Har Ki Doon Trek – Motivation and Beginning
My childhood was a to and fro shift between a town and a village. Simple life has always attracted me. My love for nature has since increased.
If you ask me what is the motivation for my trip. I would summarize in these three points:
- To move towards a simple life from a complex one. To learn this skill to live with limited, frugal and minimalist means.
- To see the great artwork of God in the form of great mountains, rivers, nature, flora and fauna.
- I don’t know if I have come here to test my limits or to challenge myself. But, I am sure to say that I want to know more about myself.
Initially, it’s excitement, an impulse; we see something, get inspired and take the first step. In my case, it’s my guilty conscience that the movie Yeh Jawani Hain Diwani ignited this spark. Within a week I had registered myself for HMI BMC 300. Then slowly I came to know that it’s not so easy. A lot of factors contribute to make a successful trek and climbing. I wanted to know about the difficulties and how to prepare to face them. It has a lot of costs associated in addition to finance.
As the date comes closer, some fear is felt because you know you are not perfect or even close to perfect. But you overcome fear thinking and believing that everything will be fine. Don’t worry, take it easy.
I remember me saying once that we dream a thousand dreams, we take action for hundred and we are able to achieve only ten. These ten dreams are what counts and make our life successful and worth living for.
Har Ki Doon Trek Day-1: Dehradun to Sankri — 25.05.2014 (Sunday)
We left Dehradun railway station at about 07:30 am. I called my family and informed them about the trip ahead and my current location. We were all really excited. At the beginning, I jumped in the middle seats of a Mahindra Bolero so there is no chance of sitting in the back side of the vehicle. There are three Mahindra Boleros for our seventeen member group. We are five in our vehicle –Doctor (50), Adventurer (16), Topper (16), Mountain Man (24) and me. So, Topper is the younger daughter of Doctor and Adventurer is a close friend of Topper. Both Adventurer and Topper have just finished ICSE tenth grade with flying colors.
In the beginning itself, I identified Doctor as a veteran and a seasoned trekker to which he agreed and informed that he has done quite many treks for our completely novice batch. Doctor also informed that since motion sickness is quite common we better take turns in sitting in the back portion of the vehicle. Nice idea. The tentative time to leave Dehradun for Sankri was 06:30 am but some members came late and we gladly waited for them. Sankri is about 185KM from Dehradun.
So everyone joined except Unknown who had cancelled the trip. So we were 18-1 = 17 members now. Two of us i.e. the Musician and Cinderella (both Siblings) volunteered to organize things till we reached Sankri. And they did it well.
On the way soon the mountain roads starts, we are on our way to Mussorie and see beautiful view of Dehradun spreading beyond the horizon. While coming back on the same route one of us commented that Dehradun must be a small city. To which the driver waited for this scene to show up and wittily told now see how small is Dehradun.
The first thing that stuck our brains is the fresh mountain air and the serpentine roads. As we crossed Mussorie town, the home of Ruskin Bond, we start feeling cold. Suddenly, the temperature drops to 20 degree Celsius (just a guess) in the May end. I loved the place and the sunshine there.
At about 08:45 am, we are near Kempty Falls and can see the fall from the opposite road. We stop at a restaurant and ordered Aaloo Paranthas. There was another group of trekkers who were going to Rupin Pass. They will be along with us up to Netwar from there they will divert to Rupin Pass base camp – Dhaula. This was the first time all of us were on a single table and got introduced to each other and shared those paranthas with curd. We had a good breakfast, good for some and bad for others.
As soon as we left Kempty Falls, I could see the co-passengers were feeling symptoms of motion sickness. I was proud to know that I won’t feel a thing and was completely comfortable. When I was a child I used to think that only I had motion sickness and none else. Now, I see that except me everyone else has it. Strange, isn’t it! Doctor distributed Avomine to everyone, I did not take it. Doctor informed that the worst part of trekking is to travel between the base camp and the nearest rail-head/airport. Mountain Man was the worst victim of motion sickness. This helped us as afterwards none of us had to sit in the back side. Me and Mountain Man sit in the front as the seat was modified for two to sit comfortably. And the other three were in the middle seats. We all loved this arrangement. Even though Mountain Man seemed weak and we had to stop our vehicle twice for him, he proved himself the most strongest during the trek.
