Day 34, August 17, 2017, Pandoh to Nagar
Distance – 84 kilometres
Duration -10 hours
On the night of August 16-17, 2017 while the main protagonist of the Solo Cycling Expedition, Sunita Singh Choken was fast asleep in the small Himalayan village of Pandoh, her younger sister Jen was in a bus travelling from Rewari to Manali where she would merry up with Sunita. “I do whatever Sunita does”, an excited Jen told us while discussing her plans to accompany her elder sister on the last most challenging leg of the expedition from Manali to Khardungla. A runner and a mountaineer, Jen will be trying her hand at long distance cycling for the first time.
Sunita left her hotel at Pandoh early as she decided to stop briefly at Pandoh dam before proceeding further. She met a early morning visitor who comes every to the dam every day before going to school-young and confident Saddam Hussain. The youngster was well expecting the reaction of amusement he got from Sunita on hearing his name . Sunita was further amused when this eight year old kid very ‘matter of factly’ told her that he would be able to accompany her till the end of the path but after that she would have to proceed alone.
It was a tedious uphill climb but the beautiful surroundings were a great solace. A girl bornto be in the mountains her dreams and aspirations
revolve around snow capped peaks and the ardous tracks leading to them. While cycling Sunita gets a lot of time to think and she already has a plan for her next two expeditions- one to an unnamed peak and the other to Manuslu which is the eighth highest peak in the world at 8,163 metres.. Sunita who has scaled Everest wants to climb all 14 peaks which are higher than 8000 metres above sea level. Her heart is set on the Manslu expedition scheduled for September 2017 but raising funds for it is Sunitas concern and she is looking for a sponsor.
By the time Sunita reached Kullu it was lunch time and all the uphill cycling had given Sunita quite an appetite. She had a sumptuous lunch and proceeded for Naggar. Her next stop was at Patli Kulh where she was pleasantly surprised to meet her mountaineer friend Manu who had come from Naggar to receive her and Jen. Jen and Manu proceeded to Naggar in a car while Sunita followed huffing and panting as she cycled uphill the fifteen plus kilometers from Patli Kulh to Naggar. The sisters spent the night at the home of their Uncle Shri Rana who is a retired Forest Ranger and has a nice comfortable house in Naggar where he has settled with his wife, son ( fondly called Masterji), daughter-in-law and grand children.
“ Its not only planting trees that is important. We need to ensure that they are planted in the right way, in the right soil, receive the right nutrients so that they grow into healthy trees. The same is true for children- the right values, the right education and the right food is needed to help them grow into good human beings.”