Ok, let’s take some time to relive those moments once again. It all started with a plan, a plan to conquer the height, win over the difficulty.
A trip to Paanch Pokhari
The days were counted watching google maps and making plans after plans. 1st May was the day noted down to embark the journey and this date caused us for our first let backs. No public transport was available on this day named as Labor Day (Majdur Diwas). Hence a bold decision was made to move with Bikes…
Don’t get confused, the terrain wasn’t that easy for bikes to go all the way through. Bikes were planned to take us Melamchi or few further. All bags were packed. All plans were done now it was time to give it all. Bags and bikes were all ready and we started to measure those roads from Office Lokanthali to Melamchi or wherever we are destined to reach with the bike. The count was of 9 men with 5 bikes. We were all thrilled and expecting a good jaunt together as we were all equipped with needed stuff.
The ride was planned to go through a short-cut moving along Sakhu-Lapsifedi-Melamchi. The ride was good till a long slope with graveled road welcomed us and the dust blown were trying to render us with a new white layer no matter what color of dress are you on with. Even the mask, hanker-chief tied on the face weren’t good enough to prevent from feeling the dust within our teeth gaps. Those road presented reasons to stop and rest and smoke whenever possible. Hence, we were enjoying it too. Finally a pitch road when was within the glimpse, the slope went steeper and with bigger stones laid on to follow to impede the excursion. The slow ride was forced upon us till the end of the slope. The later reached pitch road was more like running through the clouds compared with the trial left behind. And then we speeded reaching Melamchi at around 12:30 noon.
Dinner was waiting for us. We sat down and ordered food for 9 individuals. When inquired about the public bus we were informed sadly about the departure of the last bus 15mins earlier. Once again we were hindered in our plan. But putting everything aside we focused on our food. During the food span, heavy raining was cast upon us along with hails. The difficulty level now went to pro. We now have to travel further with our bikes and the trail more sticky and slickly. The hungry stomach was pleased with the food but the follow-up journey was sure to be tough. We waited for hail to stop and as suggested from the locals without assurance the trails won’t be impossible to adjourn we carried our bag back and started those bikes engine once again. The locals were too surprised, I guess, to see 5 bikes with boys carrying huge trekking bags and choosing bikes for the journey. Those stares went with us turning their head along when the bikes pass by.
The muddy road got all ditched up and wet with the heavy rain. The control wasn’t easy taking into account the physics of no friction on those roads. The bikes won’t agree to move on a straight path no matter how hard you try. The level we rode the bikes on that arduous was of level acme. Then suddenly the sky took some more effort to hinder the excursion. The sky got darker and threatened more with a thunderous shout which inevitably resulted in heavy raining. A tall tree was there rested upon us providing shelter from few drops but the rain was soaking us up. Bags were all stacked together and covered with a big polythene minimizing the potential wetness but was no good to stop that heavy rain to claim its fatality. A drenched body now needed a good smoke rest.
A few drops after a long wait then were accepted and we again started to move along. But the sky was making other plans for us. The rain got heavy once again. While we were trying to force our way on the wet road with wet body, a small truck carrying bricks asked to help us by carrying our bags to “Yarsa”. At first, we hesitated but finally handed them the bags and planned to follow them. Bikash was ordered to follow till to its end which meant we rest wouldn’t have to hurry behind them. Every stop now would ask for more smokes and we didn’t deny them. The view now got prettier as we moved further and further far. I was on Rajoj’s bike enjoying the joy of sitting behind not driving one. Suddenly a bam sound claimed our attention and we found that the damper of his bike was broken trying to ride across a huge pit. The difficulty now turned to extreme. Concluding the bike now can’t move further we decided to rest the bikes in the local houses and move along on foot to the “Yarsa”. It was around 4:30 on the clock when we got our self-ready for pre hikes. Long breathe and short rest now became frequent as the acclivity welcomed us.
A tea-biscuit break was warming and then we decided to move on. We walked in a hurry reaching Yarsa at around 8:30 pm, where local chicken was cooked and was waiting for us. Once reaching we went straight to eat the good meal then we chatted that night till 1 pm and decided to end the day putting some rest to the eyes.
