Woke up early and did some last minute packing. Everyone was really excited about the trek, given that we were bored for the last 2 days staying in Kasol. We had break fast and packed lunch in our boxes. We then were briefed for a while before we were flagged off on our way to Sarpass. Like always the next two batches at Kasol gave us a sendoff by clapping. Its a great feeling when you take off on a 9 day trek and people giving you a standing ovation. I felt very energetic and was in good shape thanks to the gymming i had been doing for months now.

In half an hour time we crossed Kasol and was on the way to Grahan where we had our first camp. The initial part of the journey was along the stream that meets the Parvati river @ Kasol. People told me we could find Charas there but i had no clue how it looked like. I gave up on looking for those and took up the responsibility of the sweeper for 3G group. The initial part was an easy trek for 3 hrs, until we reached the 3km mark by noon. We had lunch and since we were at the start of the group, we decided to wait for others. We expected to reach Grahan in an hour and half and wasted a lot of time by the stream.

Soon the path started to wind up and the gradient started getting very tough. The sun was directly beating on us and we found it very difficult to climb. The next Km or so we could do it only in an hour. We reach a small tea stall on the way where the villager told us it was only 15 minutes to Grahan. I could see a bend far ahead. Foolishly i assumed that was Grahan and started my way. It took me an awful 30 minutes to get there only to realize Grahan was no where to be seen.

I started to worry if i really had lost my way! I had no option but to keep going. Only Polls was ahead of me but no where to be seen. I turned back i couldn’t see either ninoy or jishnu who were trailing me. With Altitude the sun was getting on us harder. But the mind blowing scenes from the top of the entire valley spurred me on. When ever i was tired i used to look at the pine trees, the snow capped peaks; listen to the birds chirping and the constant hustling and bustling of the water. That spurred to keep on. Soon i caught up with Polls and met a villager passing by. He then said Grahan was half an hour from where we were!! An hour after the previous one said 15 mins!!

We kept on going and half an hour later there was still no Grahan!! We then decided to wait for others to come and when Jishnu and Ninoy came by we walked and walked again for 30 more minutes and we finally reached Grahan! Just at the entrance of the village there was a small patch of grass where we took a small nap savoring nature’s beauty. 45 minutes later Bhargav, Synti and Rena came by. Rena had given up for all goodness’s sake and synti most surprisingly also was struggling. We started from there and it took us a good 20 minutes to reach the camp in the village. It was around 5 by the time we reached the camp. We had hot soup and good dinner and retired to our tents dreaming of what was up for store next. The very first day we had 2 of our champs giving up!! Strange..

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