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Old 25th May 2010, 20:59   #31
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10 - 12 in a tent? They look small. Thought they can take in 5 - 6 in a tent. Wow.
And yes, the walking stick is very helpful. Especially when you are lugging a backpack, a third leg does provide a prop to the weary back. I use a grandfather type umbrella as a walking stick sometimes. multi purpose stuff.

And no one takes a bath in cold conditions? Boy. I loved cold showers when the temp hovered around -5 or -10 deg. Used to jump up and down violently in the first few seconds. But then it used to make me brave the cold weather even better.

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Old 26th May 2010, 11:35   #32
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Lovely travelogue, glued to it. The rain drenched pictures of the Kullu bus stand did set the right mood.

Very detailed and informative write up. Loving it thoroughly.
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Old 26th May 2010, 13:53   #33
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Deky, take 5 from me
Good going, but tell me something; do people only with prior experience participated in this trekking or did they accept newbies also?
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Old 26th May 2010, 14:09   #34
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Default Trek Day 1- Babeli to Segli (7100ft)

Now before I start writing about the trek, a little bit about the stops we would be making, the distance traveled, the name of the camp sites and the height of the camp site where we would be stopping for the night.

Trek day 1 : Babeli base camp to Segli (7100ft), 8 kms trek
Trek day 2 : Segli to Hora Thatch (9000ft), 10 kms
Trek day 3 : Hora Thatch to Maylee Thatch (10,500ft), 9 kms
Trek day 4: Maylee to Doura Thatch (11,300ft), 10 kms
Trek day 5: Doura to Longa Thatch (10,800ft), 12 kms, via Saurkundi pass (12,900 ft)
Trek day 6: Longa to Lekhni (8100ft), 12 kms
Trek day 7: Lekhni to Aluground (5000ft), 7kms and then transfer to Babeli base camp by bus.

Babeli To Segli

It was a bright and a sunny day, the routine started as usual at 0500hrs with bed tea and by 0700hrs we were ready with our rucksacks packed to leave for our 7 days long trek. It was breakfast time and time to click pictures of houses on the hills shining brightly under the morning sun
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The bus that was suppose to take us to Pathlikot arrived dot at 0800hrs. We had already eaten our breakfast and had got our packed lunch in our tiffin boxes and were ready to board the bus. Unfortunately there was no other group after our group in the base camp to give us a send off, but with the excitement of the trip ahead so overpowering that we happily started to board the bus.
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Suddenly someone shouted from the group.."Hey!! can we sit on the top of the bus", Before the conductor could even reply in affirmative half of the group had already made themselves comfortable on the top.
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Oh boy!! what an exciting 4kms bus ride that was. The cool breeze hitting our faces, the frequent warning shouts of " down down tree ahead"..." hold urself bumpy road ahead" coming regulary and all the twists and turn were making the beginning of the trek even more exciting. We even managed to buy some hot pakodas on our way and ended up having a small picnic on the top of the bus. The bus ride along with the magnificent views was fun indeed.
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I know its a dicey thing to be sitting on top of the bus in the hills but then all I would say is that all well that ends well. At Pathlikot we got down from the bus, and finally started our trek on foot. There was an old man selling walking sticks and I along with a few decided to buy them for Rs 5/- each. The stick was indeed helpful for the rest of the journey.
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Our initial journey was through apple orchards. We were categorically told not to touch any trees or plants or to pluck any fruits. Anyways the apples fruits were very small to be plucked, so we just enjoyed the views around as we walked.
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Our journey took us through a village called Badagram and we were again warned by our guide not to touch anything in the village or not to go close to any temple. Apperently the village still follows a very strict cast system and some castes are still not allowed to enter certain temples. Sad!! but true.
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As we kept ascending we had soon left the villages behind and soon entered into a pine tree forest.
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It was time for rest, our bodies were not used to carrying around 10kgs on our back and not used to ascending on the hills.
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It seemed to be a normal rest point for all the groups as soon came young school kids selling fresh buttermilk and "brass" juice. Brass apperently is berry found locally and its juice is very refreshing.
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I dont know what was more refreshing, the juice or the views from there. Luckily since it was a clear day, the snow peaks stood tall over us.
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After a 30 mnts break we moved on, from now on for a fairer part of todays route would be through dense deodhar forests. Soon we had left civilisation behind and the city noises were replaced by bird sounds and the sound of air rushing through the trees.
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By now we had trekked for around 4 hours. The Beas river and the Kullu valley seemed far far below. If you notice the next picture, you will see a telephone tower in the middle, that is Pathlikot and we started our trek from there.
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It was time to break for lunch. Usually the lunch points are fixed and all the groups take lunch at the same spot. Usually lunch points are chosen very carefully. They usually are on a plain ground and have a fresh water stream flowing so that the trekkers can refill their water bottles or wash their tiffin boxes or just relax if they want to.

