General · Travel · Trekkings

Himalayan Expedition – A stairway to heaven (Part 1)

step-to-heaven-map

 Dear Reader,

Today’s post is not on any geeky nerdy topics. It’s all about a topic which was a remarkable event of my life. The one and only event so far which always refreshes me all the time. Its memories still brings high spirits.

Though i should have written this blog post around 6 months back, i really wonder why i failed to do so. Perhaps my intention of having a blog at first was to have only nerdy, geeky stuffs. But lately i realized that, blog with just tech stuffs would not make any sense since i am not a complete nerd. I am half geek too, with other qualities.

It all got started somewhere around September – November 2010 in my ex company cab with my ex-colleague also a current good friend. He and his couple of friends had done another himalayan trekking called saurkundi pass in 2008. He always used to talk about it every once in a while. He used to correlate every situation viz funny, serious, adventure, problem, etc. to one of the incident in that trekking. May be at that time i never thought i would take trekking as one of my serious hobby. Although i had done 1 trekking (Kodachadri) before this with few of my other friends, but never was serious about it. It was a casual thing i thought i shall do when ever friends group up.

But at this time, my work was getting frustrated and so is the life. By then my days was just work and home and nothing else. My stupid project went for a toss and all i and other friend had to do was to work 16 hrs a day for almost 5 months continuously with out a break to fix alot of issues in the core which was messed up by earlier folks. Although we did our best to bring it up to a considerable stable state which for us was a very relieved moment but we both were zombies by then. But sooner the news came up that we still have alot more mess to clean up. So again the routine started. Life became hell for us. For me, this job started to suck to the core and became frustrating.

Thats where i started to think i needed a change. I definitely need to move and this is not a life. But before i started to apply for my new job, i wanted break, perhaps a big break. At that moment it occurred to me that i need to do some thing wild, some thing amazing, some thing adventurous so that i could rejuvenate my life once again.

At that moment i got a call from my same friend who said they are planning to go for similar himalayan trekking next year called sarpass and he asked me if i wanted to join.

Trust me, i was waiting for this, i wanted to hear this, i never though i would do some thing wild sooner in my life. Perhaps it was a bless to me, i wonder!! I just said YESSSSSS without even thinking twice. Nothing kept me worried, for the whole day i started to dream.

Since then onwards, i along with him and his friends started to exchange emails, i no more cared for this stupid sucking job. I kept doing some research about this sarpass trek. I started to see videos, reading blogs and pictures from the past trekkers. I even joined a forum called indiamike.com where i learned and discussed alot about sarpass trekking. By this time, it was Jan/Feb 2011 where in i already got a good news about my project, the management decided to stop it for purely budget reasons. It was a complete relief. It’s this time i can completely concentrate about this trekking. Nothing else cared, even the current status of not having any project for next couple of days/months too did not concern me at all.

A Long Journey:

It was early Feb 2011, we had booked our tickets and as well as booked YHAI slots on May 8th batch for this trekking. But noting else was planned nor thought about. For sure i was pretty hell excited as ever. Every moment i was excited, every moment i was awaiting for May 8th. I used to spend most part of my day just googling about sarpass.

It’s now early March 2011 and i still have not prepared myself for this trekking, for sure i was convinced that it could be a bit difficult. So by end of march i started to plan my itinerary for this trek. You can get the itinerary details at indiamike.com forum.

Early may, i was still waiting for the special day. Every day pass by, i was super excited. There was no one outside office with whom i did not speak about.

So by now we had planned our whole journey. We did not want to short it in any way, time constraint was no problem. We had whole 15 days time ahead of us. Only thing was how to utilize the time efficiently. So we all met in Jan/Fed and decided that we shall take a different route, where in we shall fly to delhi and then take a train to Kalka and then to shimla. From shimla hire a vehicle to kasol base camp.

This long journey helps us to get alot of sight-seeing which was our plan though it would consume alot of time. But trust me it was alot worthy ride which in a while you shall get to know 😉

A Spectacular Nature:

So as part of this long journey plan, we departed bangalore on 7th morning. It was a good cheap Jetlight, if i can remember one of the hostess was hot on whom i had kept one eye all time 😛 Sadly i did not take her pic 😦

The flight journey was enjoyed by me, it was just 2.5 hours and unlike my last flight to mumbai which was shaky. So we landed in delhi somewhere around 1PM. Then we some how spend the whole day. It was pretty sunny day so for most part of the day we did spend time in either AC hotels or shades. Man o man, the delhi traffic is quite bad than bangalore. Oh not to forget, the chicks there are hot as well. Guess they add up for a bit delhi warming 😉

That night from delhi we had a train booked to kalka. The actual train was supposed to arrive around 9PM, but oh my goodness it arrived around 11PM. Let remind you that the station was too damn dirty and nowhere to sit. So we were tired of standing for hours together. Thankfully there was KFC to fulfill our starvation.