The morning started well and as always Arpan started to put back his all the Pasal’s item back to his bag. He is quite fond of taking out all his bag item when has to search one specific content. We could see the snowy Himalayas challenging and were eager to gain distance as fast as possible. We started the challenging hike at around 7. The walk started and everyone was moving eagerly as the Himalaya teased us more and more as we stared at it.
It was around 8:30 am when we reached “Deurali”. The only hotel we may find ahead for lunch hence we decided though not being much hungry to have lunch and we waited for the food. We had limited choice to choose from let along any menu to select. Sukuti for non-veg and Alu-tarkali for veg (me) was presented. Being hungry due to limited choice wasn’t the option hence we accepted it with grace.
No time to rest so we moved along as quickly as we washed our hands. We were presented with a “bhaddu” in case we need to boil water to drink by the lady with humbleness from her side and we appreciated it without question from our side promising it to return on our way back. Gaurab being immensely generous accepted to carry it for now and I tied it with his back pack.
The pack of 9members moved along pulling and pushing their body weight against the steep path, rested whenever needed. There were times when you feel the steepness ends and you may find a path a bit easier than this but for the despair a steeper path lied ahead challenging more and more. The drizzle went along with us hence the one time use, Rs.100 raincoat was covered all along the path for much of the time.
The game of hunger blame, he is tired blame was starting to be played. One would ask indirectly to rest by claiming he is hungry or saying the next one is tired enough to walk more. Hence let’s take rest for few moment.
It was around 12:30 when we saw few locals coming down the slopes and we were much keen to ask how much more with a hope that it won’t be much far than anticipated. One of the locals asked us ahead,
“कहाँ जान लाग्नु भो ?”
“पाँच पोखरी | ”
“पाँच पोखरी त ठिक छ, तर कता ?”
“पाँच पोखरी |”
“आज कता बस्ने हो त ?”
We then realized he knew we won’t reach Paanchpokhari today, hence his question, “कहाँ जान लाग्नु भो ?” was the question implying, Where were we plan
ning to stay today?
We started to feel the tiredness more than before, realized the pain won’t end near soon.
Then we asked, where can we reach today keeping in mind of our pace?
He then replied after calculating our pace in his mind, “सायद नासिम्फेदी, तर त्यो नि गाह्रो छ |”
We then took it as a challenge to reach at least Nasimphedi today. And we started to climb up again.
Climb after climb would ask for more climb and now we were getting mentally tired too. Meanwhile at around 1pm we were put in a huge dilemma. A river was on our way and the path was lost reaching the river with no sign showing this way or that way. The decision was to be made based on our intellectuality. 5 of us decided to cross the river and go right from there while 4 of us weren’t agreeing on this but nearly after 30mins of discussion we half mindedly agreed to go right crossing the river through a small wooden man made bridge.
Whenever tired Bikash, Arpan and few others were in the mindset to give up, they argued this mayn’t be the right path. We are moving wrong way we must have gone through that way. But you live with the choice you make. The decision was made hence we again settled to move along and further pushing ourselves keeping the head high we climbed further up. Now the limited water supply was being a threat. We reached to a small drain where we quenched our thirst and filled all our water bottles.
Drinking water as a leverage was not an option. Few drops to wet the mouth was allowed but not further than that. Whenever a bottle cap was opened, Ishan Dai would shout no matter how far he is,” Only to wet the mouth not to drink more”. 9 members when only drank for that purpose too would consume plenty of water. The law of economics, “demand gets increased with increase in number of consumers” was acting upon us. Few of us needed further push and moralization while rest just got few more time to rest. Only the ting-ting bells hanged on the cattle grazing were heard when Bikash cracked a good joke,” Only we 9 are here in the whole area of 3 village development committee.” Laughter surrounded though the pain and tiredness wasn’t being any good on that comedic moments. These are the moments you remember and realize being grateful. I was there to hear it in that situation.
