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Old 2nd April 2015, 21:58   #16
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

Part 8 - Picture Perfect

Next Destination: Bandak Thatch - Ht. 8000 ft. (10 kms) 6 hrs
Day 9:

When we came to Biskeri Thatch, we had descended to 11000 Ft. It was all descend now. As we had tea, all of us gathered and chatted. We knew that A2 and his brother A3 had left the previous day itself but the details we came to know now. They had to descend until they hit the main road. There was no other way to go and since A2ís shoulder was dislocated, the guides could carry him in only some places. He himself had to walk most of the time. And they walked all night, stopping and going again. We had started walking at 4 AM the previous day when we started for Sarpass, he walked for 24 hours until he hit the mail road at 4 AM next day!!!! He was then admitted to a hospital for a day in Kullu.

And we started off again after forming the usual lines and walked. The accompanying scenery was beautiful. We walked on green grass with distant snow capped mountains catching our eyes. We walked and walked until we reached a certain point which made us rappel down. What we had learnt on day 3 came in handy now. But this one was a bit difficult than the one we had practiced on as the surface was uneven. N2 having reached down already gave us tips and tricks while, S3 and K1 had gone to a narrow wooden bridge and sat photographing. Meanwhile N3 found an axe somewhere :O. On the other end we saw that the river that was flowing had a cover of ice on the mountain side, below which it flew freely. After resting and having the delicious water, we started off again.

We finally reached the camp site and it was nothing like what we had seen before. Beautiful meadow, distant snow capped mountains, a few tents propped up. We passed mules and some other animals grazing the grass as we reached this. It was beautiful, mesmerizing, call it whatever, God at his/her artistic best .

Around 30 of our batch-mates had decided to reach the base camp that day itself instead of the next day, including the group leader. This camp was optional and you could still get your certificates on missing it, but who goes there for certificate? This is beauty at its best. So they went off and only a few of us were left behind and R1 uncle, being the deputy group leader was left in charge. Since it was the last day, the guides(who had carried the luggage for some people) wanted to have a game of cricket that day. And they asked for spare socks (I think someone gave of Chatur without his knowledge) which they converted into a good cricket ball. I wanted to play but couldnít as I had fever and so along with N1 and A1 watched from a side. There was 1 game followed by rain and then another. The camp leader had told us not to sit on the stones here as the locals considered the stones to be God. So we obliged and sat on the soft grass and as always had an awesome time.

Since the population was half , we had extra sleeping bags today and I used one as a mattress. Next day we would be bidding adieu to this awesome place to go back to base camp.

Biskeri Thatch top view
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_1_img_8435.jpg

Pintya (Our guide)
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_4img_8447.jpg

View on the way
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_2p1030574.jpg

Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_1p1030573.jpg

That white thing above the water was ice
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_3img_8465.jpg

Bandak Thatch camp site
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_7img_8477.jpg

Can you imagine a more beautiful place? I wish I had a house here and also a helicopter for transportation.
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-ba_8img_8519.jpg
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Old 2nd April 2015, 22:07   #17
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

Part 9 - Back to Kasol

Return to Base Camp:
Day 10:

Woke up that day thinking we are returning to base camp today. It was mixed emotions. You donít want to leave the mountains but you want to return back to civilization too and have a bath(It had been 6-7 days since last bath:( ). I remember having noodles for breakfast that day. We formed our lines, took the counts(Our number significantly reduced since many people had left the previous day) and we set off again, chatting, laughing, joking, the usual. We met some locals on the way, there was a man who had his baby tied to his back, saw some animals. One moment N2 would be behind us and next, he would have reached ahead of us due to his superb trekking skills. And walking along, we finally reached some civilization.

We had to walk through tarred roads many times today to reach the Barshani Road head. I found walking on the roads irritating, I preferred the uneven earth. We were too tired by the time we reached the road. The plan was to travel via bus to Manikaren(17km) and then trek to Kasol Base Camp(5km). We decided not to wait for bus and booked a vehicle to take us directly to Kasol(We were too tired!). After we sat in the vehicle, about a 100 meter away was the parked bus and near it we saw the people who had reached earlier, among them S3, Y1 and Culpit. Riding along we finally reached Kasol. Needless to say, the accompanying scenery was good, but now that we had seen the higher Himalayas, this beauty looked quite ordinary, weird. Its all about perspective after all.

