Our rucksack consisted of just a pair of extra clothes (I was shocked when I was told that that was all the extra clothes one needs to carry for 6 days :O), the inner sheet to be put in sleeping bags which we would get in each of the camp sites, poncho, loads of sweaters and woolens, water bottle, torch, lunch box… Ah now I dont remember the list.The field director called this a Five star trek as all we have to carry are our rucksacks. We need not carry tents, sleeping bags, utensils etc. The experienced trekkers called it a trek of level way above medium and a little below difficult. I am taking their word for it.
So here we were all set to go to the higher camp. The 1st destination being Grahan which is at a height of 7700feet. The Field director had told us a fun fact of Grahan (which means eclipse) that the residents of Grahan have never seen an eclipse(grahan). With hopes of what we would see next we set off in a single file while SP23 and SP24 batches cheered us. There was no guide available and all we had to do was follow the single path on reaching the outskirts of Kasol village which passed through the rock climbing and rappelling venue. If there were any forks in the path, YHAI had made sure to mark the right path with a red arrow and in many cases a YHAI was also painted :). We set about getting to know our new friends and chit -chatting with them. YHAI always assigned some strong trekker of the group to come at last. The idea was that the weaker ones would not be left behind. Sometimes it was Kirti who had earlier done the Sarpass trek other times it was Shyam or Sudhakar or Manjunath. (If I have missed out mentioning anyone’s name, then I apologize for it 🙂 ).
We had a view of the Parvaty river many times. The taste of water was simply delicious!
All those who claim water is tasteless should take a gulp here 🙂
As this was a first big major trek for Nikhi and me, we were initially at the start of the group along with Amar. We were soon joined by Kakpit, Pranav, Chatur, Sandeep and others while Shyam who had skills of a Sherpa in trekking joined us and leisurely walked at our pace, helping us in the difficult parts and did some super cool photography in the meantime. I had just one rechargable battery for my camera (Dont make this mistake, carry some extra batteries.The cold drains the batteries super fast.) The earlier returned trekkers of the earlier batches had given us advice at the recharge-chit-chat joint in the base camp to wrap the batteries in a woolen sock and to put it in the sleeping bag at night. Since Shyam was doing such a superb job at photography, I decided to use my camera on the day we threaded Sar Pass(Cmon I had not experienced snow before) and put my camera away and wrapped the battery in a NEW sock :D. We had had a early breakfast at 6.30 that day and had set off with a packed lunch of parathas and aloo or chana gravy.
Peaceful looking goats sitting on the way
We stopped for lunch before the lunch point and even though I was not hungry I had half my lunch. We had been warned that we may not feel hungry due to the climatic changes but had to eat nonetheless(Listen to the advice of the field director). We set off again and at times were struck by rain. The rain lasted just 5 minutes or so that day and after a break would come again. This involved wearing and taking off the ponchos. Never wear a raincoat while trekking beause it is suffocating. When we reached the lunch point, some people had maggi and I had a tea. Its amazing that the people who served maggi and tea came there and stayed there in those conditions. As someone said that day, paying 40 rupees for a maggi was truely worth it for the conditions in which it was served. We would be meeting these people every day now. After the short break we set off again and finally came to the beautiful village of Grahan. I remember there was a Krishna temple there with intricately carved wooden work.
The Grahan village. Told you its beautiful! Didn’t I ?
As we passed through the village we met many some locals as our camp site was on the other end of the village. They were nice, friendly people who gave us directions. I was surprised to see a tata sky dish here and there :D. As we moved through the narrow way we met a lady whom we asked how far it was. She said 10 minutes and I asked her “Aapke liye ya hamare liye?” She gave me a very sweet smile and said “Bas 10 minute” :). After that whenever we met the locals and asked how far it was, I always asked whether it was with respect to them or us :D, after all the distance we covered in 5 minutes they covered in a minute or 2. As we passed through the village I realised that this was the only way to reach it(on foot). There were no roads for transportation by vehicles. I wondered why do people live here and almost instantly (probably) I realised the reason- they are happy here 🙂 free from the hustle of the city. And they get snowfall in winter(Last year the snowfall there was 4 feet which I learnt next day). I have always wished since I was a kid that it would snow in my hometown. Alas that wont happen ever!
Finally we could see our campsite with the tents waiting for us!
Finally after climbing down, crossing the river and climbing up we reached the campsite! Phew!!! Then I think it rained again heavily. After the rains stopped we came out to see the beautiful(told you, you would be hearing this word a lot 🙂 ) climate. It was soooooo good, so refreshing, so fresh, so nice and again so beautiful :). This was the last campsite where we had concrete toilets. If you ask me what did we do for nature’s calls from next day on, the answer is nature’s calls have to be answered in nature :P.
I remember having tea and some snacks on arriving there and soon by 7.30 or so it was dinner time. Vikas and some others had gone to the village after tea to recharge their mobiles and camera batteries for a charge (I missed out coz I reached late 🙁 ) and he told us later that the people are really nice :). At dinner time we sat on a rock and had food in torch light. Now I got to know Naveen and Keerthi better. Both of them were from Bangalore too and infact Naveen worked in the same MNC as me. Before dinner, I wanted to put my remaining lunch to the mules. I had forgotten that, someone had eaten it and only a bit was left. So when I opened my box to put it away, everyone saw the quantity and cracked one too many jokes on it. This was where Nikhi told her famous curd rice story 😀 and got nicknamed as Curd Rice 😀 😀 while I put all of them on my hit list and threatened to push them off the highest point on SarPass. The list included everyone : Shyam, Pranav, Keerthi, Naveen, Sandeep, Kalpit, Sumit, Vikas, Jai, Nirav (Hope I havent missed anyone 😉 ).
Our Camp site with Grahan village in the background.
We probably had bournvita after that. Throughout the trek we were given a lot of food to eat. I was actually tired of eating :S. There was 1 small pipe that gave water from the river and we used it for cleaning the dabbas, shivering throughout while using the chilled water. It was time to snuggle in the sleep bags each of us had got earlier. Nikhi hated the bags but I liked them coz they were comfortable though it restrains movement. By now I had become an expert in securing the tent door flap tightly and it became my job for doing it to the girls’ tent. And off we went to sleep thinking about the destination next day – Padri 🙂
P.S: All photos in this post were stolen from the photos clicked by Shyam :)P.
P.S: I didnt realise that writing about trek to Grahan would become such a long one, I promise to keep the next one short :S
Thats all for now Guys ! 🙂
Scribbled by: Swati Saundatti
View Swati’s blog “A Star Scribbles” here