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The Lives I touched……The Mountains I Climbed….

Whoever has said it, has said it right. Sometimes it takes years to know people and sometimes it simply takes a moment.

Hi, this is Mayank and this was my first trip with BTC. The fun I had and the memories I have obtained; it is difficult to put it on paper. But let me give it a try.

It was seven of us. I have never met anyone of them (except Karthik, my colleague and friend) and I was going to Himalayas with them. Nothing could be as exciting as this. But it made me nervous too. You never know what kind of people they will be and what is going to happen.  Also never went to such altitude in my life. So in short there were too many expectations and high hopes with the trip. And Luckily nothing in the whole trip let me down.

So me and Karthik boarded the flight to Delhi. Apparently we were late and others were waiting for us. The four girls and us went and roamed the Cannaught place of Delhi. Had the Amazing tea and road side food. Trust me, it is unhealthy but very tasty. We were all talking and jelling up, getting to know each other. Monisha was being the perfect organizer, telling us all the risks and issues we can face at such an altitude.  

We were still short of one guy. The seventh guy. That’s what we called him before we met. He was supposed to meet us at the railway station from where we were supposed to take the train to Dehradun.  We met him there and finally all of us were together and had officially started the trip.

We reached Dehradun at around 10am and met our guide and other three people with whom we were going to trek. So Me, Karthik, Ravi, Monisha (Organizer), Veena, Narmadha, Shruthi were from BTC and Praveen, Harsh and Sonia were there directly from the Renauk. Our guide was Neel who was supposed to make sure that we do the trekking properly, without going off bid.

The weather in Dehradun was lovely. It must have been around 16-18degrees. We took the SUVs from there and started for Uttarkashi. It was a lovely six hours’ journey, through the fog that covered the complete sky, on the roads which were carved from the mountains. The scenic beauty was just amazing. Through the fog the distant mountains were looking as if they are kissing the clouds.

Once we reached there it was already dusk and the temperature was dropping like sand in a kid’s hand. Fortunately, we were given warm rooms for the night. After roaming around for an hour and having a good dinner we all called it a night as we all were tired from the journey. The area around the hotel was mostly commercial as there were so many shops. We had a tomato soup from one of those shops, which I know I never can forget and shopped a few apparels. Before sleeping, Neel, our Guide, gave us a short status report and explained us the itinerary.

We all started early morning from Uttarkashi and reached Sangamchatti, from where we were to start our trek. It was 6km trek through Rocky Mountains and short pathways to Agora. We were all moving in a buddy system and were cheering up each other to move forward. The trek was evenly balanced with quite a many ascending and descending passages. The one who is doing the trek could see the peaky mountains one side and abyss on the other. As the trip was in the first week of December the snow was hard to find but the greenery of the mountain was ecstatic.

The route was completely through mountain areas without any civilization to be found in any direction you see. As we were getting closer to agora, small houses started to appear out of nowhere. These small huts were made out in between mountains and their farm lands. The view was inspiring for a tourist to realize that there are people who are even managing their lives out in nowhere without any internet, electricity and modern amenities. They have nature with them.  
In Agora village, their main source of income is farming. It was located at close to 6000ft height above sea level. It is hard to explain how they do farming in a rocky mountain area. But the people there are lovely, welcoming and sweet. All you need to do is smile. Seeing schools and kids going to them was also a proud moment.

We reached Agora by 2pm. It was our second stoppage. We had whole day to ourselves and we utilized it to the fullest. The place we stayed had a lovely view of the mountains. Trust me, I remember myself standing there just staring at the mountains for a quite a long time. It was hard to take my eyes off. We played Uno, danced roamed around in the city. Everyone greeted us with nothing but respect and gratitude. We had our dinner out in the nature amidst the mountain, cracking jokes and sharing life experiences. The moments were incredible.

Next day early morning we started to Dodital, the place of Lord Ganesh’s Birth. It was 16Km trek and even more better than the trek we had the previous day. The passage was wider but also rockier at the same time. The Ascent was fairly high. It was fortunate that the sun had come out and the temperature was not so low. We trekked through the rocks playing games, singing having fun making sure the luggage we were carrying and the ascent were not shaking our spirits down.  The route was through not just mountains but also through small waterfalls, which for the record were our only source of drinkable fresh water. The trek was through Manjhi, where we had our lunch, which we carried from Agora. It had a village which people have migrated from.