When I saw the base camp, I felt like I had come back home, even though we had stayed there for only 3 days before we left, and this was my 1st visit to the place. Maybe it was the return to civilization and the crowd. Reached base camp all sweaty and dirty, after some time we were joined by the people who came in the bus. After doing the formalities, we chatted with the Field Director, our batch mates and now we were the ones giving advice and tips and tricks to the batches going next day. It feels great to do that. We are after all experienced now.

We soon had lunch and now the temperature of Kasol felt quite hot contrary to the cold we had felt when we had come here. But then again, that journey had been from Delhi up to Kasol, and this journey was from Sar Pass to Kasol(13800Ft to 6500ft). The water now was no more chilling, it appeared normal, it didnít leave me numb now. Due to some reasons, we decided to check into a hotel that night instead of staying in the tent, and the others decided to do that too. We went out and met the rest of the gang in a cafť where the food was quite okay. We found a nice hotel and N1 and I checked into a room while the guys checked into the others in pairs. A1 decided to leave that day itself to Delhi after collecting her certificate. We went back to base camp for the valedictory function(Fire fire camp fire) and had fun shouting the nicknames as each of us were called. Only our group(nicknamed the tent 14 gang) was left for the function. Culprit gave some thank you speech and my name was spelled wrong in the certificate :(M1 Sir corrected it and gave me a new certificate and told us to add him to the Sarpass group that we would create for our batch.

10 days back we had come here with with expectations and hopes and of not knowing what exactly we would find. Now we had returned back, triumphed, having SarPass-ed successfully (Well thatís not the right word but I like to use it). The trek met my expectations more than ever, except for a snow fall. But probably, next time I would experience it. Oh yeah, I want to return back again to do it again and again and again. I have fallen in love with the mighty Himalayas, its pure and unadulterated beauty, the delicious water (though the water taste of my hometown Belgaum comes 2nd, which I always loved is now replaced with the taste of the roaring Parvati river), the joy of walking through the mountains and the snow, not a care in the world, the awesome friends I made there in such a short span of time whom I will cherish forever, and as Calvin says, having made my knees green daily so that I need not re-examine my life.

That ends my tale of Sar Pass trek but the journey doesnít end here, I have an epilogue left (in which I am going to bore you with my love for Kasol), so bear with me a little longer :P.

Are we there yet?
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Yay!!! home!!! Do you see that YHAI written on the roof? Thats the washroom, its the only concrete structure in that camp!
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Lunch point at base camp
Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas-k_dsc_8496.jpg
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Old 2nd April 2015, 22:18   #18
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

Epilogue

Day 11:

The day we took leave of Kasol, the Himalayas, and began our journey to our boring, monotonous, daily life was today for some of us. We woke up that day quite late and went to have breakfast in the hotel where we were joined by all. Remember N1 and I wanted to go to river rafting earlier, but didnít. We had decided to go on day 11(today) and by now everyone wanted to do it too. So in a way it was good we didnít go then Ďcoz now we went with the whole gang. The para-gliding got left out though :( Boohoo :í(.

So, in the morning we discussed our plans and I wanted to buy something from Kasol as a souvenir. Problem was we were all lacking money, we had brought some cash and got ATM cards but but but there are no ATMs in Kasol!!! You have to go upto Jari for that. So with what money we had, K1 and I went to the Kasol market to buy some stuff. I got a nice cosy shawl and I donít remember what he got, After that he went in search of A1 with whom he had clicked some astro photos and he didnít join us in the rafting. Nor did P1 and Culprit.

By the time I left Kasol, I had fallen in love with it, it's so beautiful and so nice after all. It was a place I could now reckon with. Sometimes, when I look back, other than the obvious feelings I get of returning there, and the Himalayas, I sometimes feel like I should settle down there or in Grahan eventually. When I told this to K1 later, he was kind enough to suggest an alternative profession for me :P. Kasol has the 2nd best hashish in the world and there are a lot of people selling this illegally(maybe) over there. So he suggested that I settle in Kasol and sell hashish for a living . And when I told S3 about my ideas, he said that he would need a free supply of hashish when he comes next for trekking. So if you ever find me in Kasol, I would definitely not be selling anything. I think I should probably settle in Grahan and teach at the school there (Like Amir Khan in 3 idiots opening a school in Ladakh hehe). Anyways thatís for future to decide. Back to where we were.

We had missed the bus and we booked a vehicle to go to a rafting location in Bhunter (There are several). N1, N2, S3, N3, S1, Chatur, Y1, V1 and me set off. I slept through most of the journey and we withdrew money at Jari and finally reached the rafting location. We kept our luggage including the cameras and mobiles and took only S1ís camera along so we hardly have any pics of the rafting. We had 2 rafts Ė N1, S1, Y1, N2 and V1 got into one and Me, S3, Chatur and N3 got into another. I donít remember the level of rafting but it was not a difficult one. We went and the chilled water splashing on you rapidly is an awesome experience. I guess this was the Baes river. Rivers Parvati and Baes combine and then the water flows as Baes river. I canít describe the rafting experience, you have to experience it yourself to know it.