After lunch we carried on. The first 15 minutes after taking a long break is a killer. Your body looses momentum, your tummy is full and it takes some time before you get into the groove of climbing again. Neverthless we went along stopping here and there take photo graphs.
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In the Hills I have never seen an obese person. Well with so much of climbing up and down daily, where is the time to put on fat.
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The forest kept on getting denser and denser, the climb kept on getting steeper but the group moved on.
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Around 1600 hrs we reached Segli, that will be our camp for the night.
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It was a welcome relief for all of us as most of us were tired with the climb. I think the tiredness was because it was the first day for all of us and our bodies were not used to suddenly doing so much of exercise. We were alloted tents and it was time relax and stretch our legs. The tents were very interesting placed on a step of about 20 feet. Below the tents were apple orchards and if not for the sticks placed at the side of the tent, the person sleeping that side could easily role down and fall of 20 feet below. The views of the Kullu valley below from our tent were to die for.
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We were indeed lucky to get this tent, the girls were not. The girls tent on one side opened to the garbage bin and on the other side opened to the loo. But atleast they had an attached toilet which is kinda help full when you have to get up to do your thing in the night when the temperatures ar 5-6 degrees.

Soon the hot tea was served with hot aloo pakodas followed by soup. Hot drinks in the evening in the cold feels really nice. After dinner it was Campfire time and by 0800hrs we were all in our tents tugged in our sleeping bags ready to sleep.

But before we slept a final pic of Kullu valley in the night.
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Old 26th May 2010, 14:18   #35
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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Deky, take 5 from me
Good going, but tell me something; do people only with prior experience participated in this trekking or did they accept newbies also?
Looking at the altitude and distance traversed over 7 days, this is a trek that even newbies can do (provided they are not having chronic illnesses).
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Old 26th May 2010, 14:22   #36
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Looking at the altitude and distance traversed over 7 days, this is a trek that even newbies can do (provided they are not having chronic illnesses).
PLUS guys who also like to trek!
What say you Aargee?
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Old 26th May 2010, 16:21   #37
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are mai bhi kar sakta hun... when is the next trek? winters mein toh maza aa jayega...

(guys.. y'know i'm joking.. but i wouldnt mind giving this a try!)
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Old 26th May 2010, 17:17   #38
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Decky - And you though that with your experience of Mansrovar this should have been easy! Lovely narrative and mesmerising pictures. Waiting for the next dose.
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Old 26th May 2010, 17:18   #39
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Have often thought of doing the YHAI treks but just never got around to it.

Following with great interest.
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Old 26th May 2010, 17:31   #40
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Originally Posted by unoczar View Post
are mai bhi kar sakta hun... when is the next trek? winters mein toh maza aa jayega...

(guys.. y'know i'm joking.. but i wouldnt mind giving this a try!)
You are allowed only if you bring Mazhar along.

Imagine the conversation.
Khalid: Mazhar, tent pe aag lagi hai
Mazha: Koi ich fikr nahin. Lo. Biriyani khao. Maine banaya.

After 2 hours of blaze and a gutted tent, they find that Mazhar had tried to cook Hyderabadi biriyani inside the tent when other's were snoring their way to glory.

