Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day Two, Zanskar Trek: Wanla to Hanupatha

Aniruddha Das (Ani) in his trekking gear

We are on the road by 8.30 am and the tar road takes us through the Wanla village and a narrow highway. We see uniform clad students waiting for their school bus and soon there’s nobody else around. For the next two and half hours we set a brisk pace until we reach a village and Rajesh calls for a break. He’s worried for our cook, Ganesh, who has caught a fever and wants the mules to go ahead. We plonk on chairs of a roadside chai shop.

It takes an hour for the group to catch up with us. Meanwhile a team of two Indians and their guide stops by the chai shop, and through cheerful conversation we are to know the group is on the last leg of their trek from Manali. They were on the same route as us but have come from the opposite direction. However, they had been ten-member group before eight of them decided enough was enough and took off after the first leg of the trek. Only the cheerful pair stayed on to finish the trek. I am envious of their confident and happy faces. Can’t wait to sport the same look.

Naveen Kumar on our way to Hanupatha

It takes us another four hours to reach our camp through dusty roads, under a hot, hot sun. In six hours we have walked 25 kms, and the sight of our camp is welcome. A local family takes care of the camp and our cameras capture their imagination. We are only too happy to take their pictures.

At the Hanupatha campsite

Naveen is exhausted and we all sense what lies ahead. Today is really a child’s play in comparison. Well, I don’t want to think about it. Set up tent, some delicious chai and French fries from the kitchen tent. Soon it’s time for dinner and the last of the mutton is served. Alas but yum!

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