All of us piled into a local jeep and were dropped at a place called Solang valley. This place was the starting point of our trek and our campsite for that night. We had a team of locals headed by a guide accompanying us.They took care of setting up our tents and also keeping our tummies full.
Since we were exposed to a sudden drop in temperature overnight – from Delhi to Manali, it was very important to acclimatize our body to the local temperature. This was a daily routine during our trek as we began to gain altitude gradually. By the time the tents were put up, we had gobbled up steaming rice and dhal. As it was late afternoon, we decided to just relax and explore Solang Valley.
The Himalayan mountains surrounded this valley and the snow-covered peaks towered in the distance. Beas River was gushing nearby – it was a gentle stream here with sparkling white water and it was pouring over mighty boulders of rock. I gingerly put one foot in the water and took it back at once – it was ice-cold ! Soon all of us were splashing the water on each other and squealing gleefully! It was great fun. We all lazed around and watched the sunset before heading back to camp.
Experiencing the Himalayan Climate
The warm evening suddenly changed to a chilly, cold one. I felt the chill on my face and shivered. It was biting cold. I covered myself up in layers of warm clothing, pulled on gloves and cap – now I felt a little warm! Darkness soon set in and the place was all quite.
We had a separate tent for dining and since it was not yet supper time, we were all engaged in a game of cards. Soon, a wonderful aroma came from the kitchen tent and that was the end of our game! Hot Rotis and Kuruma – What a combination to feast upon in a cold place! We gulped down the delicious food amidst a lively chatter.
Solang valley was the only place in our trekking itinerary that had a mobile network tower. I called up my father and fiance ( I was engaged during this trek), rattled on about everything – from the journey to the food.That was the last conversation for we would be in total isolation, from the rest of the world, in the next seven days.
First night on Himalayan Soil
It was only 8 P.M and too early to go to bed. So we lit up a campfire and huddled around it. We played games that involved physical activity as to keep ourselves warm. In spite of the warmth from the fire and thick jeans, I was shivering . It was the same for everybody else on the team. We were longing to snuggle into our sleeping bags. Four of us had to share our tent and it was fun setting our bags and zipping ourselves into it. It was terribly warm inside the sleeping bag!
I was actually realizing my childhood dream ; I lay awake for a while listening to the eerie silence outside, taking it all in and then dozed off to sleep.
The real trek starts now. Read about it in my next post!