Much like how children form transformative bonds when pitted against a particularly vindictive teacher, so do travellers when faced with the harshest teacher of them all, Nature.
Kuari Pass Winter Trek, unlike all my other trips wasn’t a last moment, hurried plan. The call of the mountains had been heard long before, allowing enough time for leave applications, survey and purchase of equipment and even a decent detoxification. Yet, often, even though one has had enough time to cross-check every item on the check-list, some preparations still remain incomplete. Amid the purchasing of thermals, rain-covers, gloves, medical supplies, etc. was sown the seed of friendship.
Feb 20, 2016, 5:30 a.m.: Haridwar
Decked in lights, for the ardh kumbh, Haridwar was up quite early to greet a bunch of “unsuspecting” travellers as they walked/ took autos or cabs to meet Umesh bhai. Unsuspecting? Yeah … I don’t think any of us knew that we were not going to be the same after this trip!