Yes you read it right....REST DAY! After two days of 100 km rides, the cycles needed some rest. ... and we let them be :) We planned a quick drive to Chitkul (the last inhabited village on the Indo China border), and decided to do a leisurely 3 hour hike back to the camp.
The problem with having diverse hobbies such as exercise and photography is that whatever you choose, you end up waking before sunrise in order to make the most of it. So there I was, shivering in the chilly morning cold, waiting for the peaks to be lit by the first rays of the Sun. The camp staff too seemed relaxed and took their own sweet time to serve breakfast. Can't blame them though; who would be in a hurry in such a peaceful location. An hour or so later we gorged on a mouthwatering breakfast of omelettes, pancakes, parathas and boiled eggs. Another hour later most of us trooped into the cars ready for the ride to Chitkul.
Traveling in the back of an open 4x4 is an experience that one should not miss. The road to Chitkul, is lined up with gorgeous views - tall, bare, snow covered. rocky peaks on one side and pine covered hills on the other. A bad, bumpy road meant clicking pictures on the go was a strict no-no. I still managed a couple of them, and making a mental note of the locations to click on the way back.
We reached Chitkul, a small village snuggled between two mountain ranges. The valley stretched as far as the eye could see, farms strewn all across it. Further below, on the banks of the river, a school conducted PT classes for its students. A solo traveler, sat atop one of the boulders in the field lost in her playlist. Everything seemed so idyllic.
Within moments though, the weather changed. Strong, cold, gusts of wind started blowing - indicating thundershowers. We headed back towards the car park, and stopped at a dhaba to grab a cup of coffee. The rains had arrived by then. We shelved the hiking plan and got into the cars for the return journey. The rain also meant lost opportunities for the photos that I wanted to take.
Back at the camp we had a quick lunch and followed by a lazy afternoon nap. At tea time, the rains still persisted, and it looked like it would be a dull, gloomy, evening.
We gathered in the common area, having random discussions. Manjiri kept doodling in her travel diary while the rest of us listened to Joss's stories. Suddenly, the Sun peeped out of the clouds forming a rainbow. There was a mad scramble to get the cameras and seek the best vantage point, to capture the perfect shot. A few minutes later, sky adorned itself in ravishing colors.
The gloominess and the rains gone, we sat waiting for dinner time. Manjiri shared her insights about NLP and how the body can be rewired.
Post dinner, coffee around the campfire followed before finally retiring for the day.