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Auli – A trip gone awry Part 3

Hi, I am back from where I left off in part 2. So we were off on day 3 after breakfast to Auli. Villages were just beginning to stir and were waking up gradually.We left the beautiful, in fact the very beautiful scenery of Bageswar and Baijnath to the comparatively starker terrains of Gwaldum.

 

1614765239_1f295b3d3b_bIt had rained the previous weeks and the road was a lesser trod one so in patches the road was muddy and full of slush. My husband warned that if the car got stuck then I along with my niece (9 yr old )would have to push the car.Just imagine his audacity ! Maybe he was kidding but I took it seriously because if anything of that sort had happened then there would have been no other option but to do precisely as he had said. There was no other sign of civilisation for miles ahead.

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Said too soon! Why we had hardly gone a few kms when we came upon a bunch of rowdy boys dancing and celebrating holi. They pounced upon us the moment they saw us and no they did not colour us if you are thinking so, but demanded bakshish or money. An altercation followed. I screamed hysterically ( yes I am quite capable of dramatics) but boys will be boys and they simply did not relent and held fast. They sat on the road blocking our way due to which an impasse ensued. We were running late for the last ski lift to Auli. My hubby was about to give in when a military vehicle puled behind us. I went and complained to them but they indulgently asked us to pay the “cute boys”. We knew we had lost the battle and meekly gave in . We paid up and proceeded onward and from then on the pattern followed. A few km- group playing Holi– pay up- move on. I started grumbling about what a bad time we had chosen to travel. After 7-8 such celebrations I think God took some mercy on us. A magistrate’s vehicle joined us somewhere along the way near Karnaprayag and followed us till near Pipalkoti . Nobody dared to stop us next and we had a respite till some distance.

1615564848_114cb38078_bBut after Pipalkoti, it was same routine all over again but thankfully dusk had set in and there were fewer people on the roads. But again not-so-thankfully we were late for the last ski lift to Auli. We had a hotel reservation there and so the husband decided to attempt the road to Auli.  Till halfway he was managing fine but as we climbed higher we encountered snow over the road until we came upon completely snow covered road which was slippery and dangerous.  Reluctantly we had to turn back as there was now no way to reach Auli.  There went the hotel rent down the drain!  It was a day of loses certainly.  We again headed to the lift to request if they could bend the rules a bit and bend the lever a bit, but no they gave us quite a stiff response. Over and above it all they gave the very sad news that the ski lift would not be operated the next two days due to holi. AAARGH! I was never fond of holi and now you can understand how I was feeling.  The kid was devastated at the plans going awry and with a heavy heart and a light purse we headed to the tourism hotel run by GMVN at Joshimath.

1614723763_d07070b4b3_oThe accommodation was economical but not pleasing to me. I found them very gloomy. The workers warned us that the next day lunch and evening tea would not be served and breakfast would be served very early. Reason? what else? Holi! We told them that we intend to leave the next day as there was nothing else to be done but another travel advisory was issued that travelling in Holi near Auli was a very risky thing.  We were trapped and as there was no other way out of the situation, we went out late in the evening to shop for some dry food items like biscuits, wafers,fruits, bread, butter. My hubby bought a CD of Jumanji which was a good thing as you will come to later on.  We rang up our respective departments to extend our leaves for two more days and thankfully there was no problem from that side.

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Day 4- We woke up early so as to not to miss breakfast. I was tempted to join the people outside. Who knows we too could have earned back our losses , but that was just a thought. At around 10 am I discovered that hubby dear was running a temperature and my niece started having loose motions and vomiting too. (Oh God if that was your idea of keeping us occupied then sorry to say , I was not amused, I thought ) Somehow we managed to contain both the patients by afternoon. When both of them felt better, we watched the movie Jumanji and cheered ourselves up. Dinner was served early and it was a simple affair but we found it very delicious.  After having a discussion with a local guy who drove an SUV, we decided to give another shot at Auli by road the next morning.

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Day 5- Next morning we checked out promptly at 7 am and left for Auli.  The guy was good. He drove expertly over the snow and took us till about 1 km away from Auli as the snow was heavier over there. We had to walk the remaining km but finding the near impossible destination within reachable distance, every one’s spirits soared high and we went happily climbing the uphill road to Auli.  We spent around three hours over there. Unlike Manali it was purely a skiing destination. There was no snow tubing or tobogganing ; no pesky crowds and only ski enthusiasts were seen over there lugging their ski gear around. We looked quite out of place over there.  We too tried our hands ..err.. feet at skiing.  Slided ….pushed..fell…again slided…pushed…After few rounds of these we took our leave achieving our purpose. Another destination ticked in the Map. Another happy ending. Thank you God! Finally we started on our return journey which was thankfully uneventful.

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