Monday, January 12, 2009

National Himalayan Winter Trekking Expedition (Reaching Dalhousie)

We were part of the "National Himalayan Winter Trekking Expedition" starting at Dalhousie organized by Youth Hostel Association. Name sounds fancy? Well only the name does.
More on that later though.

There is a great saying, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Duh! Isn't it obvious?
But my first step was actually in the reverse direction i.e cancelling the trek as Leena fell sick. Hence she had to drop off the trek. Our original plan was to do the trek and bring in the new year in Himachal itself. But instead, i cut my trip short and decided to return after the trek while Leena took rest at her mother's place at Nasik.

I met the Gang (i.e Varun, Arun, Amit and Uttaran) at the New Delhi Railway Station.

Yeah, all of them are smiling(seems more like they are doped). Uttaran seems fit for the Center Shock Commercial. He is losing hair but claims to be in denial. He trying all sorts of Hair styles; wants to do a "Bucket List" of his hair before them falling. What does the hair think?
"I just want to fall off before freaking people out!"

Anyways, now we had a whole day to kill in Delhi. The train to Pathankot was in the night. So First Stop, was Karim's in Old Delhi near Jama Masjid. We took a tonga ride. tonga - horse driven cart for the uninitiated.

Oh wait! What about the after-effects of a 36+ hrs train journey from Bangalore to Delhi ?

Uttaran, the self proclaimed foodie and also the person who claims to have lived in Delhi for 4+ years gave the orders.
The food looks tasty and obviously unhealthy.

All satiated after the meal

Now, after the meal "normal" people would do some sight-seeing in Delhi. We headed to Connaught Place. Stood outside a cinema hall comtemplating whether to watch the [cough]horror[cough] movie, "Rab Ne Baani Di Jodi". I wished "Rab" would "rub" some wisdom into us. And guess what? Next Stop, TGIF !! Yayee, an overpriced pub. Now thats something you don't find in Bangalore.

Uttaran with his rusty knowledge then directed us to another pub which supposedly played decent rock music. The rock music playing club was now a sports bar with all TVs all over the place showing anything but the current "Test Match between Ind and Eng" and playing Disco songs with the singer going "OOww!" every now and then.
The rates were high, the happy hours freebies were quite sad. Hence after half-an-hour of free water and AC, we coolly walked out.

Next stop Barista!! Obviously. If you want have the best coffee its Delhi dude, not Bangalore!
After Ozzy and Arun showed off their out of tune guitar skills, Uttaran his writing-random-numbers-in-empty-boxes appearing-to-solve-sudoko skills and Varun his just-sit-and-stare-in-the-sky skills, we finally headed to Old Delhi Station.
Once the train started chugging along, I got to know Varun's entrepreneurial ventures during his college days which still funds his overexpensive wardrobe. We discussed everything under the sun including office gossip, emacs v/s vim and so on.
We reached foggy Pathankot next day morning. If you want to know, Pathankot is a dusty and dirty litttle town (just like any other town i guess) with a strong military presence.

We had breakfast (lovely parathas) and headed down to the bus stop.

Yeah, i know we look like two shady guys trying to sell dope to school kids. Alright, i don't but Varun surely does. and yes we seemed on a high.

After 4 hrs of travel, we reached Dalhousie. Dalhousie is a town with a old-world charm slowly giving way to tourism and everything that comes with it (tourists, garbage etc). Our base camp was just a 5 min walk from the bus stand. It had a building with beds to sleep, hot water to have bath, mobile charging points and also had free wifi access. Sadly we all work for a company where no one can afford a mobile with wifi capabilites.

Wait a sec! Building? Beds? Hot water? I thought this was a trek! and also wheres the snow?? I was roaming around in a half sleeves T-shirt . Was it winter, really?

Yeah, Coming back to the title "National Himalayan Winter Trekking Expedition" . Himalayan snow! Winter no way. Trek? Wait and watch, things are going to get worse.

We got ourselves registered, dumped the luggage, cleaned up (in all sense) and headed down market place for some shopping. Rest of the gang, sans Anna reached the camp at night. We had our first encounter with a mountain goat a.k.a God father.

and then next day, we had another encounter with another [cough] mountain goat [cough] whose toothbrush had been used to clean everything except his teeth.

Take A closer look at the brush.

We had a early morning exercise where the leader caught Uttaran faking his exercise (You can fake that too) and called him a 60-year old man and also an insult to Bangalore in pure Kannada.
Then we headed to
Panch Pula(Bhagat Singh's Uncle's memorial...yayee) for our acclimatization walk.
The great Anna, joined us for the acclimatization walk and complained. " Its not cold, lame trek, comparisons to Sar Pass and so on". I got to hear this till i found a cure, more on that later though.

We mostly walked on the road. What kind of acclimatization walk was this? I later realized, it was actually to get acclimatized to walk on the road with heavy shoes, heavy jacket and heavy bag because this is what we did exactly on the first day of the actual trek.

Yeah so no trek, just a hike for the first day atleast.

You can have a look at the Trek Pics
Stay tuned for part 2 .

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