After trekking for 16km we reached Dodital just before dusk. It was 10000ft above sea level. Making it so far was a great achievement and emotions were of pure joy. I could see the Dodital lake, Ganesh temple there and few huts around. But similar to Manjhi, even this place was completely isolated. It was just Ten of us and our guides out there in the wild. The temperature there was in negative degrees and if I remember correctly we had forgotten a bucket of water outside at night and next day morning it was ice!!
Dodital is a pure nature spectacle. The huge lake in front, the foot of a mountain on the right, the Temple on the left and the whole green land with small pecks of snow here and there, it was simply amazing.

After dusk, all the boys went in search of wood for fire, making us boast up as Men of the village. After dinner we had slipped into our cozy sleeping bags and started talking again. This was the moment when I realized this trip was not amazing just because of the beautiful nature but also because of the company I had. All of us sat that night and discussed highs and lows of each other’s lives as if we knew each other for ages. There was no electricity, nobody was touching their phones. We were simply talking in candle light, while freezing to death. There are only few moments in a one’s life that gets locked in one’s brain forever. This was one of them.

The next morning, as usual, we got up at time and started our final and most exciting trek towards the peak. The Darwa pass. It was the toughest of all as here there was no path at all. All there was were rocks. As I started trekking, the more I go ahead the more difficult it got. Due to the altitude I already had running nose for two days, but now I started feeling shortness of breath. But the amazing companions that I had, had me moving. Finally, we reached a spot, which was simply 10 steps from the peak but I simply sat their giving up as it became too hard to reach the top. It was right in front of my eyes and I was not able walk ahead. But no one was ready to leave anyone behind. Everyone pushed me up and slowly and steadily we all reached to the peak together and stood there watching mountains, snow, clouds, fog in a 360degrees view. It was a sight for sore eyes. We were standing at 13625ft height from the sea level and there was no one else out there for miles. It was just us and the nature surrounding us. That moment there was emotional to say the least. Just us. We all were so happy, proud, elated with joy. It was a pure moment. A moment that all of us will remember. A moment that will never fade away with time. A moment that had us all enwrapped as one. We all had pains everywhere in our body. Bones were aching and crying for help. Many of us were not even able to walk. But we forgot all of that. We forgot all the issues that we carry every day. There was no sorrow, no pain, but just sheer joy.

It was really hard to stop what we were feeling and even harder to go back down after feeling what we have felt. Anyhow, we went down from the peak the same day. The descent even though seems easy but was equally challenging as wherever we put our foot it was a rock that was hurting our foot and knee. But now we were past all that. We were in disbelief. We had ourselves pinched multiple times just to ensure that it’s not a dream.
We reached Dodital back before dusk. We repeated the same cycle what we had done the day before and slept.

The next day we descended back to Agora trekking 16kms with the same spirit and fun. We reached Agora by 4pm and stayed there for the night taking some time to address all the pains in the body and the blisters on the toes. But we were not amongst those who will simply retire for the day. We had another amazing night sharing all the ghost stories that we know.

From there, the next day we trekked back to sangamchatti and then travelled back to Dehradun in our SUVs. We were fortunate enough to reach in time and board our train to Delhi.

This journey was nothing short perfection. We all were so happy to have done this and meet each other and were also sad at the same time that the journey has come to an end. I won’t be forgetting the lives I touched and the mountains I climbed.

I thank everyone who was there with me and especially Monisha to keep her cool with me and bear me. I do not have any reference to compare as I have never gone to trekking with BTC but she, as an organizer, has defined a perfect line between discipline and fun. Thanks for shortlisting me for this trip. Also Karthik, for telling me about BTC. Veena, Ravi, Narmadha and Shruti you guys were equally amazing and I wish we always keep in touch, be friends forever and go for treks similar to this. I thought of writing the things that I liked in each one of you and which inspires me in some way, but then I thought… never mind :D
As I Said, whoever has said it, has said it right. Sometimes it takes years to know people and sometimes it simply takes a moment.

Love you all guys.

Written By      : Mayank Varshney
Organized By   : Monisha
Date of event  : 5th - 12th Dec, 2015
Members Count : 7
Place               : Dodital
Pictures           : BTC FB Page

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