I woke up early as I had not a good night's sleep. This was for two reasons the sleeping bag that I was leant although heavy was not very warm so I needed to put more layers on during the night and Tets had a stomach bug and had to leave the tent twice, making all the noise that entails.
The day was again sunny and warm. Though we did not feel it until the sun had cleared the mountains and bathed the campsite. Before breakfast we washed in the river. I did not have the courage to fully immerse myself as it was glacially cold. Refreshed from the wash we made it in time for breakfast, sandwiches and porridge, not forgetting the chai.
We were not due to walk to our next campsite until after lunch. The boys, as part of their course, had to learn how to build a rope bridge so we accompanied them. 20 minutes walk from the camp the instructors found a suitable place. There the boys carefully made notes in their books while the instructors explained the river crossing technique for the bridge and then how to tie and tighten the rope. With the explanations over the rope bridge was built, tied between two large boulders about a 2 metres above the water. Once that was sufficiently tight and secured. Everybody took turns to put on a harness and clip onto the rope and cross the river. Even the girls pulled themselves over and back again. The harnesses were very old and I had to try on three of them before I found one that fit and worked. The screw gate no longer screwed closed. Completely different from back home where everything has to be practically new to be used.
The rope bridge finished some the boys decided it was time to dive into the water. They launched themselves into the river with out checking for submerged rocks. I was to chicken to try as I knew how cold the water was.
While we were watching this we were asked if we would like to go to back to the campsite. Not understanding fully I said no as we were happy just watching. Silly me, it was the instructor telling us to go back. We went back and waited for lunch. In the end the boys got back at the same time as we started lunch.
We set off after lunch, crossed the river and follow the path that snaked up the hillside. Very soon Shilpa started to struggle up resting every 5 minutes. Our guide/ girls chaperone, Satnap kept stopping and soon called a someone to carry Shilpa's backpack. We still kept walking but Satnap swapped her small bag for Shilpa's big one.
Tets by this time was getting on sherv's and my nerves. He was getting frustrated with the pace and could not stop going on about how he wanted to get to the lake and we should insist to our guide that we needed start at dawn. He was suffering but he seemed to complain about everything. Sherv started to keep his distance and I soon followed suit.
The walk up was beautiful with green lush trees either side and occasionally trees with bright red vibrant flowers. You could look down the valley and see the sides dotted with houses and in front of them terraces where the crops grew. Occasionally I would spy a house that was much higher up and feel a bit deflated. I felt we were pioneering so to see those houses put things in context.
The help for Shilpa came and we made faster speed and arrived at the campsite. It was a beautiful setting. It was on plateau just below the hill. The river enclosed the site, you had to use stepping stones to get to the site. A little hut was at one corner. This hut was a mill and it had a channel of water diverted from the river that ran under it. When they needed to grind the corn they would open up gate and this would turn the mill. In fact the site was picture post card like. The tents were already set up so we just dumped the bags and made ourselves at home.
Tets and I were offered tea or coffee . We asked for coffee and realised our mistake when we were given the coffee equivalent of chai. It was way too sweet so I just threw mine away subtlety.
Before dinner the girls went to. The village that was nearby while Sherv and I started a little fire to make it an authentic camping experience.
Dinner came: dal, rice and chapatti of course. After we chatted with the girls who had just graduated from their MBA programs and had got their first jobs. However, their firms were still recruiting so they were not due to start until June. They had joined corporations so I tried to sound sufficiently enthusiastic and encouraging. After all as a newbie you don't like the cynical bitter employee.
Being high up the stars were very bright so I got out my iPod and used the Starwalker to find the stars. It was great we saw Jupiter, Venus and Mars. I finally could recognise the shape of Ursor major, which turns out to be more than the saucepan shape found so easily. I could work out the stars that formed Taurus and Gemini. It was the first time in my life I could see the forms.
After getting a neck ache from looking up so much Sherv and I played a round of backgammon by the fire before turning in.
As the site was prepared for the boys group to come in a couple of days there were a lot of extra sleeping bags about do I took another to keep me warm. It certainly did that but it was also very heavy and I felt pressed down, I thought better the weight than the cold and tried to sleep.