Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
Rupa Gandhi, Noida, Posted Date: 14th November 2008
'Why didn't you ask me?' was the constant refrain I heard upon my return from the awe-inspiring.....
'Why didn't you ask me?' was the constant refrain I heard upon my return from the awe-inspiring trip to the high mountain passes of Himachal. I had booked my trip to Lahaul and Spiti and was then looking for people to join me, for good company and to share expenses. After having tried my luck with the closest of friends I knew, who couldn't make it for varied reasons, such as demanding jobs, too much travel on the roadócant take it, too expensive, and no access to civilization---how can one live without mobile coverage? I finally asked one of my most non-adventurous friend, whose idea of holidays was a cushy stay in a good hotel and lots of shopping.
Having trekked over most of the Garhwal Himalayas in my younger days and now working with a group of hotels in Uttarakhand, I have always been a 'mountain' person and an adventurer at heart. I often think of people rushing off to Bangkok and Europe on holidays as a crazy waste, just as much as they think I am crazy to take off on trips that literally leave you gasping for air. This friend, Arti jumped at the idea as it sounded poles apart from what she had been doing all these years, and what better way to unwind than switch off from civilization and drink lots of wine in the company of someone who appreciates the merits of alcohol the most!
This is the story of a trip that two women took, where most men would not dare. Arti, a stock broker from Delhi, a Delhite to the core, never having roughed it out and never ventured beyond Vaishno Devi on a mule. Rupa, yours truly, a qualified Chemical engineer, now in the adventure tourism and hotel industry purely for the love of the mountains, an adventurer to the core, having trekked the high Himalayas since 1979, and praying to God to keep my knee joints in condition good enough to continue such trips as long as the Himalayas exist.
Enter Daulat Deshmukh of Overlanders Speciality vehicles, with who I had already booked the Freedom campervan that was going to be our vehicle and home for the trip to Lahaul and Spiti. Daulat was extremely apprehensive of two city women travelling over uncharted and untested territories and he decided to follow us at a safe distance in a local vehicle with his engineer Krishna for any troubleshooting. The trip was a breeze as far as the campervan was concerned and the only trouble-shooting required was brainstorming on how to finish all the wine and a thorough cleaning of the refrigerator that had scrambled egg in all its crevices after some eggs got knocked around on a rough ride to Tabo. More of that and the wine later.