Day 4, 11 Jun 08
3.00am, Its been raining hard since last night’s dinner. I hear Vj’s voice, he seems to be screaming.. somthing.. ‘paani’, I give it a deaf ear. But soon Vj’s panic in voice was echoed by that of Mallik. This time I heard them carefully. Vj and Mallik’s tent was water-logged. Small water puddles. Mallik is agitated as their Sleeping bags are all wet, so no sound, comfy sleep. Vj calls for Amye, to check if their tent is filled with water. I’m still too sleepy to get off my bum and check our tent. Vj finally calls for me and Rajo, only then did we get up and checked our tents. Our sleeping bags too are wet on the edges where the rain cover was not adequate enough. Vj and Mallik are on an overdrive to flush of their tents from water. It all continues till 4.00am, when things finally settle down a little, so does the rain. Vj and Mallik try to get a nap after a horrific start only to the 2nd day of the trek.
5.00am, Rajo’s alarm always ready to irritate. I get out of the tent, Rajo follows. Outside Viki is preparing Aloo parathas as decided last night. Its still quite chilly, but there is enough light, we remain in our thermal wears. 5.30, we call for Mallik and Vj. Mallik comes out, tired and frustrated with the rains. Half an hour later Vj too gets up. We were supposed to leave in next hour, instead we are having a heated discussion about the immediate plan. Our original plan was to leave for Dodital early morning, but Mallik refuses to move ahead without adequate rain cover. ‘Tarpolin’ or mattresses, atleast one out of it, otherwise we are not moving ! All this happens while we are chewing on the tasty parathas. We decide to send someone back in the base village, Sangamchatti to see if tarpolin or something is available.
7.30am, Viki after finishing off his food, giving some instructions to the porters, heads off to the base village. Mallik decides to cook food, as Viki would be far off from cooking, re-treading the path. We are still moving on the grass spending time with leeches attaching to us. Viki comes back around 9.00. He comes with a news that Sangamchatti shop is closed but there would be some mattresses available in Agoda. We decide that we have to have whatever we can for the rains, and me, Vj and Viki head off back towards Agoda. At Agoda around 10.00 we discuss about our plan with Viki, He says that if rains are bad, it would be difficult to move towards Hanumanchatti ahead from Dodital. Contingency plans start to evolve, with an extra day in Dodital and Viki could take us to a nearby glacier. While all this is happening, the lovely golden sun is on the green terrace lands of Agoda, straight ahead in the distance we can see a waterfall, the puffy-white clouds moving through the mountains creating a panoramic view. I wish I had a job & home over here in Agoda. Vj pays of the shop fellow for the mattresses and we are running back towards Bebra.
10.30, The Bebra sun is now adding heat. Its starting to get sticky after all the Bebra-Agoda-Bebra journey. We decide to take a bath and a wash. While I was trying to find a place to shit, the leeches ensured that I couldn’t rest easily, with the secondary work being to pull of the leeches of my skin. The Water at the heavy flowing stream was cold, We manage to put our feet in to find them getting numb. So a full bath is out of question, we start pouring water on ourselves with the mug, ensure that every part of the body is wet, a little soap, rinse and our bath is complete. But even this was good enough to freshen up things. Now we’ve got another problem, wet clothes, which would only add to our 12kg+ load. Around 12.30, the sun is so hot, that we had to make a make-shift shelter with the black tarpaulin that porters used last night for the rains. We have rice, masoor dal and Cabbage for lunch. The ropes Vj had carried were put to good use to dry the sleeping bags, the bags were now almost dry and we quickly windup things and pack. We see a ‘doli’, procession going ahead along the trekking route.
1.45pm, All guys leave ahead with the porters, me, Vj, Mallik and Viki settle things with the land owner with tent hosting rent for his private land. Viki says there would be a little tougher climb for the starting 2 hours, and he was right to the dot! Initially it started off with climbing through the village steps that lead towards the main route, the highway for the villagers, inter-connecting distant villages in this Himalayan valley. Then the ‘highway’ itself was climbing all the time, with little or almost no descend for relaxation. As Viki had said the next halt would be at ‘chattri’ or shelter at Dharkot. It was 3.25pm when we reached the concrete platform with shed on the top. It was just at the edge of the valley, with a very exotic view. We put our bags and got our cameras working, portraits, landscapes, name it. A local family collecting fire sticks came from top and rested with us. We had them covered too, City tourists in a place like these are paparazzi for the locals, constantly digging into them. When the family left, the little girl in them said ‘good bye’, We all were shocked, I asked
‘कौनसे class में हो तुम?’
and the family vanished in the valley. There was board of the forest dept.
* Kacheru - 2.5km
* Manjhi - 5km
* Dodital - 10km
We were reading it when, Viki said that our night stop would be Manjhi, Still 5km to climb !!! Just before 4.00 we headed towards our 5km benchmark. We were passing through the route, when Viki suddenly tracked back and said
आना गाड दूं
!!! ? We didn’t understand till, he got a Rupee coin and hammered it into the bark of the tree. It was laden with hundreds of coins jammed into the wood. We too had our shot at drilling the coins, and made sure all posed for this rare occasion. 5.00pm, We passed through a small stream of water flowing, there was another ‘chattri’ over here. As Viki put it in his accent, it was Kachori. We rested here for few mins, as the last hour was just climbing without any stops. Had some glucose and biscuits, while Viki refilled our bottles with the original water from the mountains. We passed through hills covered with trees which themselves were covered with mossy plants.
It was close to 6.15pm when we were extremely tired and we saw some signs of a village. Viki said, we were almost there, that almost true to the local’s metrology lasted for another half hour. It was 6.30pm when it was dark, a lot of haze and mist when we touch a board displaying ‘कॅंपिंग स्थल, मांझी’. The weather, our condition was perfect to cause all of breathlessness. We all were extremely tired when dropped our bags near a hut, which Viki said was a forest dept.’s hut for trekkers. My head was throbbing, it was aching, and I was exhausted. The air was chilly, I quickly removed my thermal wear and put it on. I was gasping for air, there was some rumble around. Viki shouted to move quickly and get the baggages into the hut. We were unsure of why he was panicking, he was pulling the porters’ luggage with them into the hut when he said, it was the rains that was coming hard and fast. There wasn’t a drop though, but soon, hard water was hitting the land and all of us were inside that hut trying to dodge the rain leakage through the roof. Our initial thoughts of sleeping inside the hut were now out of question. We didn’t want another sleepless night with water seeping in the sleeping bags. Viki was resourceful and helpful enough to go out in the dark and arrange for a hut of the local while we were still in the hut. It was now so chilling with the rains, that we asked the porters to prepare tea. Most of us had atleast 2 cups of black tea each, the porters intelligent enough to understand how much tea was required.
7.30pm, We were inside the local’s hut, which was neatly water-proofed with tar and tarpaulin. There was fire on the side, wooden flooring, a small hut with more than 10 people inside was cosy place to be in that weather. We rested and discussed and enjoyed Viki’s distance calculating skills when he had said before Manjhi
और १८ – १९ km है
which he then corrected and said 90m. But those 90 meters lasted for well over 30 minutes. For dinner we had dal and rice, I was feeling nauseatic and didn’t eat much. It was still raining when we went to sleep around 10.30pm. Luckily this night’s sleep was gonna be much better than last night’s.