• Solo Traveller

The Great Himalayan Expedition-1

6 degree Celsius, cold feet, favorite pair of shorts, fuzzy blanket, a cozy suite with a view to die for, river Beas running right behind the resort walls perfectly sums up my stay at the Royal Park Resorts, Manali. I was unaware that this would be my last comfortable peaceful sleep for the next 7 days.

I've always been a sucker for waking to breathtaking views. Bucketlist-check.

The suite had a bed with a window opening to the glorifying himalayas playing peek a boo with the lush green surroundings and clear skies. I could definitely live my life to views like that everyday! I woke up early to explore the resort premises and it was the right decision i made. I quickly soaked myself up in the sun and glistening mountain views and walked around to sit by the river. Never had i ever felt so happy and connected with the nature. This trek awakened the nature lover in me.

It was almost 9:30 AM and yes, it was breakfast time. Delicious Aloo parathas, makkhan and dahi..sorted life in the mountains! The buffet did have south indian spread too. If you ever hated anyone that bad in your life, you can take the idlies and throw it at them. Kill guaranteed lol! The batter doesn't ferment well for the idlies to be soft. So south indian food in the mountains is a big no!!

It was 11:00 AM and time for us to pack up our rucksacks to head toward the basecamp - Prini, Manali. My first tent stay camping experience was about to come true. The base camp was at a place called Mountain Expeditions. The place is filled with hikers from across the world and varied group of people. We found our tribe and I was put up with the kids gang.

Ah took em sometime to get along, but end of the day i had to spend 7 days..so yeah..better get along!

Lunch was served and yet again, aloo gobi with rotis and some kichdi! This was the staple food for 7 straight days!! You learn a lot of things when you go on a hike. The no shower time will be replaced by wash your own utensils post eating!

Noon time is usually to relax ( not sleep) and prep yourself up for the evening acclimatization which is the most important day(s) for a high altitude trek. We didnt have to carry our rucksacks during the trek; the mules would help us carry them till the next base camp. All you need is a back pack with a poncho and a wind cheater and a fully loaded water bottle.

16:00 PM the whistle blew off and everyone assembled out of their tents for a quick snack and briefing. Our trail leader briefed us about the acclimatization trail and the do's and dont's during the entire trail.

We started off by walking for about 10 mins happily and next came the 'never miss your leg day workout at gym'!! A huge fleet of steep steps to be climbed before we reached a flat surface more like an open stadium. The steps passed through villages and such beautifully crafted homes of wood. I got to meet local pahadis and such warm hearted people they were! The kids in mountains are so used to the steps that they play running and catching over there! Schools are situated atop the steps and climbing them is a daily routine in the mountains.

45 odd mins and finally we reached the open area where the next set of briefing was done and we were warned to keep ourselves warm at every point of time. The ears and the chest should always be warm and covered with layers of clothing. Once you are used to the surrounding temperature, you are all set to start off your journey!

There was an ancient temple and the open area is supposedly a holy place where fests take place. We got a few insights from the marker and then started to head back to the base camp. The backside of the base camp had a waterfall and a bridge to walk around where we spent the rest of the evening. Having made a few friends, we sat out of the tent star gazing in the night and wondered if snowfall would ever happen during our trail to the himalayas!

It was dinner time and a lit bonfire to keep us warm. We took our plates, warmed ourselves, danced around the fire and mos importantly washed the plates in freezing cold water before we called it a night!

5 people in a tent with sleeping bags and a blanket, the night was one of its kind with No mobile network, just beautiful surroundings, fresh water, pure air to breathe, i had started to love the mountains.

End of day 3.


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