It was around 4pm when we reached a shelter which seemed to be ranked as a 3 star hotel comparing to other rugged ones. Peeping through the small hole made our heart say ‘aaawww’. The wooden ramp would perfectly fit as a bed and the roof was of high quality assuring the best possible shelter for night weather mayhem. But the time and distance were against our will, we need to walk further because we had plenty of time left to walk on that day and resting there would imply tomorrow a long walk which would minimize our possibility of returning back to Yarsa on a single day. Saying bye was hard but we moved along further hoping similar shelter high above at Nasimphedi.
The rain now was chasing us, we had to walk quick and with those tiring legs not willing to move further more glimpses of the rain chasing us worked as a push factor.
It was around 6:30pm and surprisingly, the light fades quickly once the sun dives behind a high hill and the darkness wraps you in no time. The wind now was also gaining speed whistling loud and hitting the leaves hard and drumming them un-rthymically. We finally reached Nasimphedi but the view wasn’t quite assuring. The few shelters available were with destructed roofs and few good stones made shelters were locked to despair all our hopes.
Everyone were scattered to inquire those shelters and a far one with the last hope was under Gaurab’s belt. We sat on a rock shaking being hit by the wind with a hope and praying for the shelter to be good enough to call end on today’s effort. And view of his floating hands calling us to move toward the shelter was more satisfying than one of us could have imagined.
We entered inside and found out the night won’t be too relaxing even on this but at least we had a roof and walls all around to protect whatever the night brings. Wet clothes were taken off as quickly as possible but the speed wasn’t that good because the frozen fingers were impeding our physical processes.
Few along me, went out with torches in search of firewood while others would make the arrangements inside. Dry woods were hard to find out but luckily we got few. Even the warm clothes couldn’t stop the shiver so all decided to get inside the sleeping bag for a while before igniting the fire. Hunger got lost for few moments when the legs for the first time from the start of the day were stretched. 1 hour of rest than only few words got out from anyone’s mouth and the first word was of hunger. We had noodles and chuira carried with us for this great evening. Everyone then sat in a circle and had a delightful dinner without any words not to forget the limited water supply to push it down the throat.
Gaurab proved to be most active one among us. He got up to light the fire but no one was willing to move away from sleeping bag and no one was there claiming the fire warmth hence a short fire span.
Suddenly Bikash started breathing loudly as if he is having any trouble with his breathe. Then, Garlic was the only best suited choice as his remedy. We few too chewed them in fear of being caught with what Bikash had. Everyone let’s say slept, not well slept, only Bikash couldn’t.
A sudden rush of tapping sound on the roof got us out of the sleep. It was the hailstorm waking us up. The hail was not only hitting the ground outside few or more than few were striking us inside the shelter. Roofs were not so perfectly designed I guess. Everyone started to chatter, now what? Gopi suddenly broke his deep intimate relation with his sleep and stood up helding the bigger plastic to prevent the hail from coming in, but was of no good. Being warm was a problem in earlier circumstances and now we were threatened of being drenched up again. What if the sleeping bag goes all wet, the trekking bag gets all soaked up. Few of us including me started chanting Lord Bhole’s name loudly trying to suppress the striking sound of the hail storm. “Oh lord Shiva, if you have wished for a hailstorm than let it be but please make it ephemeral.”
The prays were listened within 15 minutes and we finally started to sweep out the un-melted hails from our so-called bed. The night then passed with no further surprises.
Clock ticked 6 am and everyone was awake with toilet paper in their hand and searching for a perfect location to unload the residues from past night. It was one of the proudest poop ever taken with the Himalayas being bathed in the morning sun. We all decided to leave the trekking bags in the shelter as we all were so assured of the bag being secured as no one could even imagine to walk this terrain and think of stealing. An assumption of around only 2hours climb to reach Paach Pokhari was made and all were eager to be there as soon as possible.
Those images seen from google were promising us those moments that would take all our restless pain and inspiring to push further. But the walk went worst from bad. Now the acclivity was so steep with narrow path to be followed. We felt like we are literally climbing the mountain. Not more than 10 steps was being possible before resting. Arpan was suggested from Ishan dai whenever you feel like you need to rest try to push harder to rest ahead of us walking 5-6 steps ahead. The water bottled was now all drank but we had hails and snow we could chew to wet the dry throats. After all the destination was at our reach.