I woke up early feeling fabulous. The camp director was right and I was glad as all the queasiness had gone and I was ready (being ready would be an understatement; I was all pumped up; I was as excited as a chocoholic in a Hershey factory). So after a quick shower, a mug of hot tea(which took me 20 minutes to finish) and a hearty breakfast, we all lined up with our newly packed rucksacks(we only had to carry stuff which was basic). I am going to list down the things which one should carry to the higher camp.
The rucksack should contain:
A poncho (an absolute necessity if you don’t want to get drenched, get hypothermia and die)
A really good fur jacket (preferably water-proof)
A warm sweater (jacket won’t be enough)
A pair of thermals (yes! It is necessary)
A pair of hand gloves (preferably water-proof)
Few pairs of socks (1 super warm pair)
1full sleeve t-shirt
1track pant (don’t pack jeans- they are heavy and don’t dry easily not to mention uncomfortable)
Undergarments (the number depends on you)
A woollen skull cap
A tiffin box (with spoon)
A water bottle (preferably a light weight)
A tooth brush
A tooth paste (can share one among friends)
A hand sanitizer
Medicines (though YHAI has a good enough reserve; it is just wise to carry them with you because what if you fall sick while trekking?)
Few cubes of camphor (it helps if you have got breathing issues as it energizes the heart, stabilises the breathing pattern as well as blood circulation)(how to use it: just roll it in a handkerchief or cotton and smell it when you are having breathing issues)
Trekking shoes (you will be wearing them though)
Some other not-so-necessary things include a face wash (you will need to have balls of fire to wash your face with that freezing water), a rain cover for rucksack (not that necessary as poncho is large enough to cover a human and the human’s rucksack), power bank (only carry it if your phone is your camera as there won’t be any reception up at the higher altitude anyways), earphones (wouldn’t you rather listen to the sound of silence? or birds?), slippers (you will slip if it rains), shaving kit or makeup kit (just don’t! Be your ugly self because it is more beautiful) etcetera.
Hah! Where was I? Yes! So we lined up and the camp director gave us some instructions after which we were given walking sticks (we had to pay 10 bucks) along with a small bag containing biscuits, a mango flavored energy drink and a bar of chocolate. Now it was our time to leave for the higher camp; the new batch waved us off with the special set of clapping session as we marched up the stairs and settled ourselves into the jeep. We had to start our trek for Didna village from Kulling which was at a distance of 55kms from Gwaldam. So after 3 hours (including a stop at Lohajung village where we had some spicy maggi) of winding roads and warming our posteriors we finally got off at Kulling village. When all the campers of BB24 reached the small and welcoming village of Kulling, we finally started trekking. The trek was downhill for 3kms and then ascending for 2.5kms. It was an easy trek with the trail starting from in between the village stone houses, small vegetation patches with wild weed growing along the dusty path which led us into the jungle. After an hour or so, we heard gurgling of water and in the next few minutes we could see a stream flowing rapidly down the mountain through the twines and branches of the magnificent trees. The stream finally came into the view and some of our fellow campers had already settled themselves on the scattered stone slabs stuffing themselves with food(everybody was carrying packed lunch). We found ourselves some stone slab closest to the stream and engaged ourselves in the chilling game of ‘who can keep their feet under water for the longest time period?’ As a good human being I would say, you shouldn’t engage in such a game where you won’t be able to feel your feet for several minutes but as an adventurous person I would suggest you to go for it.
After that we had a quick lunch, refilled our bottle from the stream, strapped our rucksack on our hunching backs and when we were just about to start the ascending, a local man offered us some sort of blood red colored juice which we willingly drank. It was delicious and after paying him, we began our ascending trek. The rucksack felt heavier with each step we took, the temperature decreased as we ascended uphill and our breathing pattern changed as the altitude increased. And of course it had to rain and we had to wear ponchos which made all of us look like tired death eaters. After 3 hours of trekking uphill, we heard some shouts from our fellow campers saying that the campsite was finally visible and it was just twenty minutes away. Our speed as fast as a sloth’s, we finally reached the campsite where our camp leader received us with a welcoming smile and a firm handshake. Our campsite wasn’t a plain area with tents instead it was a small two storeyed lodging house with 7-8 rooms. We dumped our bags into our assigned rooms, freshened ourselves and headed out with a smile plastered on our faces just to rush back into our rooms to grab our thick fur jackets as it was really cold out there. An uncle from the kitchen staff was waving his way across the campers telling us to have the welcome drink and so we did. The camp leader told us we were free to explore the village till 6pm so all of us headed to walk around the village. It was a small village on top of a mountain surrounded by taller mountains and rain clouds. We walked around in twos and threes greeting those few locals (they have the warmest smile) who came along the way. We returned back to the campsite by 6pm and had the most delicious soup which made us feel all warm. Far beyond we could see Zeus throwing his lightning bolts and it was a bit scary but enthralling nonetheless.
At 7pm we were given our dinner and the rain still hadn’t stopped. Most of the campers were warming themselves or already asleep in their rooms, only a few of us were out talking absolute nonsense till we were given bournvita after which we headed to our rooms. Everyone slept like pandas and I shivered the whole night even with 2 layers of clothing, a sleeping bag and a blanket but I had a smile on my tired face till I entered into my Dreamland. Isn't that enough?