We had more adventure than we set out for. When we planned our trek in the mountains, we saw the chances of rain increasing until it was 100% every hour of the day. And this time, for once, it was accurate.
Nine colleagues at Covalience plus my daughter (19) and my son (8) started from Barshaini on our way to Rudranag. Initially, the plan was to go to Kheer Ganga, but locals warned us that it may now be dangerous. So, we decided to go, have lunch at the waterfall in Rudranag and then come back and sleep close to where we started.
We kept our rain gear on as we climbed up. We learned a few things about walking through mud. The rain kept coming down at a steady pace. We became adept at walking through small streams of water. All skills we would need later under harsher circumstances.
My pack was heavy and too big for me. I could not tighten it around my waist correctly to take the weight off my shoulders. We carried sleeping bags in the bottom of my pack that got soaked and added some weight. My shoulders complained, but otherwise, all were good, and I took a lot of quick pictures. Quick, because I did not want my phone to get too wet.
We had a simple, but satisfying lunch while warming ourselves at a fire in Rudranag. Then we came down, and it was easy and took less time than expected. With a (false) sense of accomplishment, we came back to the main road, looking forward to a short, leisurely stroll to the Cafe and a good rest. My shoulders were giving me hell.
The cafe is called Dum Dum which should have alerted us to the quality of the decision to go there. If it took 30 minutes as the owner told us, we would have reached there before dark …
Instead, we were lost. It was dark. And wet. We shared torches and wrestled our way up muddy slopes that moved with every step. We were past caring about stepping in puddles but watched some bare mud-walls with more than a bit of apprehension. These mountains can be treacherous in the rain because of mudslides. I prayed a silent prayer for protection.
We came to a sizeable stream with a waterfall going down on the right. Our torches threw light on a scary scene. There were some rocks on the edge that took you about halfway, but then there was a gap that may have been jumpable but for the danger of falling over the edge or being carried along by the powerful stream that flowed between them.
We were stuck until Sorab carefully felt his way through the calmer shallows on the left. The ankle deep water was icy, and my son clung to my hand as we waded through.
After this, there was another stream, some crazy steep, slippery slopes, more losing the trail and finding it again. This went on for two hours. Sharp pain in my left knee started bothering me. We finally came to Pulga where someone from the cafe was waiting to show us the way. What joy to put down our packs and have a promise of a meal. I had a lot to be thankful for. We were all safe. My son was so terrific, brave, positive.
Dinner arrived after more than three hours – right after midnight. We were more hungry than tired, so we waited. The guys taught me the card game “Bluff,” but for an honest guy like myself, it was hard to do.
The rest was uneventful. We slept well and woke up to find the apple orchard surrounding the cafe, the white-capped mountains, the swirling clouds, the forest and the silence quite enchanting.
My knee was still paining so I asked my son to pray for it, and God heard him because the pain soon disappeared. Walking back in the rain after another long wait for breakfast took us half the time of the prior night.
In the dark, we missed the two bridges that would have saved us a lot of stress, but would have also taken a bit of the flavor out of the adventure!
And isn’t a bit of adventure what we all long for?