Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back to Nerak

The night was not very cold (actually we were praying for low temp) which was bad news for us because Chadar would not have frozen. It snowed heavily throughout night. The campsite had turned a picture postcard snow white, but this is not something we wanted. I heard Lobsang ji talking to someone at 5AM in the morning and got the news that the water level had increased since yesterday. We had no hope other than using the fishing boots.

There was one more group from Hungary which was doing some restoration work in Zangla, which was stuck there with us.

We got up in the morning and clicked some photos, had breakfast. We were not in a hurry today because there was no plan for today. After sometime Tony’s group arrived with his fishing boots. When his group’s first porter crossed the water with the boots, we got a green signal to pack our sleeping bags and tents from Lobsang ji. It was a sigh of relief but the major hurdle was yet to crossed. We got ready and almost waited for 2 hours for our turn. With so many people at this point, it looked like a village mela. One of porters whom we called Filter, told us that he had broken one big slab of ice, which allowed the water from this level to flow down.

By the time all of us reached the point where we needed to cross the water, Lobsang ji had already crossed this section thrice and that too without the fishing boots. Finally my turn came to cross the water.

The boots came till my waist. The water was indeed waist deep for me. If we had to cross it without the boots, it would have been quite challenging. There was a small leak in one of my boots so my socks got wet but otherwise I crossed safely.

I was waiting for Sandeep and other members. In each trip 3 members crossed and it used to take almost 20 mins for Lobsang ji to take all the pair of boots to other end and for the next lot to come. We used our emergency pack of dry fruits here. When all the members crossed safely, it was a moment of joy and relief for all of us.

The section, which was all-intact while going, was in a bad condition while coming back, because “Chadar changes in every hour”.

In this whole episode of crossing Lobsang ji was the real hero. He crossed a total nine times without using the fishing boots and he was still smiling. After crossing every one thanked him.

The snowing had started to get very heavy now, so we decided to make a move. It was very slippery today because of the powder snow we were not able to judge the ice, which was beneath the snow. Sandeep, Satya, Panto and I were walking together initially and all of us had really bad falls but no major harm done. After sometime we reached the point where we had lunch while going.

We reached the Nerak at 4.30 in the evening. It was good to see the campsite and everybody was happy. However there was a big mela at the campsite. A lot of groups were coming from the other side and we didn’t get rooms so we decided to camp. There goes my dream of a warm room with bukhari. There were lots of group stuck here because they also had got the news that the Chadar was broken ahead beyond.

To celebrate our crossing, for tonight’s dinner Imarn, Snigdha and Pantho prepared some delicious kheer.
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