How it feels to celebrate your birthday at Chadar
Chadar Trek – Day 3 – 7th Feb – Tibb Cave to YogmaDho and back to Tibb Cave
Again the night sleep was not that good. I just flipped right and left and tried to get some sleep.
When I woke up in the morning, I just shook the tent , to check if it had snowed. Zzzrrrrrrrrr – the snow fell off the tent. It was a special day for me (My bday) Shivani was the first one to wish me.By then bhaiyya came to serve chai, I opened the tent and saw that it was snowing. There was approximately 4 inches of snow outside the tent. I immediately took my chai and came out of the tent.
Whooooo!!! Beautiful!! I was experiencing snowfall for the first time and that too on my birthday…. It was a wonderful feeling. I went further ahead beyond the tents, my trek mates were already playing in snow. The first thing I did was to write ” Happy Birthday Pattu ” in the snow. I told Sunil to click a picture, while he was even writing birthday wishes to some of his friends. While clicking he said ” Your nickname is Pattu right ? “. I said Yes. It didn’t occur to him that it could be my birthday, and he thought I was just randomly taking a pic like that. Lol
Then, Arun came , he clicked a pic in his mobile too and asked if it was my birthday, and he wished me. And then at the bf , everybody wished me. It felt good. It was my dream to be in the mountains during my bday. And here I was living my dream. And snowfall was a bonus. It was still snowing.
As it was continuously snowing from the previous night, the layer of snow had masked the chadar (frozen Zanskar river) which made it difficult to assess the ice condition. So our trek leads decided that we won’t be going till Nerak, but instead we will go till YogmaDho and then return back to Tibb cave the same day. So, we would be camping at Tibb for one more night.
There was more snow today , and it made it easy for us to walk. We were walking faster than the previous days. In between there were places where the Chadar was broken, and we had to cross the river. That was adventurous and thrilling. However our gumboots saved us from getting wet.
In between, we stopped . Break time. Meanwhile my trek leads and my trek mates made snow cake for me. How much better could it get.? Omg!! I was blessed enough So we did the snow cake cutting and there was a snow shower instead of bday bums.
And then we started again towards YogmaDho. On the way, while our trek leads and one of our trek mates – Kamal had gone further to check if it was ok to proceed or should we return back from that point, we were clicking pictures.
Adi : ” Hey bday gal… Baare photo tekkolana…” Hearing this I went to him and there were two other gals from the other trekking group, who heard this and they wished me too. I was in the middle of mountains, and there were unknown people wishing me on my birthday. It felt amazing. After walking for a while we reached YogmaDho. We rested there for a while, again playing in the snow and that is when our Beautiful Sunil became Barf Baba. It was my bday, and instead of bday bums , this time I got almost buried in snow… My best birthday ever!
All happy and done, we started again heading back to Tibb cave. We had completed 50% of the total trek. I did want to go till Nerak falls, but then our trek leads told us that it was risky. So it’s fine. We made it till YogmaDho. It was almost 1pm I guess. As usual I was among the last benchers in this trek. Arun was like 4 steps ahead of me and behind me was my trek lead – Happy ji. It was that part of the stretch where the ice had melted a bit. Arun had walked on the same path just before me. I kept my right leg front and…. Bang!!! The ice beneath my leg breaks and I am in freezing cold water. By now there was water until my thigh level. Arun turned to hear the sound of the breaking ice . Happy was closer and he rushed to me. Initially he was not able to lift me up. He dropped his bag, and with all his effort he lifted me. I was feeling the chillness all over. He first removed my gum boots and socks and rubbed my feet. G for Gangu gave me the extra socks. My hands and legs were numb, my pants were freezing cold.
To avoid contact between the skin and pants, I put the pants outside the boots. I sat there for a while and started walking again. As I walked, the gum boots were rubbing against my skin. My skin was burning. We stopped for lunch. I quickly had lunch and started back again. I just wanted to quickly reach the tents and change my clothes. But then, I was not able to walk faster. This was the slowest pace in the entire trek. I asked Tanzin how far it is , he said 2 kms. I started calculating and motivating myself, ok.. 2kms = 5 rounds in Bangalore University ground. I can do it !! This is not too much. I can finish it off soon.
I kept on walking with a hope to reach our tents soon. After every turning I hoped to see our tents, but then, that was not the case. By now I had asked Tanzin some 5 times about the distance to be covered. Arun saw that i was struggling too much to walk and he helped me through. He walked with me, talking and distracting me from the pain. I did not wanted to rest in between because that would ultimately delay the time we reached our tents. I just kept walking and walking. This last 2 kms stretch felt like 200 kms. Finally I could see our blue tents. I walked that last 100mt stretch a bit faster and reached our tents. I changed into fresh clothes, Had a cup of hot chai and felt good a bit. Huff!! That was Zanskars gift for me,on my bday An experience that nobody else got.
Thank you Zanskar for keeping me safe, while you gave me thrilling experiences and memories which I will carry with me for the rest of my life!!
In the evening, we spent time playing “Contact” and while we were in the dining tent, Jigmigji entered to make an announcement. He starts saying – “Aajbahut special day haihamareliye, we have completed half of our journey and also aajshwetakabdayhai. Hum cake to nahibanasakteidhar,isliye jo bhi hum , jo limited cheezeinhainuss-se hamara staff ne unkeliye pizza banayahai. Abhi hum log pizza cutting karenge”
I was surprised. I mean –Are you serious ?!!! I really don’t know what to say. In the middle of no-where I get to cut pizza on my bday!!omg!!! I couldn’t ask for more on my birthday… I was speechless. Lot of thanks to everyone
After pizza we had our dinner and then we enjoyed our campfire. It snowed the whole day and it was still snowing. And we had a campfire in front of us. What an amazing way to celebrate your birthday at chadar frozen river trek!
I am just thankful from the bottom of my heart. Feels really really blessed to have experienced all of this !!!
Trek Mates: Arun kumar Selvan, Arun Bala krishnan, Manoj Elango, Shwetha Rao, Aditya Gundanna, Veena Pandith, Shivani Singhal, Gangadhara Murthy, Sunil Kumar ,Raveendar, Narendira, Sarah, Priyanka, Kamal, Madhava Rao.
Trek Leads : Happy, Tanzin, Jigmig
Kitchen Staff + Porters : Tashilawang, Logzanglundup, Rinchin, Thukstop, Lobsanima, Olden, Singay, Stinzinwangbo , Tsayang, Deskyong, Gyalsanaksho, Tashi, Lobzangshey