We started our trek from here. It was around 10 am. This was the start of our core trek. We walked on zig zag road and as we climbed we could see and guage the Malana dam. The feeder stream flowed close to the road which brought water from the melting snow from the mountains into the dam. Ocassional cars and jeeps passed by carrying locals including foreigners, giving us suspicious or starry looks. May be we had become conscious after getting bombarded with Malana village stories !!!! They moved on and so did we.
Clicking pictures on the way we reached what was the tunnel road in the mountains. We stopped here for some rest. The sign board outside the tunnel indicated it was landslide prone area. Crossing the tunnel road and another uphill walk, We reached a proudly proclaiming sign board indicating way to Malana village. It was instant celebrity signboard with almost everyone gunning to click pictures with it. It was another resting point for us.
From here we climbed steps which was leading us into the coniferous forest. Someone initiated an argument that we would be crossing Malana village today while the map at base camp showed it would be on 2nd day of core trek. Everyone pitching in their own version. We moved on with the argument. We came across a bridge over a stream of gushing water which was nothing but a huge log of wood. Some girls in the group needed helping hand while crossing it though not difficult. As we climbed our bags seemed to be heavier suddenly, recollecting the words from camp leaders to avoid carrying things that was not required.
We had our packed lunch in middle of the forest but close to flowing stream. It was best place in entire trek for lunch. Under the shade of the tree as we sat and removed our bags, It was so much of a relief. Food tasted its best. I took a small power nap before our guide signaled to move on. We were constantly climbing up since we started our core trek. There was no sign of rain today and sun was out with its full might. Walking in the forest shade didn't pinch us but the moment we climbed in certain patch under the sun it used to suck the energy out of us. On one of our resting point there was one lonely hut. Wandered how a person would even think of staying here !!! They even had some land clearings on certain places for farming. As we chatted at our resting place a lady carrying a small kid came out of the house. She pointed towards wood stick that she wanted to sell. These sticks serve well as walking stick in the trek and was instant hit. She sold almost all of them. She spoke very softly and tid-bits of hindi. She was a Malana lady as she refused to take money from our hand and asked us to keep it down on the stone. I could capture her in my lens and today when I look at her portrait it is by far the best picture I have taken in entire trek. She had so much of a simplicity and innocence on her face with her cute little child hanging on her back in baby sling all the time.
Trek to camp Behali (contd: page 4)