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Published: February 22nd 2018
After Sarkundi Pass trek in the Himalayas, my husband and I were now kind of getting addicted to trekking. We next planned for 'YHAI Mizoram trekking and caving expedition' the same year we did Sarkundi pass.This time my brother, cousin and a friend were also interested in joining us on the trek.So, we booked the trek for 5 people .
The day we were leaving for the trek, I developed flu symptoms 😞. I thought it would subside and decided to carry on with the plan.The 5 of us flew to Guwahati and were waiting for our connecting flight to Aizawal(capital of Mizoram).I was feeling very uncomfortable given the fact that the flu symptoms had now turned to fever.I somehow hung on with the help of paracetamols. We reached Aizawal airport in the evening. We hired a taxi from the airport to YHAI hostel in Luangmual. Since Mizoram is a hilly area, the cars that ply on the roads and also,the taxis, are mainly Maruti 800s that are best suited to drive on the hilly terrain.
We reached the hostel and checked into our rooms. One big room which had many beds was allotted to ladies and the another
for men.My fever had shot up and I was feeling very weak. I called my doctor back home and got an antibiotic prescribed. After dinner, I had an antibiotic and retired to bed.
Next day morning, as everyone woke up to get ready for the day's short acclimatisation trek(around the hostel to get a feel of Aizawal), I felt very weak and my temperature hadn't come down.I ate my breakfast and went back to sleep skipping the day's acclimatisation trek. The actual trek was to start the next day but I was apprehensive about my ability to continue. That day, I just rested all day. Fortunately, by evening, my fever had subsided and I was hopeful to make it the next day. But the antibiotics had left me completely drained.My taste buds had turned bitter and my stomach was upset. Day1
Today, we were to leave for Vaipuanpho, our first camp being there.As we were having breakfast in the hostel kitchen, the view of the beautiful valley across cheered me up for the day. Clouds covered the valley and since the day we had arrived, most of us were unable to figure out if was clouds that
covered the valley or the water flowing. It looked so magical
Ate our breakfast and we all assembled at the entrance. We were a group of 30 people from different parts of India that had come to explore Mizoram on foot.We had 3 YHAI trek leaders - Vla Tana Khanate, Vlms Hlimawma pachuau and Nghaka Chhngte. We simply called them Viala, Mama and Kaka. After our group were flagged off, we took a bus to a certain point from where we began our trek. We started walking along the road and after about an hour, we reached the Aizawal - Reiek road bridge. It was a hot day and the sun was in all his glory.We reached the campsite at Vaipuanpho by noon. The campsite was located in the midst of a forest which made it cooler from the otherwise hot weather. After lunch, some of them went to explore the nearby forest area and some of them rested in their tents. I was in the latter one. I was happy to have made it to the camp without having experienced any uneasiness or weakness from my recent recovery. Day 2
Packed our lunch and set off
towards our next camp - Ailawng. Today's trek was better than the previous day's, for today , we walked through the forest which protected us from the harsh sun before we reached a dried up waterfall site. There was hardly any water and the huge rock on which the water usually flowed, was dry. But at some places on the rock, there was moss formation and it was slippery.We had to be really careful while walking on the rock to get to the other side.We trekked through some wild banana plantations until we finally reached Ailawng campsite.
After lunch, we set off towards the most exciting part of the trek - caving expedition. Mizoram and Meghalaya states have numerous caves and people come here for caving expeditions. We were asked not to to take any valuables with us including the cameras. So we all just walked bare handed with some of us carrying head torches. At the entrance, there were few people waiting for us who would assist us in the caving expedition. It was a limestone cave .We walked in and it was pitch dark inside. Some of us who had got head torches , lighted them and
made our way through. We all walked in a line one behind another. We pushed ourselves through some narrow openings, jumped over rocks, climbed rocks and walked in narrow pathways. We were all helped by the skilled men who saw to that everyone was safe. When we emerged out of the cave after about 30 mins, we were all soaked in mud from the caves and it felt so refreshing. Caving was such an unique experience after all !
