Today, continuing our alphabetical journey, I am going to take you to a Temperate Forests and tell you a crazy story of six friends who started with a road trip and ended up doing mindless trekking in the mountains of Giri Ganga.
Giri Ganga; The location
It is the origin point of river Giri in upper Shimla region.
This is how the idea of Road trip dawned
It was Summer in hills (not the summer of 69!). Two friends, bored of routine lab, library, and tea sessions, decided to do something different. It was decided…Next day they were going on a road trip to Hatkoti.
Hatkoti: The Place
Hatkoti is a suburb in upper Shimla of Himachal Pradesh. It is very well-known as an ancient seat of Godess Durga on the bank of gorgeous river, Pabbar, a contributory to Yamuna River.
The Road Trip
By the time, the trip began, total number of trippers became six! (We call it beauty of friendship). Thinking that we are going to a religious place, I decided to wear suit (Indian dress) with dupatta and Chamba Chappal (as they are comforatble while entering the holy places). Others also got ready according to their comfort.
The journey began. We crossed towns, apple orchards, pines, and Cedrus forests on the way. Along with Music, Fun, and chit-chat; all friends made best of every moment. There wasn’t any dull moment inside the car. After a lag of many days, we all were extremely excited to be on an adventure!
As soon as we were approaching the highest road point in the region, Khada Pathar ( Erect Stone, the literal meaning), I started sharing my memory of that place and a hike uphill, in the past. How there is a unique temple on the top of the mountain surrounded by a pond. And, how the pond was half fluid, half frozen…like literally frozen!
The mystery caught up the fantasies of the folks in the vehicles. In one tone everyone was like ‘let’s go up there!’
Is it motorable? someone said.
‘It was! But that was a school picnic and we came in a bus which stayed down here. We trekked for hours to reach the place. How many hours, it is difficult to remember’ I said.
Anyway, the steering turned right and we were on a road really less travelled atleast by us!
Story telling is an art, people say and if your story convinces the listeners, it’s fine art, I say!
Every one was curious to see what I just described. Also, I was the only one who had been there before. The ambiance was boisterous. We had moved just a few hundred meters uphill, It was snow everywhere and soon the road ended in front of our eyes! This wasn’t considered and hoped. Mr CoolHead tried to drive over it (He is a brave rider). We were stuck, snow seemed deep!
‘What do we do now?’ Said one of the friends.
‘How far is the place?’ The other asked. Everyone looked at me. I was not sure and just to avoid the cancellation of the plan, I said, I’ think we are almost there! A little trek ahead.’
Surprisingly, all agreed!
The Giri Ganga Trek
We left the vehicle there in the mid of forest and stepped out in snow.
Ouch! I was the first one to yell. In the excitement of seeing the place, I forgot that I was not dressed to the occasion and realized that my feet just came in direct contact with snow because of those fancy chamba chappals! I found myself buried in snow till knees! Immediately I turned back!
It wasn’t a good idea! But there is some reason why word ‘wanderlust’ is so famous. You can’t control the urge to be at some place you love to go. We bravely put our best foot ahead and started robot walk in the snow. One thing was good because we were following the road, chances of falling into ditches were less.
But how long can you walk in snow almost bare feet? Seeing a sunny patch, we gave up soon. I had one more friend with fancy footwear. We sat and examined our feet. All red and numb. Others were motivating us. “Let’s keep going! It is near now.” I traced the passage. It appeared that, the road had a snowy part for some distance followed by a bare stretch because the snow melted there.
We continued, huffing, laughing…moving.
The road was not coming to end…it took our better part of the day but yeah we made it to our destination. The pain…oh..what pain…I, for one, was numb! The joy of reaching the origin point of river Giri, was unfathomable.
I forgot what happened before, seeing the chirpy bunch of friends; it was all worth after all.
After spending some quality fun time, when I stepped back in snow, my entire courage vanished. I couldn’t do that anymore. The feet pained unbearably. I looked at the widespread snow cover down the hill.
Others were collecting courage too. They began ahead this time. I tried to follow, with tears falling down my cheeks; My feet hurt so bad. It did scare me to think about how far the car was parked and it seemed impossible to reach!
Then something happened.
I slid downwards. Holding the bushes like the ski sticks, I started controlling my slide, avoiding, the huge Cedrus trees on the way. I shouted, and didn’t look behind for even once until my butt started paining. Seeing a safer, landing spot near a big tree, I slowed down and soon, I felt a light kick on my back. I turned back…what a scene to behold! One of my friends just parked behind me and All others were following suit!!!
It was the biggest high of this trip. All of them stopped near me and we laughed our hearts out with tears of pain coming down. We all found a way out. Not that it was easy, but it did raised our adrenaline and we reached our starting point in twenty Minutes!
I still replay the scene thousand times in my mind and do get goose bumps till date.What a crazily marvelous day it was!
After this we continued our road trip as planned…😊