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June 22nd, 2019

Back to the heat and dust of the big city

So, my wonderful Big Adventure is over.

Panpatia Col and Parvati Col have been climbed.

We did it – through thick snow & heavy hailstorms & sleeping on ice & super cold weather, as well as a million other moments of breathtaking beauty & fun & laughter & drama & team work & great new friendships.

In my case, there was also lots of wimpish, exhausted behaviour, as I tottered slowly into camp, almost always the last, at the end of every day.

I am still processing the whole journey and my own sub-par performance, and will write more at length.

I’ll also share more photos.

But for now, the kit bag has been unpacked, the photos downloaded, and I am taking it very easy.

I look terrible (even worse than usual, in case you were wondering!), with swollen ankles and peeling skin, and a tendency to fall asleep every few hours. I’m also still coughing up the dust of the nightmarish drive down to Haridwar through mammoth road construction projects.

Back in the brutal heat of Delhi, it’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were shivering in sub-zero temperatures, gratefully drinking mugs of hot soup to keep warm, swathed in layer upon layer of thermals.

For those of you privileged, like me, to have been allowed to glimpse something of the majesty of the Himalayas, you will understand how difficult it is to come back down to earth.

Memories of miles of snow-capped peaks and unending vistas, of the silence of the mountains, of the dazzling night skies…these are the moments that will be cherished for ever.

Long after the blisters have healed and the trekking gear has been packed away, it is those moments of breathtaking splendour that will remain.

I am truly grateful that I am sorta/kinda fit enough to be able to explore such wild and challenging places.

Now, though, it’s time to process things a little more, and, as our team leader Sanjeev Ganju told us on out last night in camp, to reflect upon our performance and how we fared.

And, of course, to start planning The Next Big Adventure 🙂

I travelled, as ever, with the one and only White Magic Adventure Travel who are, for me, simply the best in the business. I’ll post an updated review of the company and its service in a day or so, but let me tell you that in the 6 years since I first travelled with them, they have only gone from strength to strength.

More anon.

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