We started our trip on the 11th of July and unlike last time, this time everyone decided to meet up at Manali itslef, on or before the 13th morning.
Our adventure started right from Bangalore. On reaching the airport, we found that our flight was delayed by about an hour. The problem was we had to catch a bus from Delhi for Manali at 6PM and on top of that, we were carrying the tickets for Dan and Chris as well. I called the HPTDC office at Delhi from Bangalore Airport and requested them to allow Chris and Dan to board the bus. The guy at HPTDC assured me that he would give them their seats. After sometime, I heard the announcement that our flight had got further delayed that nullified what little chance we had to catch the bus. Finally our flight took off at 3.45PM after a delay of about three hours. By the time we reached Delhi, our bus was gone. But the helpful people at HPTDC gave us seats on the next bus. We hoped to catch our original bus at Karnal where we would stop for dinner.
I was sleeping when our bus reached Karnal and the first thing Sandeep did, was looked around for Dan and Chris. Sandeep recognized the pair from the photographs we had shared during our email exchanges. It was really nice meeting them. We shifted our luggage to their bus and ordered some food for dinner. As soon as we started to have our dinner, the bus driver started honking. We had no option to leave the food and board the bus.
I was feeling extremely tired as since morning till about now we had been running against time. Our bus was pretty comfortable, however a 16 hour journey on the mountain roads can really tire you. I wondered how, Harsh, Moiz and JP would manage in normal non-deluxe bus. Dan too was feeling very uneasy and this was natural for it was his first time for so long in the bus.
The journey was otherwise quite event less. We reached Manali at 9.30AM and checked into a small hotel called Taj Palace, which was already booked by Kaushal. We left our luggage at hotel went to have some breakfast. We strolled around for sometime and then decided to come back to the hotel. On our way, we met Rinku who had been looking for us. Rinku was again going to be our guide (along with Bhagwandas). Kaushal also joined us after sometime at the hotel. He had brought Koflaches (snow boots) with him for us to try out. When I tried them on , it felt like my legs were cast into a plaster and I couldn't walk properly. Kaushal and Rinku assured us that as we start using them we would feel comfortable. Rinku told that his wife Sushma would also join us and I was a little happy on hearing this. I would have some female company on the trek.
As we discussed about the training plan, the trek and the climb, I realized that the terrain, the training and the climb were not going to be easy. Like Kalindi, the main thing to tackle here was the altitude.
The rest of the afternoon was spent just chatting about different treks. It was good to be in the mountains again. It was around 4 PM when Moiz arrived. We were now waiting for JP and Harsh.
In the evening we took a small walk till the Hidimba and Ghatotkach Temples. I still remember asking Dan and Chris to pronounce these temples' names; it was tong twister for them and fun for us. The later part of the evening spent in finding a good place for having food. We again went to bus stop at around 11 PM to welcome JP. The food lover JP, ordered some exotic Chinese food at small hotel in Manali and that too at 11.30 PM in the night and he was not disappointed.
After some time we called it a day and went to sleep.
Harsh was the only member left and everybody was waiting for him. He joined us the next day at around 6:30 AM and that finally completed our whole group.