Trek day 2 : Route – Rolla Hut – Shilt (3100 Mts) [Trek 8 Kms / 4 to 5 Hrs]
On day 2, the trek team, left course from Rolla Hut at GHNP, by around 8 am, after breakfast. The plan was to reach our destination, Shilt by lunchtime. The original plan was to do a place called Korli Poi which is apparently a good place for bird watching and a less strenuous option with the kids. But apparently Korli Poi was recently closed for public. So, we took the alternate trek option to Shilt, which is a rocky, mountainous and a near vertical climb. We carried some snacks along.
Personally, this was the toughest trek day for me. By one fourth of this journey I felt I was all done. I was almost breathless and the rocky terrain was really telling on me. I have always lived in tropical plains and altitudes were somewhat a problem . Everyone else including the kids were holding up despite the discomfitures.
It is quite something to be in the middle of nowhere and wonder about your next step ….especially when all available options are equally trying. The logical question is, what should you do now! The only logical answer is to ‘get up and get going’ till you get somewhere. I realized in a trek like this, you just got to move on no matter what unless you wish to be in the middle of nowhere. Now, despite all this conversation within myself, my feet just refused to get up and the breathlessness was weighing me down.
Everyone around tried to motivate me and that’s the best part of being in a team. Then something wonderful happened. Lakshman one of our pals , turned out to be a great coach for me and promised to stay by me, till we make it. I got moving . Lakshman kept gently prodding and guiding. In retrospect that was the most wonderful thing that happened then. Now the learnings were – never to try to catch up with anybody else’s pace, walk at your own pace even if it means one small step a time, take deep breaths and at all costs breathe only through your nose. The journey from then on was like meditation to me…just the next step and nothing else was in focus. I started enjoying walking at my pace. After a particular altitude I was neither choking nor breathless but was enjoying the cold air on my face and the absolutely breathtaking view. The transformation was amazing to my own self. Every now and then we would stop and take in the breathtaking view and that got us going. The snow capped Himalayan mountains were glaring right at us and that was worth every damn thing in the world.
As for the others, the kids drew motivation from each other. Sometimes whining, sometimes giving up but always picking themselves back. The 3 year old had to be on sling for all of the trek due to the steep terrain…thank God for folks who could handle this extra load ! We reached Shilt by noon, as chartered. Well one highlight is , these kids could proudly claim to be the first to trek to Shilt, of their age apparently – (aged 3,5,6,7,8 & 9)as per our GHNP Guide.
Unfortunately this time, the porters had not arrived before us and we were real hungry. (Much later, we got to know that the porters had discussed amongst themselves and were skeptical about the kids making this and had hence positioned themselves in strategic locations, with an intention to get back in case of an issue!).
It was scorching hot at the Shilt and water was not an easy access from here. So completely worn out, we waited for the lunch to arrive. The plants were cleared and tents placed very close to each other to accommodate within the given space (flat surfaces for pitching tents were not much).
By the evening, it was getting a bit cold and then little rain drops were trickling down. We had noodles and soups served in our tents. Well, that was heavenly. After a quick dinner in sometime from then, we retired back to our tents to get some rest.
My next blog will be on the following 2 days concluding treks at GHNP.