The ride started around 5:30 am on 2nd April. We wanted to cross Meerut before the traffic nightmare began, but alas we had to endure it. Though, after this we were rewarded with nice, empty, inviting tarmac.... which we did full justice to :-) The outskirts of Haridwar was reached around 11:30 am, and we were also greeted with a traffic jam which stretched for as far as we could see. This was courtesy Kumbh Mela !!
So, for the whole length of Haridwar, we crawled along.... sometimes eating the fumes from various cars and sometimes dust. We emerged from this mela after an hour and then headed straight for Rishikesh.
We went to one of the numerous rafting agencies there and got ourselves a slot for 1 pm. This slot actually started around 2:00 pm, but was worth the wait !!!
Waiting for the rafts...
This was my first try at rafting... and it was simply mind-blowing !!! The rush you get when entering the rapids is superb!! Our raft had 9 people in it, 4 on each side and one in the center forward. We crossed 4 major rapids and 2 minor ones. The raft entering the rapid, foaming water splashing over our heads, we paddling with all our might to move ahead.... adrenaline pumping stuff !! It was after the third rapid that we were told by our guide to jump off the raft !! Most, including myself were a bit skeptical at first... but after the first jump... nobody wanted to get back on the raft !!!
After this adventure, we took our steeds to Dehradun for the night halt. And while munching on some delicious chicken, it was decided to start for Mussourie at 4:00 am next day. This time we followed the timelines (almost...) and by 4:15 am were on the road.
Riding those twisties at night is addictive... and I am highly addicted to that now :-) While going up to Mussourie, I missed a turn and went straight ahead. Having realized this, the sane thing would have been to turn back and take the right path. But, I had this sudden urge to reach the top of the hill ..... and I continued on the same path.
Riding on that path at night, realizing that maybe I am the only person on this side of the hill right now brings out a mixture of feelings.... from confidence that I can do this .... to a bit of fear of the unknown ... to full concentration on riding and a heightened awareness of the surroundings. That hour spent riding alone is something I will cherish forever. I finally reached the top of that hill and surrounded with dense trees, the wind blowing through and the various sounds of nature, I stayed there for sometime.
While going up, I had seen a board announcing a restaurant up there. When I finally reached the place, I found that it had closed down quite sometime ago !!! At that moment, just one thought came to my mind... "Not good, time to head back!!". Quite a creepy feeling it was... all alone on a hill, following a marker to a restaurant, only to realize its closed down and nobody's there !!!
After this went back down, took the correct route and reached the meeting point in Mussourie. Then went on to Lal Tibba, the highest point in Mussourie and clicked away for sometime :-)
Dawn breaking through...
The highest point
After spending quite sometime here, we went down and headed towards Sahasra Dhara. This is 14 kms from Dehradun, known for its aromatic clear water which is said to cure skin ailments. One look at the crowd there, and I was wondering if people would cure their ailments or exchange it with each other in the flowing waters !!!
This concluded our sojourn in the hills and we rode back, each rider with thoughts of going back to the hills... again and again :-)