Last edited by MX6 : 26th May 2010 at 17:33.
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Old 26th May 2010, 20:32   #41
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Default Tre Day 2- Segli to Houra Thatch (9000ft) 10kms

Originally Posted by amip View Post
Have often thought of doing the YHAI treks but just never got around to it.
Following with great interest.
I thought the trek was organised very well. And since YHAI is a no loss- no profit organisation, there is no commercialization of the event

Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Deky, take 5 from me
Good going, but tell me something; do people only with prior experience participated in this trekking or did they accept newbies also?
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Looking at the altitude and distance traversed over 7 days, this is a trek that even newbies can do (provided they are not having chronic illnesses).
Certainly newbies can do the trek. I think out of our group of 23 pax, it was the first time for around 10 of them and all did pretty well. Yeah you do get tired climbing up and down on slippery surfaces, but in return you get such wonderful views that you forget about all aches and pains.

Heights above 11,000ft can be of concern to some, but the best part about treking is that you slowly ascend and you keep getting acclimatised to the height as you go up.

So IMO if you are reasonably fit or as MX6 said untill and unless your doctor advises not to do strenuous exercises, go for it by all means and enjoy the bounties of nature.

Originally Posted by unoczar View Post
are mai bhi kar sakta hun... when is the next trek? winters mein toh maza aa jayega...
(guys.. y'know i'm joking.. but i wouldnt mind giving this a try!)
Lol...summers mein winter ka maaza liya...winters mein to mere khyaal se band baj jayegi. Not used to living in 9-10 feet of snow you see

Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Deky - And you though that with your experience of Mansrovar this should have been easy! Lovely narrative and mesmerising pictures. Waiting for the next dose.
Overconfidence Sir, For Kailash I trained and exercised for a month or 2, for this trek I took it very easy. But it wasnt that bad here, just the first day was a bit tiring the rest of the days though more difficult turned out to be relatively easier as the body was now getting into the groove and the mind had accepted that I had to carry my own rucksack.

Trek Day 2 : Segli to Houra Thatch (9000ft) 10kms

By this time we were so used to getting up at 0500 that we were all up and were waiting for the whistle for the bed tea. First thing after getting up we did was to count everyone in the tent to make sure that no one had rolled off the tent into the valley below. Luckily the sticks dug on the side of the tent were the savior.
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No one was in a hurry as today was supposedly an easy climb, even the guide for the day did not come till 0800hrs. Usually with every group there is a guide who shows the way till the next camp. This has been started lately as earlier there were only arrows painted in yellow or green in the jungle to guide the groups. The arrows were not fool proof and resulted in groups getting lost.

By the time the guide arrived at 0800 hrs all of us had, had our breakfast were ready with our bag packs and our packed lunch. Our guide was for today was a young school boy Ishwar. Being a Sunday today he was off school and was filling in for the usual guide for this part of the trek

We started our trek and passed through the Segli village, the kids were all out and about waving at us. Being a sunday they were all in a happy mood.
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On our journey I noticed wild roses. Presumably the biggest rose bush I would have ever seen in my whole life.
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As we climbed higher the mountains were getting closer and closer. Luckily the weather was nice and clear so we had amazing views of the mountains. We would stop often to photograph such beautiful scenery.
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Aft or so of walking we passed through another small village and this was presumably the last village of the trek till we started to descend.
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Our guide Ishwar was different from our guide the previous day. Our guide the previous day was making us stop after every 30 minutes to make sure that the group assembled and then started off. Today Ishwar was walking at a good speed and and a few of us were matching him for speed, he occasionaly used to ask us..." sir bakiyon ka wait karein ki aagey chalein?'
we said " baaki kho gaye to?" he answered ..."sir nahin khoyengey, unkey saath eik aur aadmi hai, lunch point pahoonch kar wait kar lengey, lamba rest mil jayega!!"

When we reached the lunch point we realised why was he in a hurry to reach there. Actually there was a cricket match slated to happen and if he reached there in time, he could take part in it.

I finished my lunch quickly and wanted to go and join them, but unfortunately teams had been selected and the only role left for me was to do umpiring. Which I glee fully accepted. Luckily the game was played without the rule of LBW, the basis of all controversies in cricket matches be it a street match or an international.

