The day dawned bright and promising after the cold welcome the previous evening. I was up early and took the early bird advantage with use of the single bathroom shared by 4 of us roommates. It was to be the final bath for the next 3-4 days. We set off at approx. 9:00 a.m and after a stopover for 15 mins or so for shopping, we were dropped off a the point that we were to start the trek from. This starting point was about 15 – 20 kms from the hotel we were put up at. Those of us who had paid for the ponies, gave our luggage away to them and we started off, after a few pics for a before/ after shot later. It was sunny and the going was energetic to begin with. There was work in progress for a road being built under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Soon, though, we were taken off the road and on to a narrower pathway with stone stairs. Our trek leader and the tour guide ensured that we were walking in single file as much as we could.
The going was slow for some of the group. The trek leader had instilled in us the need to stick together. I figured that I was going to be part of the middle of the pack in this group. There were a few that were fitter than I was. I decided to fall back and accompany those bringing up the rear end. We walked on and on, upwards under the sun, taking in the beauty of the surroundings with frequent stoppages for pictures and photos. It was getting hot under the jacket as we were exerting ourselves during the climb up. We reached a village finally where we had a chance to rest and eat some of the snacks that we were provided before we started. Biscuits, a chocolate or two, some energy bars that I had carried and a refill of the water bottles from the fresh water running pipes in the village later, it was time to move on. We continued uphill, passing a few fields and the odd villager. After another couple of kilometres, we crossed a 2nd village and were promised that our first camp for the trek was not too far away.
While a majority of the group moved on ahead and reached the campsite, I chose to stay back and accompany one of the trekkers who had fallen way behind. We finally reached the campsite to see that many of the tents were already set up by the other trekkers. Now, came the part of selecting a tent to sleep in for the night. One of the guys from the cab and I decided to be roommates and we chose a spot a little away from the rest of the gang, to set up our tent. The land seemed to be quite flat under the tent and we were quite happy with our first little accomplishment. It was not too bad for a first day of trekking. The sun was out, we had a good lunch in the lunch tent and while it was cold, it was not uncomfortable. It was 3 p.m. or thereabouts.
At about 5:00 p.m., we were off again, this time without even the water bottles. We were told to walk higher and sleep lower, as this would help with the acclimatization. Our pulses were checked and the entire group was found to be quite stable. We walked uphill for about 15 minutes and the tour guide and the trek leader helped the group bond together a little bit with some fun and games. A return to the base camp, some tea and dinner at 8:00 p.m. later, it was time for some rest in the tents. The sleeping bags were handed out to us and while I snuggled into mine, I realized that my head would always stick out. That night was not the best – we were on some kind of a protrusion from the floor, avoiding which, was a challenge. Tossing and turning through the night brought me to the end of Day 2.