Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bhutan's Druk Path Trek. Day 2

After an uneasy night's sleep in the sleeping bag I woke up some time in the night.It was still dark outside and my watch told me it was still 5 am. I wanted to catch the sunrise so I left my cozy sleeping bag rather reluctantly and ventured outside into the chilly morning air.A cold wind was blowing immediately sending a shudder through my body. I looked around the campsite taking in the night time view.Unlike Roopkund (comparisons were inevitable no matter how much I resisted) where the snow capped mountains faraway always gave the campsites a heavenly atmosphere,here in these campsites there wasn't much to look out for in the night. I strolled around the campsite a bit and waited for the sunrise. The sunrise when it did come was a disappointment.The sun rose up quickly and turned the night sky first into a bloody orange colour and then into a sparkling blue. The day was clear and the weather good. But not good enough to give us any views of the peaks that lay around us.

Amidst this warm morning we had our breakfast of porridge,sandwich,boiled eggs and bananas. Durgaji asked how we were holding up. Ishita Didi was feeling a bit sick and she did not have much for breakfast. We suspected the food she had in our hike to Taktsang for her upset stomach.Then Satya was feeling a bit uneasy. We put this to the altitude. He was having problems getting acclimated. The rest of us were in good health. Abhishek was in high spirits, cracking jokes. Surpassing my expectations ravi was in excellent condition showing no signs of any fatigue or health issue. Then Amit too was at completely at ease. As for myself barring a couple of hours of headache the day before I was good.

 After that breakfast we started off for the days trek.The target for the day was to reach a campsite known as Jangchulakha at 3385MSL.
Rhododendron Flowers
We retraced our steps to the monastery we took the day before and walked past it to catch a trail.This trail passed through a thick forest.We walked through this for some time to emerge into an area where the rhododendron flowers were in full bloom.The flowers shone bright blood red against the dull background of brown and black. Durgaji plucked one and casually put in his mouth.He was munching on it as I looked on with amusement.He urged us to try one. Barring Amit and myself none of the others even showed any interest. I looked around a bit and plucked the one which looked a bit fresh.A bit hesitantly I put it in my mouth. It tasted a bit sour. I did not take another one and joined the others.

Right out from this rhododendron flower we walked into a landscape filled with thin tall trees protruding into the clear sky. They were devoid of any branches and leaves. They carried with them a most desolate and dry feeling.A short walk among them later we were back in the forest cover.

At one section we emerged from the thick forest cover into an opening by the side of a hill.Here the trail clung to the edge of the hill and the views from this point were spectacular.Layers of hills carpeted with the dark green foliage stretched till the horizon. This was a short section and once again we were enveloped by the trees all around.

We halted for lunch at 12 noon.Again the food was terrible. I almost choked on those thick rotis.
After lunch we started off again.An hour later I could spot our campsite far away placed in the middle of a clearing. There were not many trees around.It looked a bit like a meadow but with a smattering of bushes here and there. Repeating the previous day's routine we flung our bags on the sheet and laid down for a bit of a rest.

Satya taking a little break
After sometime we got up and chose our tents. It was still 2 in the afternoon and we had a lot of time on our hands. Some of us slept while others took strolls around the campsite. In the evening it started drizzling so most of the time was spent inside the tents huddled together chatting.Rains in the mountains is a wonderful thing.The spatter of the raindrops on the tent covers with the dark clouds gliding over the hills outside creates a hypnotic atmosphere.After a quick dinner we retired to our tents and were fast asleep in a couple of hours.
First view of our campsite

One of our tents

Quick Facts
Starting Point- Near Jele Dzong (3360MSL)
End Point - Jangchulakha (3610MSL)

Other Days Posts-
Hike to Taktsang Monastery
Day 1

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