In the middle of nowhere
Kissed by pristine nature
Humbled in her overwhelming presence
Intoxicated by her insane beauty
Faced with limitless possibilities
Embracing infinity with open arms
If there is heaven on earth, its here, its here !
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.
Well, this is my first ever travelogue, largely inspired by my recent trekking experience at GHNP, Himachal Pradesh. I havent really trekked much in the past and a trekking cum vacation plan at the Himalayan valley was more out of a sheer irresistible temptation when I looked at the photographs of the place. It turned out to be one of my best ever vacations .
On the 23rd of May we (2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 7) boarded a flight to Chandigarh. We reached Chandigarh by around noon. We were warmly welcomed by Brighu (runs a travel setup Himalayan Adventures), who drove us down to Gushaini our next destination. Our drive took around 8 hours approximately including the mouthwatering lunch at the roadside dhaba and several chai breaks.
We had booked in at Raju’s cottage at Gushaini for accommodation and for all the trekking arrangements. It was quite dark when we reached and all one could hear was the only sound of the gushing river Tirthan. We were quite amused to find out that the way to reach the cottage was through a pulley over the river. It was a nerve tickling experience for the first time. This pulley is manually operated, meaning someone on the other side actually pulls you in, while someone on your side ensures you are seated. (Perhaps the idea is to ensure prevention of riff raffs. ) We walked in straight into dinner where we met up with our pal Usha and family and her friend Gita and family, whom we were to join in for this trek.
Trek day 1 : Route – Gushaini to Rolla Hut – (2100 Mts) [Trek 11 Kms / 4 – 5 Hrs]
Next day around 8 am after breakfast, the trekking team comprising 5 adults and 6 children along with Karan (from Rajus cottage) who had volunteered to be our guide for the entire trek, left Gushaini. Apparently as per Karan, this is the first time a trek team of this size with families were taking the 5 day trek route from Rajus cottage. The porters, carried our stuff like clothes for 5 days, tents, sleeping bags, stuff for cooking, etc and went either ahead or came later but never accompanied us.
We carried backpacks comprising the lunch, some essential medicines, water (atleast 3 litres per family), some snacks, caps, kids jackets, camera and the rain gear. This trek was a combination of hills, valleys and plains. The picture absolutely scenic. The kids did pretty well all on this trek . Like treks go, you are definitely ready to crash, as your legs twitch and body aches (atleast mine did) before reaching the goalpost. Just before the GHNP gate, we stopped for lunch at Hippo falls. A sheer delight it was, to see the falls and to put our feet in the ice cold glacier water. Refreshing ourselves, having lunch and stretching and turning, we took nearly an hour’s break as the kids played. Then we headed to the Rolla Hut.
The GHNP entrance is about half km from Hippo falls. The entrance is apparently another spot where camping happens too. But we proceeded to Rolla hut. The path to the hut is nearly a one man’s lane for most part. Some of the inner routes required a certain amount of navigation skills.
After a 2.5 km walk from the entrance (again up, down & plain) we reached our destination, Rolla hut. 4 tents were pitched in. Then there was also this “Toilet tent” that was kept at a strategic location – a high-tech (not really, yet a piece of ingenious conception) contraption. Came in pretty useful too.
The Tirthan river is quite accessible at Rolla. We spent a good amount of time relaxing there. By around 5.30 pm the bon fire was lit and by 7.30 we were done with dinner and made our way to our tents and got snug in our sleeping bags. The only light by now was that of our torches.
That concluded Day 1. My next blog would be on day 2 Rolla Hut to Shilt, a tough trekking day for me.