And We Shall Overcome ( an incidental homage to Pete Seeger)
Morning brought clarity. I wasn’t going to quit. Every day, 7.30 AM, we would be woken by a soft-spoken person of the kitchen staff who would bring for us bed-tea, right upto our tent. We would take 15 minutes to slowly savour the warm tea. And then, it was mayhem! It took us the best part of half an hour or more to stuff the 6 sleeping bags back into their covers. Then, would begin that long and arduous journey to find an appropriate rock for our morning ablutions. By the time the three of us had gotten these tasks done, it would be time for breakfast. Sometimes, the breakfast whistle would sound mid-pee! Hungry and defeated, we would make our way to the kitchen tent and look at the menu on display. Heartily we ate eggs, museli, bread and jam, and drank hot tea, all in anticipation of the physically draining day we were going to have. Then, with full stomachs, we walked back to our tents, to pack up. We started our walks, every day, at 9.30 AM. So, hurriedly we would toss everything into our backpacks. After the previous day’s debacle, CAP offloaded her bag. Gudiya and CAP would have to pack two bags, one big backpack that the porters would carry and one small backpack with the day’s essentials that they would carry. I, on the other hand, would pack one, containing all my things. Huffing and puffing, with stuff falling out of every opening in the bags, we finally got our packing done and set off- this time to Tibb.
Tibb is a beautiful little canyon of sorts surrounded by many cliffs. The campsite receives very little direct sunlight because of the mountains. The wind takes your breath away as it ricochets from all sides. This is, perhaps, the coldest I ever felt on the trek, mostly because of the mighty winds. The trip to Tibb, however, was easy going, much less climbing to do as the Chadar had formed very well enroute. Comfortable journey after the
previous day’s debacle, I enjoyed the sights and sounds. Waterfalls frozen in midfall. And the sound of the gushing river, underneath the Chadar. In Tibb, at the campsite, when everyone had gone to bed, one could hear the river roar in the silence. It was difficult to believe that it was frozen or that parts of it were still as ice. That night in Tibb was a full moon night. And everything around us was bathed in silvery glow. Beautiful as that was, it made ablutions very difficult since where ever we sat, we felt like the spotlight was on us!
The fourth day, saw us trek to Nerak. This again was a beautiful and easy-going journey. Though this time, I found the way more slippery and therefore, more treacherous. Lots of well-worn ice with slippery edges that fall directly into the river. This is also where we came across the 60-feet tall frozen waterfall. Perhaps the one regret of my trip is that I did not make that arduous journey from campsite to the village of Nerak. Frankly, I was pooped. So much for fitness! And the wooden heater in the room ensured that I wouldn’t move a muscle away. But from those who did make that journey, I hear wonderful things about Yak meat. That goes onto my bucket list now.