As we rafted, we chatted with our guide or boatman or however you describe him. He is the strong guy who does the actual oaring and has full control. We just do it in some parts as per his directions. He was a nice guy and he told he takes part in rafting competitions. He said he was from Nepal and he asked us where we were from. For this Chatur gave such a fundoo reply that I still laugh when I think about it. Chatur replied ďBhaiya hum upar se hai, Sar Pass se(We are from up above, we are from Sar Pass)Ē. Hahaha. Chatur had made us natives of Sar Pass just like that . At one point we could get into the water. I donít know to swim but wanted to get in the water too. So, trusting my life jacket, and the guide I got in holding the rope. If I had found the water chilling before, it appeared warm compared to what I felt now *Burrrhhhhhh*. I came back in the raft along with the others and now no more felt a chill when water splashed. We soon reached the end point which is a distance away from the starting point.

After having delicious pakodas here, we set off again but not in a raft this time but in the back side of a transportation tempo. It was a extremely bumpy and S3 the Sherpa hung out of the van for most part of the journey and here too, they drive like crazy on the narrow roads. Awesome!. We reached the starting point, where we met some of our fellow SP22 mates who had come for rafting too. We bid adieu to them, changed into dry clothes and set off to find our boarding point for bus. We got into a local bus(but missed out sitting on the roof top because there was place inside to stand). The one thing I remember was the songs being played in the bus were of Hindi movies of the 90s. It reminded us all of the school days since these were the songs we grew up listening to. We finally reached the boarding place which was some hotel. K1, S4 , M1, A1 and N4 were already here, each with a colourful long beaded string from some part of their hair and K1 with a colourful goatee). We had dosas there (inspite of my protests ) and soon the buses arrived.

As we left, we were not just leaving the Himalayas , but also a bunch of very good friends. Thinking of the days spent there, always brings a big smile to my face.

That's all folks!
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Old 3rd April 2015, 11:43   #19
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

SwatiS: This was truly an amazing read ! Thanks. I did my schooling in DehraDoon and am longing to go back in the lap of mountains again, but this or that have kept me engaged all this while. Its an incredible feeling being in the midst of these green giants, somehow make you feel connected. The call of mountains is such that only those who give in, understands. Thanks again and i hope i can pull myself out of the worthless daily grind and head for the mountains.
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Old 9th April 2015, 20:21   #20
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

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Originally Posted by Rajuputana View Post
SwatiS: This was truly an amazing read ! Thanks. I did my schooling in DehraDoon and am longing to go back in the lap of mountains again, but this or that have kept me engaged all this while. Its an incredible feeling being in the midst of these green giants, somehow make you feel connected. The call of mountains is such that only those who give in, understands. Thanks again and i hope i can pull myself out of the worthless daily grind and head for the mountains.
Thanks Rajputana. I wholly agree with you. Nothing like being in the lap of nature
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Old 10th April 2015, 10:48   #21
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

Excellent narration and pics Swati. I am yet to read the complete treklougue though, am half way through. Were you a trekker before doing this. If no, what is preparation you did to enable yourself to do the trek and how long did it take.
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Old 11th April 2015, 21:20   #22
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

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Originally Posted by daisyb View Post
Excellent narration and pics Swati. I am yet to read the complete treklougue though, am half way through. Were you a trekker before doing this. If no, what is preparation you did to enable yourself to do the trek and how long did it take.
This was my first Himalayan trek. Had not really trekked before, if you exclude climbing an hour on a hill or 2. I didn't prepare at all, but I would trongly recommend not to go unprepared. After this, I have done a couple other Himalayan trek which are way more difficult. For those, I had prepared myself by jogging around 8 km daily. Did that for around 3 months.

Prepare yourself by first walking, and then slowly increasing the speed and distance to jogging. Also, start carrying backpacks when you walk after a few days. There are some other exercises which my better prepared friends did in the gym before the trek but I am not aware of those. Also, yoga helps.
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Old 18th April 2015, 20:48   #23
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Default Re: Miles to go before I sleep: Trekking & camping in the Sar Pass, Himalayas

Hi

Thanks for the thoroughly enjoyable travelogue.
Keep posting more picture if you have please

Regards
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