Everyone was excited. All were going to go home today, after 2 and a half days of solitary confinement. Life had indeed come to a standstill and as there was not much anything more left to do at Nako. Whatever the village offered, was seen and experienced. There was nothing much in the village except the Monastery and the lake. The lake at Nako is one of the attractions during the month of Jan and Feb, when it is completely frozen and it just adds to the beauty of the village.
Our height of laziness was such that even though we remained at the same place for 2 whole days, not once did the thought arise to go and see the mandatory places. It is only today, our last day here,that we thought of visiting the place before we are long gone. It was a late morning for us since we had a very good sleep yesterday. Plus, we had pulled the curtains over the windows so the the morning light wont disturb us. Water was available in plenty, it was just that it was not running through the taps and we had to fill in from the huge buckets kept outside. We didn’t take bath and instead went outside to the same place like yesterday for breakfast after finishing our daily chores. The sun had nicely come up which forced us to wear our shades. We purposefully sat outside so that we could warm ourselves up. Cold was still prevailing. We started off with tea which was followed by hot parantha will generous amount of butter. We all had 2 servings each.
After the breakfast we had a quick detour of the Nako lake, which we went walking and were literally fascinated by the stone carvings kept alongside the circumference of the lake. We could not decipher it, may it was some kind of holy chants which were inscribed on them. We clicked the mandatory pictures and returned back to the hotel.
Time was closing in on noon and we knew that the signal would arrive any time soon. And to be prepared for that, we packed all things up and readied our bikes. We checked out from the hotel, almost all of us did at the same time. The plan was to ride to the slide and be ready or be the first one to cross once it got cleared. Such was the rush as though some one was giving freebies inside a shopping mall. We paid 1500 fucking bucks to the hotel that too only for a night’s stay. The most expensive night in our trip. Though it was not that worth it, we didn’t have any choice. It was only through our friends advice that we had choosen this hotel and also for the same reason that everyone would stay together for a night. But, traveler like us, 1500 bucks is too much and it was almost 3 times what we paid for our last hotel.
We kicked off from the hotel around 11:30 amand went straight to the spot. We could see dust clouds which had rose far up high and concluded that the work was still going on. But, it was only like a finishing touch which was pending. Most of the work had been carried out since the morning. The GREFF had to be 100% sure before they let anybody cross that patch. To avoid the huge dust which was getting generated because of work, we all decided to stay back and avoid the sun. Now, since it was almost noon, the sun was really overpowering the cold which made us to remove our jackets and head for a shade.
We along with our few landsliders team passed the time sharing each others journeys and their respective next plans. We all invited each other to their respective home lands and everyone agreed on the point. We shared our phone no to each other and it was at this particular moment that it was decided to make an Watsapp group so that everyone who suffered from the slide would stay connected.
We got a whiff that the work was nearing its completion and to escape from the traffic jam, we decided to go ahead and put up near the slide. When we reached, the GREFF had still not given go ahead to cross and final debris clearing was in progress. There was also huge traffic from the opposite side. Both the parties were eager to cross.
Finally the moment came when the green flags went up and everyone almost cried in joy. Tears rolled down our cheeks. Life was back on track after almost 2 and a half days of derailment. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We went almost mad. It was a feeling of getting rescued from a island by someone. There was a huge praise for the GREFF people standing beside the road, both the parties waving to each other and saying good bye. We literally thanked each one of them for the hard work then put in for the last 2 days and ensuring we return back to our families safely. The crossing time was 2pm.
Last night, we planned to end the day at Kalpa assuming that we got released around noon. We rode almost non-stop after we got a green signal from the slide. We knew that after we crossed Pooh our speeds were gonna drop as there was almost 20 kms of off-road. We rode at the speeds of 10-15 kmph. Ahead of pooh, when we crossed moorang, we had to stop for almost 15 mins as the JCB was clearing the road of boulders. No one knew whether it was a landslide or the BRO guys had mistakenly caused the stones to fall down while carrying out their road widening work. When we first encountered it, we almost thought that we were doomed again for the rest of the day and that we would not be able to achieve our day’s target.
Just as we were back on the smooth tar roads, we stopped for a break. We were literally hungry and also it was time for lunch but, we managed ourselves with the biscuits we had taken back in Kaza. So it was just the biscuits and a bottle of water for lunch. We reached Kalpa, but it was still day and hence instead we decided to move ahead and the best possible place where we could find accommodation was Tapri. Tapri was around 30 kms from Kalpa. The roads were smooth and so this time also we reached earlier than expected and it was still not dark. As per our original plan, we had to ride from Kalpa to Shimla for the next day and here, since we had time we decided to stretch till Rampur, which was still 70 kms ahead. We knew we could make it in time and it was going to save a day’s travel which was required as Bimal ji planned to go to Ahmedabad on bike directly after reaching Chandigarh. So saving a day in travel meant he reached home early. For Karan there was no problem. For me it was problem, following the current plan I would reach earlier in Chandigarh than predicted which required me to halt there for a day before I caught my flight. Karan agreed to stay along with me till the time I was in Chandigarh and so it was decided to stretch till Rampur for the day.
The time was 6:30 pm and there was no sign of darkness. We had reached almost Jeori and the weather turned on us. We could make it from the huge clouds floating by our side. It started to rain. Today, was a really special day for us, having experienced all the three weather seasons in a single day. Glad that we were prepared for the rain. We stopped at a road side hotel for having tea and as soon as the tea was done, we covered all our luggage with plastic sheet which we had brought along with us. Even though we hadn’t predicted rain during this time of the year but we knew that, In mountains, it were they who controlled the weather and hence we had not taken any chance. Covering everything, we plodded ahead.
We reached around 8:15 pm in Rampur and it was not difficult to find a hotel for us. We easily got a road side located hotel and the best thing was that the parking was on the terrace and it was level with the main road. So, our bikes were safe and easy to take it on road in the morning. Only the worst part was that we had to climb down the stairs in order to reach the hotel room which was pain in the ass with all the luggage with us. Good thing was that the hotel person helped us in carrying the load till the rooms. We got a good deal, around 900 bucks for the night. It was a double bed and they were gonna provide us with an extra bedding.
Since we had skipped our lunch, immediately after placing all our luggage on the floor, we ordered sandwiches for a start along with chilled beer for Karan and Bimal ji. I hate beer and it was only for this reason that I did not drink today. Had it been some other drink, I would have definitely tried. It was a tiring sweaty day for us. Without having a good bath we were just not progressing through the day. After the bath, we ordered the dinner as it was getting late and the hotel guy requested us to order fast. We ordered chicken gravy along with veg subzi and roti. We devoured it in no time. We literally ate like we hadn’t in days. 2 of our Landslider friends were also staying the room opposite to it. We helped then to get one since they were still far away on the route and they had requested us to do the needful. We had texted them the address and they too had planned to stop in Rampur. Traveler helping Traveler friends, otherwise it would have been a huge task for them to find hotel in the area and they were in a car and not riding bikes like us.
They too had dinner in our room after we finished with our dinner. We just gave them company and chatted for a brief period of time talking on the subjects like trekking and backpacking through the Himalayas. In the meanwhile, we all exchanged our data from the hard-disks as we were completing our trips and tomorrow was going to be the last day. We did not want to drag it till the end.
After our friends dinner had finished, we thanked them for the company with us and wished them a safe trip ahead. It was time for us to sleep as we planned to start early tomorrow. We decided to end our trip by tomorrow evening and recollecting some good memories of the trip in our minds, we slept.
The data was so large that we had to keep the laptop ON for the whole night!