En-route Sankri, the scenery was beautiful. We stopped at many places to click photographs and admire the scenery. Doctor was sharing information about his previous treks, AMS and all other relevant/non-relevant things and we all heard him with interest. Some clicks of the mid way are shared below:
We reached Sankri at about 05:30 PM. Sankri is a small village with hotels, restaurants, grocery shops, school, temples and a beautiful cold weather. It is located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is also within the boundaries of Govind Pashu Vihar Sanctuary/National Park. From Sankri one can first time see the scenery of snow-capped mountains calling us. This inspired us and made us more excited to reach Har Ki Doon as early as possible.
Indiahikes had booked GMVN guest house for us, which looks little like a hotel and more like a school dormitory. The guest house is perching on the top of a hill overlooking mountains, valley and the village. We were allotted beds in the dormitories separate for girls and boys. In my room, we were again five – me, Jain (40 years old but looks like 28), Musician (24 years), Professor (38 years) and the Businessman (26 years).
We came to know that Professor has come with his wife, Mary (34 years) leaving their two daughters – one of four years and other of eight years with their grandparents. I appreciate their courage to come to the mountains for first time in their pre-middle age.
Jain is a Jain and a strict one. He has been following diet related aspects of Jainism since last 12 years but will have to change his habits for the coming days which he was aware of and will soon return to his old habits once he goes back home. Initially, I liked him because of two reasons:
- I am a vegetarian and he is an inspiration to me.
- He is also going for Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI Darjeeling in the same Batch 303, so we were batch-mates.
Other members of our group were Curator(36), Teacher(23), Banker(25), Consultant(44), Student(14) and Actress(34). I was yet to know them.
In the evening at about 06:30, we first time met The Invisible (our trek coordinator). He briefed us about the next morning, coming days and motivated us to go for the trek and come back successfully. He explained humorously and sincerely about the aspects we had to take care during the trek like:
- Alpine style trekking
- Increase in the number of domestic trekkers, previously only foreigners were into trekking.
- Safe use of equipment like shoes, trekking poles and backpacks.
- Power of nature to attract human mind. Experience it. Listen to the sounds, appreciate the beauty of nature.
- Supporting fellow trekkers and Indiahikes staff in their efforts.
- Extra dimag nahin lagana or you may cause harm to yourself or others.
- If anyone gets harmed or is to be sent back to the base camp, morale of whole team gets affected.
- There is dinner from 2000 hours to 2100 hours, then drink water and sleep well to wake up before 06:00 am to get ready by 06:30 am for morning briefing.
- In the trek also keep drinking water. At least 4-5 liters of water should be consumed daily.
- No need to carry a handbag for the trek. Backpack is fine if one is not offloading their backpacks to the mules.
- Compulsorily carry a poncho/raincoat, water bottles, sunscreens, pen, paper, t-shirts etc.
- Always get branded products for trekking. Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi sells really good products for trekking and mountaineering.
- He introduced us to our trek leader Gajji who had recently completed Advanced Mountaineering Course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi. The garam khoon Gajji will lead us for the complete trek till we come back.
The briefing was over at 07:45 PM.
After his briefing, we had delicious dinner at a restaurant down the road. We were too much hungry and enjoyed the local simple food – Aaloo Sabzi, Rice, Chapatti, Dal and Soan Papdi. We kept the stuff not required to take along with us for trekking in our smaller bags to be deposited in the locker room. Even after reducing the items, I think the weight of my backpack was about twelve to fifteen kilograms.
Electricity was not available in the night till late. We had to use our torches to get our backpacks ready for the trek in the night itself as we had to leave early morning. I could not sleep well that night due to running nose and too much sweating in the blanket. This might be due to sudden change in temperature for which I was not much used to.
Whatever be the case with each one of us, I believe we were all excited about the next day.