We wake up early, have breakfast of alu paratha and omlette and head towards Dhaukri, which is an 8 km steep climb. I unpack my tripod, binoculars, extra clothing, sleeping bag etc. and leave it back at Loharkhet, this relieves me of a couple of kilos. The road to Dhaukri is a dense forest and steep climb for 8km. We are told there are wild animals found here, mainly antelopes and snow leopards etc. Next moment we find a skull of an antelope lying around (most likely a leopard’s prey). The day is pleasant and the forest seems very calm and lonely, except for the chirping of birds, the shrill of kites and the sweet sound of flowing streams. We walk for around 4 hrs, every turn seems like it is Dhakuri pass, but we are nowhere close. We are already exhausted and even if we make it to Dhakuri early on, it is still another 8km from Dhakuri to khati where we would get to rest. The thought itself was very tiring. After walking 5 hrs we reach Dhakuri and the first sight of snow capped peaks, and a vast mountain range is a feast to the eyes. Dhakuri has an amazing view and I would recommend one spend as much time as one can over here.
After a glass of tea and some biscuits, I shoot an impressive black sheep dog and we move on. Dhakuri to Khati is mostly downhill, but the weight on the back makes it very tiring. Enroute we find a great spot with a stream flowing and surrounded by a couple of big rocks, perfect setting to brew up some tea. This is the first time when we try out Rajeev’s portable army stove and the hexamine fuel tablets, we move on. My hip joint starts aching a lot and since the shoes don’t have enough good padding, the heel and the toe hurt with every step that I take. For Rajeev, it’s his right knee bothering him.
We manage to reach Khati after a long struggle, our only worry now is the availability of an ice-axe and a pair of good shoes for both of us. Reaching Khati we enquire for both but no luck. We drop our sacks into the KRC guest house, I take a warm shower, this is soon going to become a daily ritual for me. Reach the rest house, hot shower, heavy dinner, put on Moov all over the aching body, pop a painkiller, leave the rest to tomorrow and crash into bed. That night Harak Singh cooks for us, guess what ? potatoes again. From Loharkhet onwards the only vegetables available are potatoes. Another option is eggs, but only if you are lucky. Reaching Khati we find out that there is no place where we can make a phone call, so the next phone call would be at least 4 days away. next page >>