This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Monday, August 10, 2015
The day begins as Dashodh beats a plate with a spoon, walking methodically towards each tent in the semi-circle. Dashodh stays in the mountains of Uttarakhand, he loves the mountains and works with Indiahikes as a trek assistant to earn a living; he is 25, married with three kids. As Madhu wakes up, he finds Chris missing – he must have already gone to complete his morning routine. He wakes up Abhinav and they get out of their tents.
Vivian is in the centre, calling everyone to have some hot tea and healthy porridge. People get out of their tents to begin their morning routine. Tarun and Karthik do warm up before having breakfast. After everyone completes having breakfast, Vivian takes the oxymeter readings, explaining why is it important and would be taken every morning.
The weather is fantastico – sunny with pleasant wind. Today they have to trek to Nichnai from Sonmarg via Shekdur i.e an ascent from 8,000 to 11,500 feet and a distance of 9 kilometres. Everyone is excited about the same – brother sister duo Nikita and Sid have decided to document the trail. People get ready, pack up their lunch in their tiffin boxes they are carrying and help trek staff in dismantling the tents.
The tents, cooking equipment, off-loaded backpacks and food material for the week would be packed and mounted on donkeys to be brought to next campsite. The sherpas begin walking with their donkeys once everything is mounted on them, but always reach campsite before any trekkers do – some support staff accompanies them so that they can start pitching the tents and cooking some snacks and soup for the trekkers.
After a group pic and instructions by Vivian on how to ascend, the trek begins! Everything is lush green and serene – backdrop of snow- clad mountain ranges makes Arpit imagine the magnanimity of mother nature. Breathing deeply as he climbs, Niket is thankful he has already offloaded his backpack; he is carrying a small bag for water, food and poncho along with a small bag given by IndiaHikes to collect garbage found on the way.
Everyone is walking in their own small groups – based on their pace. Chris and Sara are walking with good speed, as if taking a walk in a park. As time passes, the distance between various groups keeps increasing. Swami has got speakers and is playing songs as they walk ahead together – Abhinav and Arpit are together but maintaining a safe distance from each other; Swami hopes it stays like that till they complete the trek.
There is no network available throughout the camping sites – they’ll be able to talk to their families only once they reach Naranag on completing the trek. Rajiv and Prachi walk along holding hands, a bit away from the group; that’s when men realise they are in a relationship and get disappointed!:P
As the sun rises over the horizon, its warmth prods trekkers to keep walking ahead. After forty five minutes of steep ascent, they enter the pine forests.
To view the next post, please click here.