It was 12 overs a side match with 11 players in each. The match was played with complete kit eg leather ball, batsmen gloves and pad, wicketkeeper with gloves and pad. The match was contested keenly but unfortunately the team chasing the score lost by 3 runs.
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Group collected, lunch over, match over we were ready to move ahead. Interestingly every time we started as a group we automatically started walking in a straight line. But soon the group started to scatter with some walking ahead and some lagging behind.
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Ishwar was now making us, the smaller group walking with him ahead, stop to wait for the rest of the group. At one of these stops I heard a stream flowing nearby but could not see it. So I decided to investigate while the rest waited for the group to collect. Believe me it was worth going to the stream. It was just amazing. The wooden bridge across the stream, the water gushing down was just out of a fairy tale.
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The under growth started to disappear as we climbed higher. The pine trees started to get even more taller.
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After about trekking for 7 hours we soon saw the welcome sign to our next camp Houra Thatch.
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This was a temporary camp site chosen by YHAI for the groups to rest for the night. The camp site was amidst pine trees in a clearing. Another good thing about reaching early is that you can choose your tent, well it really does not matter as all the tents are the same but small things like, tents with lesser incline or tent floors more even than others do make bit of a difference.
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The group collected soon and tea was served with some peanuts. From now on it was time for open toilets so gents area and the ladies area was demarked. Water point was identified, sleeping bags and blankets distributed so now it was time to wait for soup.

I decided to take a walk around. There was a small tea house set up by locals. The tea house used to serve delicacies like busicuits omelets, maggie tea/ coffee and juices for those who wanted to have some change from the regular Dal, subzi routine. Mind you the food at the camp though simple was very good and tastefully prepared.
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Tonights campfire was held in the open on some rocks. It was a wonderfull feeling to be able to see so many stars in the night. Fire was replaced by torch lights and the theme for the camp fire tonight was Trivia questions. It was getting really cold and the Milo served got great respite to the shivering bodies. Milo over, camp fire over and all proceeded to bed.

Another day tomorrow!!!
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Old 26th May 2010, 20:49   #42
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Default Walking Manners

This section has been taken from the YHAI guide book I thought of sharing with you guys as it was pretty helpful for me while I trekked.

YHAI guide book, walking manners, page 6 & 7

1. Dont walk to fast like porter to carry the weight (of a rucksack) from one camp to another. You are here to enjoy the scenic beauty of the mountain with the load on your back.
2. Walk on a steady pace, if you want to hurry a little, increase your stride but not too much.
3. While walking keep your foot in full contact with the ground and not just the toes
4. Do not swing your arms wildly.
5. On steep slopes, bend forward to take the weight on the back. If the climb is too steep traverse it.
6. Be carefull while walking on pine needles, wet grass, wet roots which are slippery. Frozen water on the slopes, rocky patches and stones on the banks of streams and rivers should be negotiated carefully
7. Avoid loose stones
8. Avoid crossing and overtaking while walking on a narrow path. Always intimate the person in front before you overtake them.
9. Going down hill, bend knees, keeping weight forward. Dig heels into the soft ground.
10. During breathers, lean against a tree or a rock. Or better lie down and keep legs raised. This will help in balancing the blood circulation thereby cutting fatigue
11. Always put on some warm clothes before taking rest.
12. Halts should be utilised not only to relax but also to re-adjust load. tie shoe laces etc. Halts should not be frequent. Too many breaks destroy the rhythm of walk and waste time
13. During a rain or a storm find a shelter - a cave or a rock to save yourself
14. In case of lightning, do not stand under a tree or a high conical rock. And if open, lie down on the knees and elbows on the ground
15. On the route if you encounter flocks of sheep or bulls or mules, keep on the mountain side and not on the side facing the valley.
16. Carry glucose or candy, chocolate or dry fruits while trekking.
17. Always drink water from springs and try to clean it first with a handkerchief.
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Old 26th May 2010, 21:22   #43
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Looking at the altitude and distance traversed over 7 days, this is a trek that even newbies can do (provided they are not having chronic illnesses).

Originally Posted by ampere View Post
PLUS guys who also like to trek!
What say you Aargee?
yeah yeah, I like to trek here & shshsh!!! don't let Smartcat know what I told here

The chill weather is what can keep one going without making tired. The high heat makes one perspire & lose energy very quickly. During the beginning of Autumn in US, I used to walk briskly, say for about 5-6 mi & here? I can hardly walk for about 5-6 Kms.
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Old 27th May 2010, 14:59   #44
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Default Hora Thatch to Maylee Thatch (10,500 ft) 9kms

Everyone was in a rush to get up early this morning. No it was nothing to do with catching the first rays of the sun or there was no competition for being the first one ready for breakfast. It was just that we had to use open toilets so everyone wanted to make sure that they get the best points as early as possible where they cant be seen and also the previous night survey of the area had revealed that there were very few points in between rocks where you could save your back side from getting frozen from the early morning chilly winds.

