Day 4: Jiskun (7,700 ft) to Udaknal (10,100 ft); Approximately 5 hoursThe day we walked and walked and walked !!!This is probably one of the most difficult days on the trek. The amount of gradual incline and sudden declines along with the distance to walk makes it one of the tiring days during the trek.However the day also gives some wonderful views- The streams, the forests , picturesque locations for clicks, rocky patches,etc
After a brief hike and few climb-up we had reached Jiskun. It was to be a homestay again and I instantly fell in love with it. The homestay was straight out of a fairy-tale; peaceful, with the grandest views of the valleys. This is the exact sight you would want everyday when you wake up.Bags down, shoes off, and phones and camera battery on charge. Yes, there was electricity in Jiskun. But luckily no phone network (except for BSNL). We headed off to a nearby ground for yet another round of cricket. There is some connection between Rupin Pass and cricket. I like the intensity on how we played. Everyone is so dedicated and committed that we end up making noise and arguing with each other! Whole village now knew we were in Jiskun!After a vivacious game of cricket we were back at the homestay. And would you believe it, it was Mahendra's birthday! Even he came to know when he spoke to his wife and she reminded him of this. After all a beautiful trek can make you forget things, even your birthday! I know Indiahikes celebrating birthdays by making cakes, regardless of whatever altitude we are at. But the problem was the birthday he mentioned was different to his actual birth date. So even Indiahikes were surprised and unaware. Good job Mahendra! But something can still be worked out. And Indiahikes made a bread-jam cake!After the "high-altitude-birthday-bash" it was time for supper (at 7:30pm). Having some smoking hot dinner at such a picturesque spot; what more can you ask for! The rooms in the homestay was very warm, and we quickly snuggled inside our sleeping bags. Lights out and the snoring starts! I understand we all were tired and a good nights sleep is all we needed, but damn few of us (names withheld for obvious reasons???? ) were snoring like Godzillas! And in proper sync. I woke up in middle of the night more often.Day 4: A Day to the Apple Orchards and WildernessGot up by 5:30am and it was still dark outside. Venus and a half crescent moon was all the light you can see in the sky.The view was one to savour. However, there was not to be a happy start. While coming down Roshni tumbled on the stairs, and she got injured on her face. All the euphoria turned into concerns and anxious faces. Luckily nothing serious happened and Roshni was back on her feet with her wonderful smiles. Ok, the gang was all ready to hit the trail. But before that some stretching and bum-dancing ( juguza)! Once all set, we clicked few pics and on we march.It was a sunny day. Kids were scampering to school as they were running late. But everyone of them wished us Namaste. Such modesty. We can learn so much from these villages.It was to be a gradual, tough hike till Jhaka, beyond which the trail will be more or less flat. We huffed-puffed our way to Jhaka, with a scorching sun behind us.
On the first 2 days of the trek, we put up at home-stays and passed through Sewa and Jiskun villages. I came across a group of village ladies who were busy with their daily chores, but still didn’t leave an opportunity to greet and smile at each trekker. A 90 yr old lady folded her hands and welcomed us to her village. I got rid of all the tiredness and felt so humbled by these small yet most moving gestures.