So here I was all set for the trek.. Initially a friend was supposed to join me on Har ki Dun and at the last moment he decided not to join in. I took this as a calling, truly.
I totally believe this, one has to be destined to explore the mountains. We think the choice is ours but honestly it’s the mountains that make that choice.
After the trek I would start my second leg of the journey with a dear friend and I was totally excited about the entire trip, totally 18 days of it!
As I reached Dehradun station early morning, I pinged Karthik, one of the trekkers if he has arrived with his friend. He was in the same train.
As part of a whatsapp group created for the trek by the team, I was really apprehensive in introducing myself while others were chatting with each other a bit. I preferred meeting them in person. And come to think of it, I would be the only woman coming in solo for this trek while the others had their friends.
Slowly I made my way towards the meeting point and I saw a group of backpackers/trekkers, that feeling is something else always when we meet someone new yet has a commonality to it, right? Its all new, curiosity, being formal and all 🙂
And I remember my first impression, I saw a tall guy coming forward introducing himself and two more ladies. It was Arun, Bindu and Shweta, they were from Bangalore and they got a vehicle fitting them all together. Then came Karthik and his friend Chetan, 22 year olds, from Bangalore again, their first Himalayan trek with Har ki Dun.
I saw a lanky tall guy with a pretty gal. This was Ashish from Mangalore and Vidya from Bangalore, friends who decided to do this trek together. For Ashish he had already done a trek in Himachal Pradesh 2 years ago but he was disappointed as there was no snow that time and he wanted to experience it, well he was hoping to this time.
I remember two more young guys from Bombay getting in and at that time I couldn’t recollect their names but during the trek I would get to know them better. This was Saish and Tejas.
More were to follow from different directions and locations. So here we were, a motley crew of people from different parts of the country united together for this trek. There was this sense of anticipation as always.
As we got in the tempo and started our journey, I sat on my own. At that time, I truly wanted some solitude, some time for myself. I was stressed out, tired and craving for silence. It was great to be in a group but I also wanted time for myself. I was looking forward to trekking solo, at my own time.
Then Ashish started playing some cool songs and I perked up followed by Vidya playing Raghu Dixit songs, I remember immediately striking up a conversation with them and Vidya asked You know Kannada (I don’t!)? and there you go all the Kannadigas in the tempo started chatting up 🙂
It was a fun mellow journey as we traversed the 9 hour ride crossing through villages and mountains as the beautiful Yamuna river traveled with us. This was the same route to Yamunotri until the detour to our base camp.
We stopped at a beautiful point where the river was flowing and the driver gave us a good half an hour break. While the rest of the group went down towards the stream, I met a woman Namrata, she was doing the Kedarkantha trek with Himalayan trekkers. They were a tiny group of 10 people and she was the only gal. She was from Dehradun and living in Bombay, promptly we exchanged our numbers and said goodbye.
This is the beauty of traveling I have realized. Contacts just happen, you bond over something and you open up your mind and heart to new possibilities which you don’t during your mundane routine of life back in the city.
Finally we had reached the base camp Sankri. Devang my previous trek lead from Deorital Chandrashila trek which I did in 2017 mentioned that most probably he would be the one guiding us so I was super excited to meet him again!
The door opened and it was not him.. Instead I saw someone else greeting us with a big smile saying Welcome! This was Tanmay. I was disappointed, like where is Devang?? Oh well, it was meant to be wasn’t it? Let’s see what he has to offer now.
It was a beautiful hostel and the entire Indiahikes team was staying there. I had a chance to speak briefly with Bindu who was a Yoga teacher. While the rest explored the village I preferred to sit alone and watch the mountains and had a chance to talk to one of the supervisors of Indiahikes.
And then came a big family from Pune. I saw two kids with their family. I would get to know an amazing lady Archana and her son Omkar along with their friends Hitesh, his wife Kadambari and Gaurav later.
On the whole, the energy of the group was quiet, gentle and very well behaved unlike the Roopkund team I encountered last year! I remember as we stood in line to eat, Tanmay shouted like why are you guys in a line? This is not a school ya! I immediately liked the guy!
We were given an orientation of what the trek and trail would be as tomorrow would be the D day. There would be a 1 hour back breaking ride to Taluka and from there our trek would start. I remember when he asked as to who all would like to sit on top of the jeep tomorrow and 20 hands rose up! This was going to be an interesting group!
Tanmay had a sense of humor, he made light of everything he said, adding his own jokes. I remember myself and Bindu laughing out loud, trying hard to stop our continuous giggles whenever he added his dose of humor during the orientation. He was a funny guy, sometimes unintentionally 🙂
It was a beautiful evening and we retired to our dorms.
There was a 13 km trek awaiting us next morning to Puani Garaat our first campsite..