Day 4 — Chhota Dara (Rest Day)
We woke up to clear skies and sunny weather, but there was some bad news. Mountaineers do not usually move after heavy snow. Especially after 24 hours of snow. A fresh coat of powder snow covers the mountains and thus makes the area susceptible to powder avalanches and rock fall, when the ice melts. As such, today will be a rest day. We also calculated that it will take another 2 days for us to reach our next destination, Batal, as the snow would slow our movements significantly. We were already behind schedule, and we did not expect that we would take 2 days to reach Batal. Things were made worse when we were forced to take a rest day today due to the bad weather yesterday. After taking all these into consideration, we decided that we will turn back tomorrow.
It was indeed quite disappointing that we will not fulfil our mission, but I guess that’s life. Sometimes, the weather just gets the better of us. We could have never predicted all these things. Factoring in more days would make it inefficient as we will carry too many things. We did our math, we planned for this, we tried our best, and we move on!
Always look on the bright side of life! Think positive. As Marcus Aurelius said: “Bad luck borne nobly is good luck.” We couldn’t have gotten a better situation to apply that philosophy. The mountains does build character, and this can be used in many situations in our studies or work. I took a walk outside and absorbed the beautiful scenery around me. A fresh coat of snow everywhere. It was pure white. Beautiful.
A fresh coat of snow blankets the valley
Mountain range East of the lodge
Mountain range North of the lodge
Mountain range South of the lodge
Mountain range South of the lodge
24 hours of snow has covered the area in 2 feet of snow
Our lodge surrounded by snowy mountains
What else do you do on a bright sunny day? LAUNDRY!!!
I guess there’s only this much scenery you could enjoy. Walking around the snow for 2 hours. Sitting on random rocks here and there. Well, we needed to pass some time. I found some interesting tracks on the roof, that led to the ground. I suspected an Alpine Ibex hopped onto the roof, jumped onto the ground, walked around our lodge, and scooted off into the mountains. I video-ed the tracks and made some commentary, like some National Geographic show. I’m not really sure if I was successful, but I sure hope it gets compiled into a nice montage! I continued filming videos with the GoPro after that and filmed some publicity videos for the school and for the club. Now we were really bored. What else do you do when there’s so much snow?
*Knock, Knock*. Elsa? Do you wanna build a snow man? No Anna, I wanna build a snow igloo! Okay that was a parody of the movie Frozen by Disney, but yeah, that’s what went through my head when I thought of building an igloo. And so began our construction of the snow igloo. We began by piling snow into a huge mound. The standard procedure is to put backpacks in the middle, lay a ground sheet over, and throw snow over it. Well our backpacks were nice and dry, so I guess we will just pile the snow and dig out a cave.
Piling up the snow for a snow igloo
Digging out the snow from the mound of snow
Snow igloo complete! With help of utensils of course
It was close to dusk when we finished the snow igloo. We sat on the ledge to enjoy the sunset and the mini avalanches that were happening randomly. It was starting to get cold, and I thought about the beauty of mountains. It’s hot enough in the day to get sun burn and heat stroke, cold enough in the night to get frost bite. Harsh conditions indeed.
Man VS Mountain
The sun set behind the mountain range far in the west. That was a cue for us to go in. We went into the lodge and got into our sleeping bags. Dinner was served and it had the taste of kerosene again. The vegetables are permanently contaminated. We really need to ensure that this mistake does not happen again.
Kerosene tainted food 🙁