Woke up very early today, mainly due to one of our new found canine friends. It was this morning that Barky was named, after keeping everyone awake for most the night by barking madly at anything that moved. As Tom and I crawled out of our tent we discovered that Deefa had slept pressed right up against the front of our tent, sheltering from the overnight rain. We had another great breakfast, before setting out for the day’s trek. We were heading up Anjani Manhadev towards a Shiva linga (a shrine to Shiva.)
Most of this trek was on snow and involved crossing a lot of streams on our way, some by very wobbly wooden bridges. The climb took us to around 2400m and we were shown the final path to the Shiva linga. This particular Shiva linga is made of snow and attracted the interest of a local holy man. As a religious site one could not wear shoes for the final stretch – as that final stretch was over snow, none of us were particularly willing to visit. Instead we went into the nearby temple that had been set up in honour of the original holy man.
Whilst waiting to go inside a couple of the group decided to have a go at skiing. his was a very different experience to anything that I have seen in Europe. For a start the boots were one size fits anyone who wants a go, secondly the guy renting the skis held on to the skier and ran along the very shallow slope with them!
Meanwhile Tom, myself and one of the students went inside the temple. When we came back out two of the students had built a snowman, which Tom proceeded to carry back down the mountain.
As we started our descent to a boulder field the rain and snow started to close in and the guides decided that it would be safer to head straight back to camp.
That afternoon Tom and I headed back out in the rain to Solang village to sit in a dry, if not warm, building to have a bite to eat and a drink at the Italian Pizza Hut. When we got back the students had woken up and decided to use a discarded CD to try and decapitate Snowy. When they had managed that a game of spade ball started, including the camp helpers who were with us.
Woke up early again after a fairly bad night’s sleep, thanks to Barky’s efforts as our guard dog!
After breakfast we packed up camp and watched as the guides and helpers loaded all but our day bags onto the mules. As they were finishing we set off on a short hike to our next camp site on the Peer Panjal mountain range. We crossed the River Beas yet again, as well as several small streams, as we made our way up the opposite side of the valley to campsite number 3.
When we arrived, and after clearing some of the snow, we set up camp at 2553m just on the snow line. As we were setting up camp Barky kept up his efforts to defend us from anything that came near. Unfortunately this time it was crows that he was scaring off and they very soon worked out that Barky wasn’t the cleverest of dogs, they kept flying low to the ground as he chased them then swooping upwards. Once or twice they flew over the edge of a rather steep drop and Barky flung himself after them with all limbs spread!
Very soon it started to rain and the rest of the day was spent in the dining tent and our tents trying to stay day and warm up.
Sidenote – Bathroom facilities
The toilet facilities were not the most luxurious. At the campsite in Solang and the day 6 campsite we had a single toilet tent erected over a very basic ‘Indian squat toilet.’ The name kind of gives the detail!! On the bright side – it had an amazing view.