So it was a pleasant night journey in the train, as always our laloo trains is damn dirty as himself. So it was horribly maintained including the washroom. Thankfully we had to just spend a night before we reached kalka station. Around 8 AM was our Heritage train to kalka and good thing is that it’s a connecting train. So we are relived of late arrival.

This heritage train is a very small train which is available for only on bookings, so it was really maintained well and it does not stops till shimla except one place which is a junction. So the climate now has changed entirely, it was bit windy and a bit cold. But thankfully no more heat. A hot tea and biscuits was served before the train actually started. This heritage train was very small and it travels all along the hilly region like else where on earth. So its slow and the track is 6 hrs long before it reaches shimla. The train started around 9 AM and all along the path it was a worthy sight seeing. We enjoyed alot in this train, along the way breakfast was served which was another good thing about this train. Once we reached shimla around noon we had a snacks available in the road side shops and waited for the guys to come back with hired vehicle. Till then i was just standing with the guys starring chicks 😉 It was a fun time though.

In an hour or so, our guys came back with the vehicle for us to depart for kasol where in our base camp was situated. We had to get enrolled there for the 8th batch which was the next day. So on the way to kasol, around 10 PM we stopped at a hotel called Himalayan village, which was a real good one for honeymooner. It was situated on the banks of parvathi river and has a very scenic view of the snow mountains. It has a backyard gardens neatly maintained and a rooms on big pillar with good privacy. So romantic guys, think this as an option for your beautiful honeymoon ;).

So around 1 AM we reached our base camp kasol for getting enrolled. Thanks to the camp leader who co-operated very well at that point of time with out even creating issues. We all got our tents. The base camp was properly organized and neatly maintained. I really appreciate the way it was organized by the volunteers. Oh it was a bit cold in the night, but the sleeping bags provided was enough to put us into a good sleep.

The next day we woke up, refreshed ourselves, first thing we did was to wander around the tents see who all are present and then look at the other end of field where girls tent was present. For a while we did checked out all the good ones and then went for breakfast. Then there was this briefing held by the field director about YHAI and this trekking and DOs and DONTs, etc. It went on for an hour. Then they left us for roam around. So first day was just a free day. We all just roamed here and there around the base camp, couple of our guys went to the nearby village but we just did our talking and few of us slept the whole afternoon since we got tired of all traveling the previous night.

As part of the plan, first 3 days will be just acclimatization for us. So first day just went on by talking, starring 😉 and then sleeping in our tents. We did not cared to do any thing. Food was just purly north indian style. So it was OK OK. Next morning, we are forced to wake up around 6 AM. Damn in that cold with such a hot sleeping bags, who wishes to wake up so early? But we were made to do so by the field instructors. We are asked to get ready in just 15 mins, after that we are taken to a nearby field for a long exercise.  So a good jogging and a few mins of work out did do good for our body i guess. We had breakfast and then we were told that we need to take a short trekking with a bit of luggage (mainly ruck sack, water and eatables). So we all got ready for this short trek and proceeded. It was a near by mountain we had to climb. We climbed around an hour or so to reach a certain level. Once we finished this trek. This day too just went as usual the same. One thing still amazes me of how a day used to pass on. I always used to wonder man the day just runs so fast even though we did not have any thing to do nor spend time with. Just talk and look at the nature around.

The third day has come, today as usual 6 AM drill, then we were told that we would be having a rock climbing and repelling activity as part of the trekking/hiking program. So we all got thrilled and walked around 1 KM or so. There we started over activity. It was really tiring and thrilling.

Rock climbing seems soo easy, but when i got on there, damn every thing started to feel damn hectic. No energy to climb or pull myself. No grip on the rock either, phew somehow made it to the top though it looks like a small doable mountain. Now i wonder how difficult climbing is when you’re at 25K feet on mount everest.

One the way back we met a couple of Israelis who were enjoying alot in that location. Damn those folks, alot of money and still they enjoy life. We have money, but do not enjoy. What a shame and wasteful life we lead!!  So we came back to our base camp and finally we had some thing for the lunch. We were starving from heavy lifting :D. So we had nice lunch and then a good sleep. Evening we all got refreshed and i knew that for next 10 days we shall be in the mountains roaming without bath. So i somehow decided to take the most thrilling bath ever. The river flowing next the base camp was consumed for every purpose. As you know this rivers flows directly from snow mountains. So its temperature was around 5 Centigrade. Did spend in the bathroom for about 15 mins taking this coldest shower. Remembering it still gives me goose bumps today. But i must tell ya, it was a thrilling experience with this too. Though you might think that such a cold water could ruin your health badly, but man we are soo wrong. Nature has the most and best healing powers. So that coldest water had all the healing powers it has and protection too. So for me nothing happened on that day and for the next 10 days. Before i went to bed, i was all cleaned up and fresh for the supper. We had a nice supper and a nice chat with the director for a while. Then we just went around the village and came back around 11 PM for the bed.

Next day is a big day. No 6 AM drills, No short trek, No other activity. This next journey was beautiful….

Thats all for this post my friend. Shall post remaining in the next post soon.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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