Day 10. 25km. Chandra Tal (4107m) – Batal (3977m)

Posted: July 30, 2018 in Cycling, India
Tags: , , ,

It’s a hive of activity in the roadside hut. A stone wall with a plastic tarpolin roof, it epitimises warmth and comradary. Travellers come and go. They arrive shivering with cold, wet feet. They warm themselves up. Eat some food. Drink some tea. Tell some stories and continue on their journey. Batal – the roadside stop in the middle of a lonely road deep in the Himalayas.

The cosiness of Batal

The cosiness of Batal

I arrived here, like other travellers, wet and cold. It was raining. There was a head wind. My feet were wet from fording a few streams that were waterfalls across the road.

On the road I met 4 auto rickshaws bumping along. The road gets worse for me ahead, they said. Others have warned of this stretch – it’s worse than the rocky bumpy surface I’ve been navigating. Time to stop, and be fresh for the road tomorrow.

Batal

Batal

My humble abode is cool. A little hut. Actually it’s a stone wall with a plastic tarpolin as a roof. Inside there are heavy blankets, enough to snuggle up inside. I had an hour nap after lunch.

My humble abode

My humble abode

I spent the afternoon and evening chatting with all sorts of travellers. Indian trekking guides, people studying plants, people touring around, absorbing the surroundings.

This morning I made my way through the cold and wind to Chandra Tal – a beautiful high altitude lake. Clouds spent most of the time hanging over the surrounding mountains blocking the view. Occasionally the sun poked through, only to hide again a minute later.

Chandra Tal

Chandra Tal

Chandra Tal

Chandra Tal

Poem: Content

My nest is warm. I was cold. I piled the blankets on top of my shivering body and rubbed my legs together. I was still cold. I rubbed my legs together as a cardio workout, with vigour. And long. I stopped, gulping breaths of thin air. I had generated heat. My nest is warm.

My nest is protected. Outside the wind blows. My nest lies behind the stone hut out of the wind. The gusts of wind merely sway the plastic hanging from the roof, hiding the stone walls of my nest. My nest is protected from the wind.

My nest is dry. Outside I was wet. The rain was seeping through my clothes. My feet were icicles. My dancing manoeuvre across the stones of the river failed, and I had trodden, shin deep, in the icy water. With both feet. Outside I hear the pitter patter of rain. But inside, my nest is dry.

My nest has food. The owners of my nest have a big vat of rice. They take off the lid, and the steam envelopes them in a cloud. They have bubbling dahl and hot vegetables. They have a wall of chocolate biscuits. And another of chips. My nest has food.

My nest has water. On the tables of the owners’ of my nest are jugs and jugs of beautiful, fresh water. My nest has water.

My nest has smiles. My nest’s owners are happy. Laughing. Smiling. On the wall are newspaper clippings. They have won prizes – best tourism awards. They are here at the bottom of a high mountain pass. Rocky, bumpy, dreadful roads for miles and miles in all directions. Outside the elements are harsh, but here my nest is warm, and I am happy.

Comments
  1. Eliza Waters says:

    You are tough, I’ll give you that! I expect, after the deprivation, the comfort of home is all the sweeter.

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