As usual by 0800 hrs, everyone was ready after their breakfast and their packed lunch. As I had mentioned earlier the meals were very simple but yet hot and tasty. I think that's all you need when you tired and when you hungry. Anyways if you needed to have a change you could always have omelets and maggie at the tea house but at a very high price.

Dinner at the camps usually consisted of Dal, Subzi rice and roti and followed by a desert. Yes they made sure to give us either custard or kheer or gulab jamuns as sweets. Dinner was always preceded with a cup of hot soup. Hot soup's are life savers when you tired and when its cold. Packed lunch always had a Subzi and Parantha's or roti. Usually packed lunch was distributed immediately after breakfast. We had individual tiffin boxes to pack our lunch. Breakfast was either poha or upma or maggie and porridge with tea.

Our guide for today was Krishna. Before we left he took our briefing and informed us that today would be the toughest day of all. The climb was supposed to be steep, the terrain would be slippery and to add to all this with comparatively lower oxygen levels it will be a difficult ascend. But to make up to all that, as we get higher, he promised that the views of the Himalayas would start to get better and better.

So in the hope to get even better views we bid adieu to Hora thatch and proceeded on our trek.
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Immediately the climb got difficult, there were some over night drizzle that had indeed made the route a bit slippery. For those who were carrying sticks, it turned out to be helpful in these conditions, for those who were not had to go down on all fours to negotiate the incline. Slowly but steadily the group moved on.
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This initial incline itself of about a km or so broke the group, since we were ahead with the guide he asked us to wait till everyone collected. As we waited we noticed a rock about 40 feet tall, this was inviting us to give it a try to climb it. The face of the rock towards us was very steep and had no crevasses or faults for any hold. I with a few other tried but in vain. I decided to try from the other side. the other side the incline was the same though the face was smaller, and at least it had some faults to get some hold. I succeeded.
Pic Courtesy Navneeth Prassana
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By the time I completed my feat the group had collected and we moved on. We came across a lot of clearings in between the tall pine trees and were informed that these trees had been cut by the locals to grow marijuana. Growing of marijuana is prohibited hence they chose higher reaches of the mountains away from villages so that the chances of getting caught were reduced.
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Soon "adat se majboor" some of us had again broken away from the group. The lunch point was not very far away so Krishna told us that he will wait for the rest of the group and told us to follow the arrows painted on the rocks to reach the lunch point.
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It was a quick lunch this time for all as the rain clouds were looking threatening and chances of thunderstorms was looming large over us. And as predicted, soon the drizzle started. The kids, Bharath and Amrutha had come well prepared for the rain and had the best rain coats, that protected them as well as their bagpack.
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As we continued in the slight drizzle the views started to get better and better. Though the body was feeling the tiredness from the relentless climb and the slippery terrain, yet the mind wanted us to keep going in search of even better views. Himalayas do have a strange way of giving you the energy that you never knew existed within you.
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The rain got a bit heavier, infact a small hail storm had started so we decided to take a break again. We were not tired or rather we had forgotten about our tiredness and wanted to move ahead in search of better views. But Krishna insisted we rest. Maybe because this was his favorite resting spot?
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Well I found myself a hammock too. Just look at my rain protection gear as compared to what the kids had. Please note:- its very important to have a good rain sheet, that is light and that protects you and your bag in case of the rain. Cold weather & wet clothes is a good recepie for disaster.
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Soon the group collected again and I remember a conversation that happened between Bharath (the youngest member) and Krishna (the guide)

Bharath huffing and puffing : Bhaiyya abhi aur kitna door??
Krishna: Bus pahoonch gaye 45 minutes aur lagengey
Bharath : Ufff 45 minutes aur, mar gayee...climb hai kya?
Krishna : haan thodi climb hai fir easy hai

Here Krishna did not mention if the 45 minutes was with his speed or with Bharath's speed. But atleast Bharath new that he had energy left for 45 minutes atleast. So we moved on.
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Soon we were approaching the end of treeline, that meant that we would be approaching snow.
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It was long past 45 minutes that Bharath had been promised by the guide. So he approached the guide again.