That night , a campfire was arranged and the group sang and danced around the campfire. Day 3
Next day morning, as we got ready, we got to know that the cooks in the kitchen were struggling with making pooris since poori was not a regular food in Mizoram and the cooks were not very comfortable in making them. So, the ladies in our group rolled up their sleeves and made pooris to fasten the process as it was getting late for the day's trek to begin.
My stomach hadn't completely recovered from the side effects of the antibiotics. So, to be on a safer side, I ate less and that did not give me enough energy
for trekking. So, I started getting tired easily.But thanks to my husband, brother and cousin, they would trek with me slowly giving me company as I struggled to keep up pace with the rest of the group.
Today, we trekked to Reiek peak.It was a beautiful sight from the peak.The peak offered a great view of the mountains .After having spent some quality time there, we trekked down to a Mizo model village in Reiek. We had our lunch and went to visit the Mizo model village. The model village housed bamboo huts and gave a glimpse of the modern day villages in Mizoram.
Later, the group started trekking towards the day's campsite at Hawlhhah. The trekking trail was amidst the bamboo bushes. Our trek leaders Mama and Kaka made some cool cups out of those bamboo shoots as they walked with the group. People in our group had them made beer mugs out of large bamboo shoots to smaller tequila cups from smaller bamboo shoots. Those guys were truly talented! It would take Mama and Kaka only a few minutes to make bamboo cups with their daggers ( a traditional Mizoram artifact).
I had a tough
time today walking from the Mizo model village to the Hawlhhah campsite. My feet were hurting because of the shoes and they hurt so badly that I took my shoes off and walked in a pair of Hawaii slippers for the rest of the distance.
Hawlhhah campsite was almost at the base of a hill amidst a thick forest.It was cold and by the time we reached the place, it had started drizzling. There were 2 large tents - one for men and one for women unlike the tents at other campsites. The ground was damp because of the rains and there were lights only in the tents. Outside, they had lit fire and we all had a jolly good time playing antakshari around the fire. Day 4
Today's trek was a shorter one. The next campsite was at Nghalchawm. We set off from Hawlhhah and reached a small stream that we had to cross on foot to get to the other side. Problem was the leeches. Kaka said that we had to be careful when crossing the stream and that it was infested with leeches. Now, most of them panicked! I, however, took my shoes off,
walked in the stream with the depth of the water barely half a foot. Some of them were so scared of the leeches that they took their time to cross the stream. Anyways, at the end of all this circus, nobody had found even one leech sticking to their feet. We trekked on and on the way,among the bushes, I saw strings knotted to form a circle and one loose end of the string laid on the ground. The other loose end of the string was tied to a small bush almost at the base, so that the circle formation was touching the ground.I wondered what that was and walked on. However, I started seeing more of these setups in the bushes and out of curiosity, I asked Mama what they were and he said they were 'rat traps' ! And why so many? Well, he said, to eat. What?? He said since Mizoram was a land of tribal people, they ate almost everything that moved.
We trekked along and after a while , reached Nghalchawm village. By now, I was low on energy and my shoes had started giving trouble again. My feet hurt badly. It was a
long lunch break that day.After a while, we started towards the campsite. I walked slow because of my hurting feet and we(me , husband, brother and cousin) were the last ones to reach the campsite!
That night, the sky was clear and was filled with stars. It was so beautiful! I was in awe because one never gets to see stars in Indian cities because of the pollution. Some of us just lay on the ground trying to spot the constellations. It was a star gazing night! Day 5
Today was the last day of the trek.We trekked and reached a hanging bridge . I was a little scared walking on the bridge because of the squeaking noises it made.Once we crossed the bridge, it was a short trek uphill before we reached the bus stop. Some of the members in the group walked to the bus stop straight but few of us walked down to the river and spent some time in the cold, clear water. Later, we trekked uphill and reached the bus stop. Took a bus to the hostel at Luangmual.
After lunch, Mama and Kaka took most of us to the local
market as we wanted to buy local handicraft stuff. Some of them left for Burma border. That night we had a music night at the hostel with all of us dancing to the music.
Next day.we flew back from Aizawal with a great memory of the unexplored land.
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