A snow-trek: Parashar Lake
We did not have any target, even though Parashar Lake was the declared destination. We started at 9.30pm from Delhi and boarded our car - a Santro - at Panipat. We were five guys. I forced myself to take a nap at 3am. Then slept till 8am near an obscure Dhaba in the hills, before Bilaspur. Such was the leader of the group and so were my followers! It was a lazy morning. We went behind some rocks on a steep uphill, independently and individually. After having tea, we drove again to stop for paranthas at 10am, after we crossed Bilaspur.
After reaching Mandi, some shopping: gloves, gas stoves, candles and many other things men always forget to carry (salt too).
Who invented the GPS? And why would we download it on our way to somewhere paying unknown, higher charges on data? Economics never answers these silly questions.
Thinking we are on the right track, we unpacked the boot of the car and danced to a crazy rhythm.
After reaching Bagi, my companions gathered local intelligence, 2 dozens of eggs, two packs of buns, two packs of sliced breads and pure deshi ghee. The local intel suggested that instead of driving forward, we must stay in that clumsy valley (~1500m) and climb to ~3000m in two hours via some unconventional way finder in an unventured dense forest. Alarmed, I had to stub those fancy ideas and almost ordered to drive till the beginning of snow line. They did acknowledge the merit of this decision much later - on return. We had to stop at a point where sludge and snow barely allowed us to move. It was 4pm.
My companions were playing with snow. I was amused too. But I cautioned them that we must secure a camping ground, source of water and wood for fire. That must be completed before the sun sets. A lot of persuasion was required. There was a building under partial construction. We tried to nail pitching tents on its rocky concrete floor. Can we hang the canopy? No, the fiberglass poles must take a bow shape. We viewed a demo on pitching a T2 tent. Why did we not forget to download and carry this? Geeks!
The group was alarmed now. I pointed to a saddle somewhat below down-hill.. Consensus. Rush. Fill water in three bottles. Pitch tent in flat 15 mins. Drive around to gather some wood. Not much found. In the meantime, my poor fellows, had tried to ignite fire with unadulterated petrol. God save the tent and those two guys. We cooked meshy scrambled eggs, meshy breads and a hotch-potch of delicious mixture. Very very tasty. Everyone had a chance to cook, no one was denied the option. It was time to play cards in T3. We hang a torch from the inside-tip of the tent inside.
Next morning we cooked only eggs, maggi was spared the experiment. We managed to pack smartly this time. At 10 am we drove till the snow line. As usual, a Tau emerged to direct us via the forest and thick snow claiming that it would a short cut by 12 kms. I found no point in resisting, gave a nod. The short cut also ended on the main road after some climb. Then to a trail. I enjoyed every bit of the climb in deep snow. I was equipped with right shoes and gaiters. Poor novices – my companions, who underestimated the nature and its bite, had wet shoes but continued. Hats off to them!
We reached the summit at 4pm. We had walked roughly twelve kms, through knee-deep snow, in five hours. We had no prior reservation for the PWD rest-house at that place. I secured reservation by not taking a telephone call to the caretaker, who was on leave. Then we walked till the brink of the lake. There was a Dhaba, serving hot Maggi. We relished, added spice to it. At the rest-house, we were served hot rice and daal for dinner. Then we played cards till midnight. Inside the temperature was +9 degrees C, outside -3 degrees C.
While returning from the Summit, one of my followers shook off a chunk of snow below my feet while I was crossing a gorge over a tree trunk. He had no intention to harm I believe. But I fell on my neck. It still pains.