An irritated Bharath : Bhaiyya 1 hr ho gaya, abhi bhi nahin pahoonchey
smiling Krishna : abhi aap ki speed pe 1 hr lagega aur kam se kam.
Bharath was by now laying on the ground : 1 hr pehley bola 45 minutes ab boltey ho 1 hr more.

Bharath being the youngest was every ones favourite. So after getting lots of encouragement from all of us he finally decided to move, and that also with carrying his own bagpack. It always helps when you have a nice close knit group as they keep giving motivation to each other and urging you to move ahead.

As the trees finished, ahead was a steep hill to climb, at the end of the hill on the far right we could see a small welcome sign to our destination. But we went higher we realised that this was a never ending climb, the point which we though was the highest was followed by another climb.
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This seem to be a never ending climb and now everyone was truly exhausted.
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The group behind was slowly coming out of the trees.
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the rain clouds over the hills looked really threatening.
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But finally we reached the welcome sign and all of us went rushing ahead to get into the comforts of our tents and give our limbs some well deserved break after 8 hours of relentless climb.
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The camp sight offered excellent views. As soon as we reached our tents we forgot all about our aches and pains and wanted to go out and explore the site more. We were asked to wait for the rest of the group so the staff there could serve us some hot tea. We actually needed that today!!
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At all the campsites there were total of 4 tents to be used by the trekkers. Another tent was used as a store, and one more for the kitchen. Us being only 23 in a group, 16 boys and 7 girls, we could have the luxury of having 5-6 boys in one tent and 7 girls in one. Bigger groups of 50 ended up sleeping 10-12 pax in one tent ( store tent was also used for sleeping)

By now tent mates were more or less fixed. Apart from Anirudh, Navneeth, Hari and Madhav Uncle, Bharath (all from Bangalore) was also in my tent. Here I would like to add that these guys though all being from one region made it a point to speak in English/ Hindi, so I also could be a part of the conversation. And Bharath's Kannada Hindi was great to listen too actually.

By now everyone had collected in their tents. Bharath was one of the last to come. As soon as he came inside the tent he announced with all his innocence " From hence forth I will never believe the guide, he told me 45 mnts where as it took me 3 hours" We all had a hearty laugh at the poor guys expense and moved out for tea and some hot vada's without the pao.

Now it was time for a walk, luckily the weather was also holding up, it was cloudy but not raining. There were lush green meadows all around surrounded with snow capped peaks. We could notice 100's of horses and 10,000 of sheep grazing the meadows.

Now for some pictures from Maylee thatch.
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On my walk I also encountered a precious moment. I sheep had just given birth to a lamb. It was a beautifull sight.
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Soon we could hear a whistle from the camp. It was time for soup. We all collected to have the best meal of the day. Nothing like hot tomato soup in the winters ( well it felt like winters here)
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A few did not come out for dinner. Either they were too tired from the climb or it was just a case of depleted oxygen levels.

The campfire was held in the store tent. The attendance for the campfire was even lesser. God it was freezing, if it would not have been for the extra blankets and sleeping bags in the tent I dont think anyone of us would have survived there for more than 5 minutes.
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Bharath and his cousin Amrutha were genuinely interested in the camp fire, Navneeth was only interested to have his cup of Milo that was served during the camp fires. ( the rule was, if you attend the camp fire you get the milo other wise not) The rest I guess were interested in both the Milo and the fun and laughter.

Bharath had already forgotten his miseries of the morning and was in full flow with his jokes and riddles, Amrutha, as usual was very impressive with her acts and Madhav uncle as usual did a very good job conducting the camp fire.

It was getting late. Here by late it means past 2030 hrs, so we decided to call it a day and rest. Also some of us wanted to get up by 0430 hrs the next morning to catch the golden sun rays hitting the snow peaks.
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Old 27th May 2010, 20:42   #45
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Default Maylee to Doura Thatch (11,300ft), 10 kms

It got very windy in the night and the storm did not seem to relent. The tent was threatening to blow away anytime in the wind. Anyway I left it to destiny and decided to sleep as much as I could before we had no tent left on us. But nothing like that happened.

