golf that we played using sticks and rocks, just kept laying on the lakeside enjoying the sun. Harsh and Kiran returned at about 4 PM. Kiran was a sight to see in himself, as if he would disintegrate and fall apart any moment. Harsh however was as fresh as ever. We enjoyed the night in the rooms available at a dharmshala there. Next morning we started from there to come back to Delhi. Nothing much to write about, also I'm getting bored so I'll publish this post without giving details about day 5 and day 6.