We all woke up around 3:30-4:00. Nitin and two motorcycles were waiting for us as we turned a corner onto the main street a half hour later. With Quentin and I having no experience handling motorbikes we rode in the back. Justin had practised with Nitin for only a few hours before he took on the skinny cliff side roads towards the north. The numerous construction sites made for heavy traffic and eye clogging dust clouds. We stopped in Pattar Ganga at a roadside kitchen and had our first real meal of the day as the sun was setting. We rested a while before driving the last hour in the dark. We landed at a nest of buildings; a home to local Baba’s. Past a shrine and small Nitin knocked on a wooden door explaining to the man inside how we were hoping they had extra room under one of the roofs. Without a single question we were ushered in. Justin, being the most haggard, quickly faded and was handed a stack of heavy blankets and was shown where we would rest. Quentin and I sat in silence playing chess and listened intently to the hums and hahs of Nitin and the heavily bearded monks speaking quickly in Hindi. A few bites into their evening meal the eldest man waved and the man cooking offered us dahl, fried veg, rice and chapati, seeing the looks on our faces before we were able to answer he was already reaching for plates. We dug in with gusto and upon finishing our last bites we were offered Chai and Chillum. Q put me in checkmate quickly after.
I found sleep around 2:30 in my sleeping bag on the floor beside Justin. As per the usual Quentin crawled to bed last and woke up first, waking me up around 8:00. We drove up to Govingard towards the valley of flowers national park around 9:00. We found a reststop along one of the many valley rivers for breakfast. After speaking with one of the cooks Nitin told us he’d just been told upon snowfall in the valley. Justin and Quentin being unconvinced it was still worth it, we decided we’d head instead towards our trek for a small village not far from Tapovan. A miscommunication occurred resulting in a detour up to Mana around 3200m in elevation a few hours from Govingard.
The trip to Mana from the Baba’s took a little over 4hours including our stop in Govingard. Although the countryside surrounding Mana was stunning the town itself was packed with tourists mostly from central and southern India. We stayed only long enough to rest our saddle sore behinds and take in the scenery before heading towards Tapovan to find somewhere to stay for the night. We arrived at a dingy hotel just past 5:00pm. After getting ourselves rooms and depositing our bags we drove back to Tapovan for a hot meal. We found a local kitchen and ordered 4 thalis and chai. With our appetites sated we stopped on the back to the hotel at a local hot spring. We all got back to hotel much more relaxed and subdued.
I’ll be posting soon about our visit to a mountain farming community.