We reached Pantwari around 12 noon on Saturday. The trek leader and his associate welcomed us to a nice and simple meal of rice and hot daal. We had a good trek ahead of us and hence were urged to eat well. Keeping oneself hydrated is of utmost importance while attempting any trek or hike. While the trek is in progress, one does not realize on the amount of water discharged as sweat. Drinking water at regular intervals helps a great deal to give you that boost.
Well, off we started our climb at around 1 pm. The initial climb waded through mountain grass, water trickles and domesticated animals such as buffaloes, dogs, hens etc. It is intriguing to see the modest housing and earthy existence in such locales.
As we gained altitude, the air became cooler, and the vegetation denser. We could see the village Pantwari as a small speck down below. Every now and then we encountered a waterfall, an odd village shelter, mud houses, and natural water tanks. In a fast paced city life, these occurrences are rare and hence much cherished in their rightful environs.
The climb was tough and we did out best. Occasional munching of bananas, nutrition bars, chocolates etc. helps. We continued our ascent and gradually could sight the further ranges in region. Occasional stops allowed us to interact with other team members and trek guides. They always have interesting local stories to tell.
As we went higher up, we could gather a strange sense of accomplishment. It is an intense feeling within of delight on where we have reached and yet intrigued on what lies further up.
After a good 3-4 hours trek up with our packs, we reached a wide plateau. This was the base camp for the summit of Nagtibba. Our tents were ready. We could see the kitchen tent with the humdrum of helpers preparing lemon water and tea with some biscuits and light fried snacks. It is simply amazing to experience the hospitality of locals here. Their affection comes across in the very way they welcome trekkers and it made us feel at ease instantly.