It was the finale. It was do or die. It was THE DAY. The morning of day six was all it mattered after a heavy day yesterday. Taking deep breathes and calming my nerves I entered the dining tent, I closed my eyes and I felt the pressure building up on my arm and I felt my heart beat as the pressure was slowly released then again felt the pressure building up and released, again and again until finally the result was decisive. I was good to go, my BP was marginally lower than the threshold 160/100. It was high but doable and that's all I needed for now. I was the happiest person on earth, I was smiling and my eyes were filled with joy. The dying flame was relighted and the storm within me was blown away... far, far away. I had to be careful though, it was still high and I might have to return from Patar from the same reason I won't get an extra day this time.
The rocky trail from Bedni to Patar goes across the hills will valley on the left and our camp still visible far down below until it makes a small right turn just before 'Ghoda Latauni' and takes you to the other side of the hill and then follows a similar path through the grasslands. The whole trail from bedni to Patar is easy on the legs but it takes us closer to those snowy mountains which were visible from the Bedni top in the north.
Patar Nachauni is situated at an altitude of 12700 ft. or 3871 m. and is one of the windiest campsite I have ever been to. It's so windy that we are advised to keep our tents closed all the time or they may blow away with the wind. It remains densely cloudy most of the time with occasional rains. On the left we could spot the trail which we will take tomorrow which climbs rapidly in a zig-zag fashion and disappears into the other side of the mountain at kallu vinayak.
Soon after we reached the camp site it started raining and it rained the whole day. People on the trek team said it wasn't suppose to rain this heavy at this time of year, generally by the end of June we experience such weather when monsoon hits the Himalayas and this is somewhat unusual but that the power of mountains, they create their own weather and is highly unpredictable. We spent the day roaming around the campsite with our poncho protecting us from the drizzle and mingling with the batch returning from the Lake. By the dinner time the weather worsened and it rained cats and dogs which was heightened by extreme winds. They were so strong that our dining tent was hardly able to remain hooked to the earth and by the time the sun came up the tent was gone. Having dinner in such a situation is hell of an experience and I respect and admire the trek team who unlike us has to live for days and weeks in such situation just to make our trek comfortable.
No matter how great the experience was or how adventurous I am or how much I love the adrenaline rush in my blood, Murphy's law never fails. Anything can go wrong and it will go wrong. Due to constant drenching in rain accompanied by blasts of cold air yesterday and constant shivering during night I couldn't survive the night well enough. I felt weak and had headache in the morning and this has to be reported to the trek leader, clearly I didn't pack enough warm cloths. One cannot ignore these signs and hide them from the trek team and the trek leader, it could be AMS (click for more info on AMS) or Acute Mountain Sickness. So, I informed the leader and got checked for BP which was high but less than 160/100, pulse which was normal and my oxygen saturation in blood which I recall was about 91% and then he looked for symptoms of HAPE and HACE but I was clear. After all the check-up was done I was advised to descend although I think I didn't have AMS but I am no expert on AMS and trek leaders better trained and experienced or this. I cannot argue with the leader on that matter because golden rule is you cannot ascend with a headache, I had to descend, I was not well.
Broken heartedly I packed my stuff put a smile on the face and got ready to go down. In few hours I would be back from where I started, I would be in Lohajung. The path I walked for Five days was about to be covered in just few hours. I was escorted by a Green Trail intern, Himanshu, Great guy! And then I joined the batch we met yesterday. It was about 5 hours of continuous walking from Patar to Lohajung and I quietly walked down the trail and reached Lohajung after lunch. I rested the day out after reaching the base-camp and got ready to go home the next morning.
I woke up at 6 and packed all of my stuff, bought a bottle of the famous rhododendron juice and shared a taxi to Kathgodam with 5 amazing people and befriended them. In the end I wasn't going home empty handed.
P.S. - back home, I obviously had concerns about my high BP during the trek and it was very unusual to have a pressure more than 160/100. I checked my BP several times in to coming days and every-time it was just about normal. I wonder what happened there on those slopes and what could I have done to prevent it. I love IndiaHikes for taking such good care of me. I could see their genuine concern about my health and how bad they felt when I had to return. Going back is never a pleasant experience and is highly demotivating but knowing that I can do this trek again for free anytime in future is one of the things that makes me come again and again on those mountains and I admire IndiaHikes for that.
click here for part-1