07: Feeling Human again in the Middle of Nowhere – Bhatra-Himni, India

Alpine meadow near Thaur to Bhatra-Himni

8 miles – 400 meters

After sleeping outside under the star laden sky, we woke up early to begin our hike back to a village. We plummeted hundreds of feet and then began to climb up and over valley’s. The trail that day was covered in forest making for unbearable bushwhacking until we hit a Balam.

We crossed into the villages field and passed a wedding party as we tried to find the “rasta” or the way back to the trail. Trails through these mountains disappeared into a maze of stone paths, fields, and homes when they got to a village, leaving us scrambling every time to figure out which of the hundred paths led back out of the village to the one that we had been on before.

We left the party under a huge purple, blue, and orange canopy which music and festivities to cross back onto the path. It led us high up on to a ridge as we talked about life back home. On the barren ridge, I looked out into mountains as far as I could see. There was no bustling city far below or roads to go back to.

Climbing a high ridge to get to Bhatra-Himni. Those mountains made me feel small.

Where was I? In the middle of somewhere thousands of miles from home. I felt free.

We dropped down to a blistering hot road coming from nowhere. Passing the migrant workers camp at its base. The road was six feet wide and cliffs plummeted off its side.

By the time we dropped down on the road to another bridge and climbed through a bigger village to the school we would stay at, I was exhausted. But I felt human again.

One of our group members backs went out on the second to last climb and he would leave the next day for medical care.

We all crowded into a wooden shelter to escape an evening thunder storm. It was the first 24 hours that I felt good. I was celebrating.

A rhododendron tree and village off in the distance down valley.

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