Thursday, August 11, 2005

Kaliaghat to Dhakwani

I wasn’t able to sleep the whole of the night because of the cold and a throbbing pain in my legs. However, when I got out of the tent in the morning, it all changed. This was one of the most beautiful mornings that I had ever seen.

The village down was all covered in mist. There was mist all around and we couldn’t see the sun, what we could see was a yellow speck.
We started for our destination, Dhakwani that was at the foot of the Kuari pass. Arvind told us that our campsite Dhakwani itself is above the tree line at 3600 mts. So we understood that it was another tough day for us.

After climbing for about two hours we reached a wonderful meadow called Sartoli from where we could see the Kuari Pass.

From Sartoli we began descending down again. This was another difficult trail we took. Actually there wasn’t any trail at all. The path was totally washed away by rains. We were walking on loose stones and soil with a huge towering cliff on one side and a deep gorge on the other. We moved down till one beautiful spot where there was a small creek formed by a waterfall. Arvind told us that this was black bear and leopard country but the only wildlife that we saw was a pair of ravens and a flock of wild pigeons.

We started to go uphill at a steep incline from the creek. After what seemed as a long long walk, we reached our campsite at Dhakwani. There were some “Gaddi’s” who too had camped at some distance. It was 4 in the afternoon, but the place was extremely cold. Throught our walk today, Sandeep kept on calling me “Pahari Bakri” or “mountain goat”. He tells me now that it was super complement however till today I am not quite sure.
From our camp, Kuari Pass was clearly visible. Although after a while it got totally covered under a dense mist.

I really wanted to get a good night’s sleep but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep in that cold. During the night, our mules came very close to our tent while we were sleeping. They tore the ropes where the tent was pitched. Now when we look at the incidence, it feels very comic, although at that time both Sandeep and I were very scared. We kept on shouting for the mulesmen from inside the tent. What if these heavy animals fall on us ???
Tomorrow we climb up to the pass and beyond, with such dreams, I tried to go to sleep again.


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