Hampta-Highs – Trek in Himalayas
So we are a group of six, out of which four are hardcore boozers and two are just poor snacks predators. Since all of us are adventure enthusiasts we have been touring across the length and breadth of this beautiful country for quite a long time now, before we actually venture out abroad to make our own version of ‘Penniless’ Zindagi na milegi dubara. And this time we decided to summit Hampta.
So we started gearing up to board the bus from Noida, everybody had their priority sorted few went to salon to get a new haircut, one of us got a tattoo on his forearm and rest just played PUBG to decide who will go out to buy liquor and stuff. Before finally leaving to catch the bus everybody freshened up while two crushed the stuff thoroughly and rolled a few papers. We had prebooking so we just had to wait until the bus arrived and we got our first surprise. Two out of four seats were fixed straight we could not lean against them, consequently we had to travel 18 odd hours with our backs erect without a single minute nap. I don’t know about other drivers but our driver was recklessly bold, driving us through the hell putting everybody’s life at stake. Some even got real injuries on their head and those who objected were silenced by the already troubled assistant driver. Even as everyone was concerned about their lives which was on the edge because of his awful (for us) but normal (for him) overspeeding and serpentine driving, one indifferent cynical gentleman just cared about turning up the A.C. Everyone of us heard the death knell before we settled down peacefully with a puff of marijuana and awaited our fate. We reached manali just few hours later than expected but nobody complained since everybody profoundly understood the real meaning of the proverb “Better late than Never” in our 18 hours long death ride.
Though everyone was hungry but nobody uttered a single word about the meal instead we just called up our agent and found our camps, sat up at the banks of river Beas which was exquisitely splendid. Without wasting much time everyone sat down at the bank gulped down a full bottle of signature, which reflects what is our real hunger for. At night we tried to simulate a yeh jawani hai diwani kind of bonfire but unfortunately other groups did not join us hesitatingly looking at our benign cheerful but wild behavior. Triggered by this our over worried trek guy warned us not to take our huge stock of liquor on track on account of health implications at greater heights, which we habitually snubbed.
On the very next day when everybody woke up sober we met up with other groups, had our breakfast, did some photo-ops and sat out start a journey towards our first checkpoint by car. With god’s intervention one of our over intelligent super craver managed to buy some stuff which later turned out to be a ‘Dhupbatti’. Having reached at the spot now we stood for sometime just to behold the mesmerizing and gracious view of tall mountain peaks and swiftly flowing river. We listened to the soothing chirpings of birds and also the loud and unpleasant never ending chatters of humans around, which obviously obstructed our sham of building a connection with nature so as expected we were ahead of everyone, even leading our guide to our first camp site, impressing everyone with our level of fitness and wickedness.
So it was our first night under the star studded sky, chilling winds and near absolute darkness. So three of us could actually muster the courage to come out of the tent to take photos of the sky with their expensive camera which they had bought, draining all their savings, unfortunately, not a single image of sky was captured worth considering rather a poco F1 delivered a better photograph.
Next morning we struggled to find a suitable place to freshen up but again failed and ended up pooping at an obscure place to avoid getting clicked and mocked. Once again we headed to our next camp site and reached before other groups. There we met an NRI guy who was kinda nice and indulgent, we had a great time together. We then met two gujratis (closet misers), we willingly shared our last liquor bottle with them on the promise that they have old monk to share but they never turned up again.
This is the camp site where we had to start a most difficult trek the next morning for which we had a to make a decision on whether we our going to trek ahead, given, we were adequately ill equipped, feedback from others was discouraging and our guide was also not advising us to trek up. So at night when our tents were about to fly under the influence of razing storm, we smoked weed and started discussing what may be the consequences if we trek ahead, only god knows what transpired between us. As soon as everyone walked out of their tents the next morning four of us convinced that we are going to descend but two of us who also happened to be non drinkers were adamant on their decision on summiting Hampta. Now the remaining four of us could not refuse firstly to satisfy their ego, secondly, on account of the fear of hurting their prestige, as they would be called losers and mocked for the rest of their lives. In a group of 14 only 7 sat out to summit out of which six were us. It was raining already and mercury was dipping as we were trekking up. Merely 100 meters away we encountered hailstones which further broke our conviction. Now we divided into two groups one which is actually willing to summit other is just waiting to for each other to back down first so the rest of us could blame on him. Two incidents happened with our two groups which made us submit before summit. The dispirited group which was following the actually enthusiastic group faced something extraordinary, one of us was carrying a pack of cigarette in his pocket which he was protected from rain, tired of walking we asked him light a cigarette and he was literally unable to take out his hand from the pocket as it was frozen, swollen and numb that group immediately decided to go back to their tent. The other group saw something more frightening, one of them slipped of the snow clad mountain and was drifting towards the river everybody just held their breath and prayed for him, luckily he was carrying a hook which saved his life and they too returned.
The thrill didn’t end here our bus for the return journey got cancelled and we had to wait for six more hours before boarding a dilapidated bus with an ill driver which took 48 hours to Noida which generally takes 18 hours.
So after a formidable trek and precarious bus rides which literally took out the best in us in term of will, courage, competition, and spirit, we were back at our place in Noida, reminiscing about fun, fights, and flights we enjoyed in our trip.
Travel Tale by : Ranajay Rathore ( @r_rathore9 )