continued from here.
We crossed a snow bridge on the way to Dhanderas. It was steeper than we had expected. We climbed very carefully. Almost at the end of it, it was no sooner that I sighed with relief that the glacier was over and we would step on normal ground again, than I realised that something weird was happening. Vishal and Dashodbhai along with our technical guide Ravikiran stopped before the snow bridge ended, let everyone reach up to where they were standing and then announced that we were going to slide down the snow bridge!
What! I got cold feet (except that all of us literally had cold feet due to the snow)! Dashodbhai was the first one to give us a demo. Then they made a small seat on the snow, made a trekker sit on it and then pushed her! Down she went on the slide.. Zoop zoop! It didn't make me feel any better. I was the only one that day not to try the slide. People also made a train-slide!
Later that day, Ravikiran took us on an acclimatisation walk on a glacier near our campsite. He taught us how to kick into the snow so as to make a step on the snow and get good grip. e taught us how to climb straight up, how to climb sideways up, how to climb down step by step and finally, how to slide! He also taught us how to apply brakes to control the speed of our slide.
This time I did it and gosh! it was fun! In fact, I did it twice to even out the missed one.
During my last trek in Kashmir, only on the first day, the Indiahikes crew had set up the tents for us. On the second day, they taught us how to do it and we did it on our own for the rest of the trek. I always wondered what's the point in carrying all the tents, sleeping bags and kitchen with us everyday and set up everything all from scratch at every camp. When we are assembling the camp at a new campsite after dismantling it from the previous one, another group would be doing the same at our previous campsite at the same time! Apart from the fun in setting up your own camp, it is a great expenditure if you look at overall trek operations. We carry additional mules to carry the tents, sleeping bags and the kitchenware etc. The kitchen staff spends hours in travelling between camps, leaving them less time to actually cook. As they have less time to cook, more number of hands are required in the kitchen, leading to hiring additional resources. It would make a lot of sense to just keep the camp where it is and let the trekkers move from camp to camp.
Of course, the fun in going to an absolutely uninhabited meadow and pitching your tent there would be lost!
In the current trek, I would wonder everyday that after reaching the campsite, we would need to set up our own tents. But that never happened. The camp used to be already set by the time we reached!
A few days later I came to know that there were no running camps on this trail unlike in Kashmir. In Kashmir, the entire kitchen staff would move with us from camp to camp, as setting a permanent camp wasn't legally permitted. On Rupin trail, the camps were like a permanent settlement! The kitchen staff and technical staff used to live at their particular campsite almost throughout the season with the camp all set for us.
I didn't know whether to feel happy that there is less wastage on the trek or to feel sad for losing the fun...