This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
The campsite wakes up early to the tune of patriotic songs being played by Dashodh on the speakers he had borrowed from Tarun the previous day. As everyone gets into the spirit of Independence Day, they are surprised to find a tempting sweet dish for breakfast!
Dashodh has helped the kitchen staff in preparing kheer along with aloo parathas on the occassion of Independence day. His charm always works and he gets work done, be it from staff members or other trekkers – Dashodh is the go-to guy in case anything is required.
Having the luxury of a sweet dish right in the morning brings a wide smile on everyone’s faces as they dip into the sheer joy of sweetness. The kheer, without doubt, is fantastico!
After completing their breakfast, everyone assembles together for a small flag hoisting ceremony. Tarun and Karthik open the tricolour flag as everyone lines up in front of it to sing the National Anthem. Their proud voices echo in the valley, reverberating in the vast meadows.
Today was the last ascent of their trek – Day 6 from Satsar towards the twin lakes of Nundkul and Gangabal. Tomorrow they would descend down towards Naranag and complete the trek. The distance from Satsar to Gangabal is 9 kilometres, shortest of all days; but the path is one of the most difficult ones – through huge boulders and steep descents.
They begin the trek crossing the small rivulet near the campsite and start climbing the huge boulders on their route to Zach Pass. Zach pass is the second highest peak in the trek (13,500 feet) and one can see the twin lakes of Nundkul and Gangbal and also seventh lake of Satsar – Kalasar from that height.
As they hop on various boulders, trying to balance their feet after each jump, some hurt themselves in excitement. Arpit is walking with Ruhi, holding her hand throughout the patch of boulders, ensuring she doesn’t fall down. Dashodh is helping Sahil and Stuti as they are not able to find the way on their own. Niket gets acquainted to the patch and manages his way out along with Abhi and Swami. Madhu is far ahead leading other trekkers towards the Zach Pass.
Luckily Vivian had taken a longer but a route with lesser boulders. As they crossed the patch of boulders, they waited for the entire team to come along. In the meanwhile, they tried their hand at rock climbing around under his guidance.
They move ahead towards the steep climb ahead to Zach Pass. Niket had learned the hard way its important to maintain a steady pace and breathing rhythm rather than rushing ahead and getting out of breath. He walked breathing in as much oxygen as possible.
The route was very small and tricky. One wrong step and there could be a fall down the valley. Many horses have lost their lives on this path; everyone climbed the mountain with complete assertiveness and care.
They reached lunch point, from where they had to descend towards the beautiful twin lakes. Zach Pass was a ten minute ascend from the lunch point. Niket decided to check it along with Abhinav. After all, it didn’t make sense to miss it for just 20 minute additional walk.
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