In the morning I was woken up by some commotion in the tent. Anirudh as usual was always the first one to wake up in our tent; he was trying to pull Navneeth who was half outside the tent back inside. Actually what had happened was that the floor slant was towards Navneeth side and Navneeth was sleeping in the corner. So slowly slowly everyone slid towards Navneeth pushing him half out the tent. That was the last time Navneeth chose to sleep in the corner.

All settled, I asked Anirudh "is the sun out" I was hoping for some nice pics of the first ray's of the sun on the peaks. He replied " No its snowing outside" I did not believe him till I saw it myself. I came out and indeed everything had turned from green to white. My first ever snow fall in life.
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In the excitement and hurry to go around and take some pics I wore my slippers instead of shoes. It was a bad decision. The fresh snow had made the terrain very slippery and at every step I was like an acrobat trying to save myself and my camera from injury. Anyway, this was the best moment of the trip, standing an experiencing fresh snowfall. It was very cold, should be around freezing or a little less. Apart from me only a few other brave hearts came out to experience this moment.
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As the day continued the snow fall had stopped but still clouds were around threatening to open any time. It was a sight to behold.
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Soon we somehow managed to do our morning jobs in the open, in the cold. It was so cold that even the water at the water point had frozen. So we were given some luke warm water to brush, wash our face etc etc. By 0900hrs we were ready to leave. Today after an initial climb we were told that the rest of the journey would be on more or less flat ground. But we would be walking on snow during most of the trek today. Walking on snow bit excited all of us, little did we know, walking on snow can be treacherous too. I guess the YHAI people knew all this hence today we were alloted 2 guides, one of them being a sherpa who scaled Mt. K2 successfully (considered to me the most difficult climb)
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Initially as told to us the climb was pretty steep and melting slow was making the path very slippery. So each step had to be taken very carefully or we would be rolling down back to the camp very soon.
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See our camp that we had left behind.
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We reached a high point and decided to wait for the rest of the group to assemble. From here we could make out that the terrain is more or less flat.
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The members that were left behind climbed up slowly.
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While waiting for the group, down below at a distance I could see some colourfull tents in different places. I was told that these were treks organised by private operators. And these treks were very expensive, well atleast as compared to what we had paid for our trek.
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Everyone who reached the top had a sense of achievement, and why not, ascending on wet terrain with atleast 10 kgs (Navneeth the guy in this pic was different, he had atleast 20kgs in his rucsack) on your back at a height of 11,000/- ft is no easy task.
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The group collected and it was time to take a group photo. The toughest part was over and everyone was in smiles as the route ahead was plain and more importantly for everyone it was in snow. Little did we know that snow would spring its own challenges.
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The skies were still grey and it was snowing intermittently, but we continued slowly.
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There were places where melting snow had created ponds, Anirudh decided to go close to one such pond, it was like treading on thin snow but luckily he survived.
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It was a beautiful sight all around and I felt like taking pics at every step.
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Even the locals I guess never get tired of admiring such beauty. This pic of a shephard at the edge of a cliff happens to be one of my favourite pics. Only to be spoilt by the dust on the lens/sensor
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Navneeth tried to emulate his feat but could muster courage to get to the edge.
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Soon we were getting closer to the mountains. With fresh snow around everything looked so white and pure.
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As suggested earlier fair part of todays trek was in snow.
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Soon we arrived at our lunch point.
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It was noon by now and the the snow had started to melt. Our problems started. Every step we took, slowly slowly our feet kept sinking inside. In some places the more we tried to come out the more deeper we went. Walking on meting snow was proving to be difficult. Some with less grip on their shoes kept slipping and falling.
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Some tried the easier way of sliding down, but eventually they also ended up in getting stuck in the snow.
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Our K2 returned sherpa came to our rescue and tried to teach us how to walk on snow, but we kept sinking in. It was a bit scary but it was fun.
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Soon we had our campsite for the night in sight.
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But there was still some snow to be negotiated. the sherpa was in full form holding everyone and making them cross the snow.
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After walking for about 6 hours we finally we reached Doura Thatch our campsite at a height of 11,300ft.
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The usual routine followed- tea, soup, dinner, campfire Milo and sleep!!!! Tomorrow we would be reaching our destination---Saurkundi pass.
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