Continued from Part 1
The acclimatisation walk not only acclimatised us with the weather and terrain, but also with our entire group. It wasn’t a hard walk, but it wasn’t easy for me. What else could I even expect, this being the first serious trek of my life! I was already worried, and this walk didn’t do much for my confidence. But it was boosted a little after having lychee juice at the top of the (relatively) small hill we climbed. The juice, given to the whole group, was not very delicious but it was encouraging and energising. It was also accompanied by the mandatory introduction of everyone in the group. It was a mix of very different people. Some were older, some younger, some about my age, from different parts of the country, speaking different languages. Every one had a different purpose for the trek. Some were hardened trekkers, some complete rookies like me. Some had come with families, some with friends, and the rest on their own. It was basically a mixed group of good, enthusiastic people. And it certainly felt great to be there with all of them. The descent did not feel any difficult at all. During our way back, we also made another stop at a waterfall. It was a beautiful waterfall. and an even more beautiful was the place. It was a pretty high waterfall, about 20-30 feet high. The sheet of water coming down the stony cliff was glistening in the sun peeking through the pale green trees. The water collected at its base was clear and cool. It was very refreshing to dip the weary hands and feet in it. The rocks scattered around the base of the waterfall made excellent spots for resting and just as excellent spots for posing at the camera! The waterfall was tremendous fun, and it only extended the bonding experience. The entire hike was a great experience and a very good start to the next few days to come. It felt like we started on the acclimatisation walk as people in the CP8 group, but returned as the CP8 group.
The acclimatisation walk lasted only a few hours, and we were back at the camp by lunch time. After a warm and sumptuous meal, we headed back to our tents for a little rest before we were called in for the orientation talk with the base camp leader. For me, this talk was part encouraging and part daunting. After having listened to all the dos and don’t s, the major points to heed during the trek, and the past experiences of the previous trekkers, I was surely overwhelmed. We were acutely made aware of the entire route that we would be taking during the trek, and the highlights of each route and camp we would be staying at. It was then that it started to sink into me that I was actually going to commence on a Himalayan Trek. after about an hour long orientation talk, we were again free to our own devices. There were a few activities to do in the camp itself, like badminton, football, charging your phones / cameras, having hot teas or coffees and maggi, having hot / cold baths, etc. One could thus choose from these varied activities to occupy themselves with until the dinner was announced. I chose badminton, charging my phone and tea and maggi. It was quite rewarding, all of it. It kept the fast creeping cold at bay for a while, but it finally caught up. There is just no escaping the cold there.
The dinner was slightly later than the day before. We found out why soon enough. The CP1 batch, the first successful trek of YHAI Chanderkhani Pass 2015, had returned to the base camp. A celebration was planned on their account, and the celebration included a very big gala dinner indeed! There was pasta, rice, noodles, roti sabji, desserts, there was a lot of food! And everyone at the camp dug in happily into the feast. The dinner lasted quite a while, considering the amount and variety of food. After dinner came the camp fire without the fire, but I was expecting it so it wasn’t any shock. The camp fire was just as fun and warming as the last night’s gathering. Having dispersed we were served hot bournvita milk to warm us up even more. It was absolutely necessary. I thought I would freeze up any second now. The interiors of the tent were slightly warmer than the outside, but not warm enough. I thought I would have gotten used to the cold a little bit by now, but I couldn’t be more wrong. After putting on layers of clothing, I slipped into the warm blankets, ready for sleep to overtake my thoughts and cold body. After a little discussion of the day’s events and the events of the days to come, we all fell asleep.
The whistle was no different today. It rung at 5.30 am, by which time I was supposed to fall in line for the warm up exercises. But, not surprisingly, I wasn’t. But I was still slightly earlier than the day before, some achievement I suppose. The jog and exercises were the same as before, followed by the cleaning session as well as the seeing-off session. That contributed a lot in warming me up for the day ahead. After a quick breakfast, we were all back in line for the activities planned for our third day at camp. These included rappelling and rock-climbing. Both strenuous activities.