This post is part of the Binsar Travelogue. A group of six travel bloggers headed out on a 4 day trip to this beautiful Uttaranchal region.
On the 3rd day of our trip, we decided to rough it out. After getting pampered at the comfy rooms at the Club Mahindra resort, the call of the wild was too strong to resist. We asked Amarnath Bakshi, the resort manager, for suggestions and he told us exactly what we wanted to hear. An overnight camping in the woods. It got all of us quite excited.
And so, we headed up the hill towards dusk to a nice cleaning in the woods. When the manager said, “everthing will be taken care of”, he really meant *everything*. The tents were already pitched, the bonfire logs were stacked up, dinner packed and three enthusiastic guys to help out. A little too good for our liking. Personally, I would’ve preferred to lug the stuff, pitch our own tent, collect our firewood and cook our own food. But I guess its understandable. Most folks who come on vacation here are family type would like it easy and not many really want to sweat it out.
I’ve done quite a bit of overnight stays in the woods but never once in my life have I really stayed in a tent. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and glad that time had come. The remember seeing the tent bag at the ‘activity centre’, not any bigger than a small stuffed bag. To see that expand into a biggish tent that can comfortbaly have four people, surprised me.
Thankfully, it didn’t rain that night. Heck, it didn’t rain the entire week we were there. People said we were lucky. Apparently, it does pour. Rather heavily.
The hills can get quite chilly at night and the dew was heavy. If you stood long enough, you’ll find your head wet with dew. We huddled close to the bonfire, soaking in the warmth. While we had big logs for firewood, its the dry pine leaves that was used to rekindly the fire. Every time we put a handful of the dried leaves into the burning embers, it would burn rather instantly as if you poured a cup full of petrol. Now, I know how those forest fires that I had seen in TV rage with such ferocity.
There’s something about the hilly air that makes you ravenously hungry. We gorged on the food. The resort manager said that they won’t provide any non-vegetarian food because the smell of meat would attract unwanted visitors. I don’t think there were any dangerous animals around but realized that its the basic respect for the wild, just the same way we don’t play loud music or wear heavy perfume while trekking.
We spoke about our many trekking experiences. Then started antakshari, a favorite amongst the bollywood smitten locals. I knew as much about hindi songs as a fish knows about bicycles. So, played the background hummer for most part.
We retired around midnight. Each of us snucked inside warm sleeping bags. BTW, its my first ever experience in them. It was slightly claustrophobic but I had no choice with the cold.
We woke up early at day break and quickly started the bonfire for warmth. It did turn quite cold that night and I remember sleeping fitfully.
The morning air was amazingly refreshing and make you realize how much you miss this in the city.
Way beyond the mountains, were the himalayan peaks (not seen in this picture) that absolutely mesmerised us.
We helped ourselves to some hot tea and the firewood smoke gave it a special taste.
Before we decamped, we took a group photo for memory’s sake. From left to right, Prashanth, Arun Nair, Me, Shrinidhi and Arun Bhat. The overnigt camping was a memorable experience for me and the memories will stay with me for a very long time.