For those who have come here directly, please read the first part of the trip in this post!
So the stage is set, we are all packed up and excited about the trip!
We boarded the train from Mumbai to Delhi (Yes, you heard right. A train trip from Mumbai to Delhi, when so many flights were around. Leave it to the wifey to give an 'authentic, different' experience to the trip, right from the beginning!) on April 28th, and reached Delhi's NDLS station by the evening on the 29th. We had already hooked up with a few of the wifeys fellow trekking mates, and we had decided to have dinner at Ginger Hotel.
For those who do not know about the place, it is part of IRCTC's network of budget business hotels, right next to the NDLS station. Food is good, with self service being the mode of order. The only problem I could find was the way to the hotel.
You know how frustrating it can get when you can see a building so close (oh SO CLOSE) by, but somehow you cannot find a way to reach the place? I mean, its right there in front of you, but there is no way to go there! The hunger and the need for food added to the frustration. Very much like the land above the waterfall Bahubali, we knew that paradise was at the end of the road, we just could not find the route to the paradise!
Finally, after a lot of trial and error (and going into dark alleys which were, frankly, quite scary!), we finally reached the hotel. Maybe the food was all that much better because of the effort we had to put in to find the place, maybe not. But whatever the reason, the food just tasted good, and made us think of a second helping as well!
Our other trekking mates were coming by flight and were on their way to the hotel, so we took the time to see our final updates on facebook and whatsapp, and laugh looking at the mobile phone at some random forward. (God, how life changes after 1 year of marriage.... all the holding hands and talking to one another about random stuff seemed so old fashioned! It was now back to the mobile phone and FB and Whatsapp!)
Finally, after what seemed like ages (or, in FB parlance, after 3240 likes to various FB posts), our other trekking friends came and finally we met the Doctor and the Punekar Hipster (I like putting pseudo names, and you will get to see a whole lot of them, do keep track!). After their dinner, it was time to go back to NDLS station to catch the train from NDLS to Haridwar.
In what seemed like not enough time to put even one FB like, we reached Haridwar. Time just flies when you sleep, and no amount of sleep is enough sleep. On reaching there, we found the weather to be cloudy, with slight rain! It was the height of summer, and to see that kind of weather was very surprising. That only meant one thing.... MORE SNOW AT PANGARCHULLA! Yippeeeeee!!!
Having gotten our stuff packed in the car, we were now ready to take the drive from Haridwar to Joshimath, the place where we would stay for the night. However, the distance was not small (about 270 KMs). And took a good 8 hours to reach there! Finally, after going from one 'prayag' town to another (Rudraprayag, Karnapraya, Devaprayag, Bahubaliprayag etc.etc.etc. (OK I just made that last one up)...... the places ending with prayag just seemed endless!), we finally reached Joshimath. Actually, not quite Joshimath, but about 5 KMs from Joshimath, which is where we were put up.
After settling in, we were asked to report to the main reception area at 7 PM for our briefing on the trip. Our briefing in the evening was a general introduction to the trek, a few do's and don'ts (the most important don't being 'DO NOT ASK HOW MUCH MORE TO GO!'), and a first introduction of everyone in the trek.
This is how the round of introductions went.
Person 1: Good evening everyone! I am XYZ. This would be my first trek in the Himalayas, however have done a lot of trekking in the Sahayadris.
Person 2: Hello Hello! I am ABC and this is my first time trekking. Ever.
Wifey: Hi everyone. This would be my fifth Himalayan trek. Been doing this for 2 years now. Otherwise go to Sahayadris now and then.
Everyone else: :O :O Wooooowwwwww!
And thus, the wifey became an instant celebrity. How things went on the ground ahead, you will get to know later on.
After the briefing session, it was dinner and time to go to bed. The next day, we got up to this.
|The morning blues. Just did not want to move from here!|
The skies were....ummm... well... sky blue! And not a single cloud to be seen! The beginning looked just awesome! I could have spent the whole time just looking at the scene during the sunrise, but a trek had to be completed. Or, to put it in other words, a mountain had to be summit-ted!
The rest of this epic journey is coming soon! Stay tuned!