Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New Year’s eve trip

Luke George Haokip, guest blogger
Photos: Bhaskar Thyagarajan

A six-hour train journey from Delhi to Haridwar ensured we got just about enough sleep before we embarked on a 3-hour Jeep ride to Camp High 5 at 4.30 am. We halted for a much needed sweet hot tea after 2 hours and by the time we got on the road again, dawn hit upon us and we could see the faint tracings of the mountains. When we reached the sleepy camp it was a glorious bright morning.

To get to the campsite we needed to go off-road towards the banks of the River Alakananda, which ran parallel to the road we had been following. Rows of tents welcomed us - and very soon we had 3 camp supervisors greet us and offer to carry our bags to our respective tents. The tents had attached loos with running hot and cold water. And we had electricity 24x7 – which meant I could keep my phone and laptop charged. The camp area had over 40 tents, plus many more tents for staff, two dining areas and a kitchen.

Three days were spent in Camp High 5 over the New Year weekend. By the second day, we were a bunch of 20 people having lazy breakfasts and sitting in the sun by the river in lounge cane chairs, reading or snoozing and having long conversations, while the more ‘active’ ones went for rafting on the Alakananda.

We then congregated over lunch and regaled each other with our experiences.  At the main dining area, there was a pucca gazebo with nice sitting areas and beautiful framed photographs. It also housed a room with a huge LED TV with satellite connection – so one could, if one so pleased to, catch up with his or her favourite sport. We were left to our devices till tea-time in the evening.

As the sun started to set, the bonfire was lit and like fireflies we all congregated around it with our guitars, percussion instruments and voices. This went on till dinnertime and much after. That is how we ushered in 2012.