Boya and girls all ready for a picnic further down the road from Dharchula. Food & drink packed and a couple of Maruti Gypsies to ferry us. We set out with a lot of hope and expectation.

A short stop over at Dr. Susan’s clinic at the hospital managed by the army. A snake-bite tray. I recall, as a child, I was told to enter a room and check behind it’s door before I closed it behind me. There was always a chance of a snake and I lost count of the number of times Is creamed for Dad to come and get me. And he always did. Sigh. Good memories those.

A bit of a blood test for Dad and the beaming doctor who made my Dad. Most delightfully nice person ever! Dharchula is brighter because she is there.

We set out for the picnic and after being driven for over two hours, over no-black-top roads, we realized none of the old picnic spots existed. Everything had been washed away in the floods a year ago. While Kedarnath got all the media attention due to it being a popular tourist spot, Dharchula neither got the attention, nor any of the aid. This is when the scale of devastation was equal if not more. While it is not fair to compare death and destruction solely on the basis of numbers, it was painful to see the remnants of washed-away homes and roads.

We decided to start driving back. A short and super bumpy and dusty ride later we realized none of us wanted to just go back without a picnic. So we looked at the roadside with our eyes peeled for a spot. Any spot. And then we saw it. A little way off the track was a Veterinary Hospital. It was closed but had a small spot on its right with a huge tree for shade.

At least one happy bunny above and the huge tree – above right – turned out to be a walnut tree. I’d never seen one earlier.

Some massages to the oldies and a few bottles of beer later we did a bit of jumping photographs that you’ve already seen earlier.

Above and below, Mom making sure we believe her that this is indeed a walnut tree! A squashed raw fruit lay on the ground and she smashed it up further to reveal the kernel to us. Proof.

Boys be chilling. Bottle of pickle being tackled bottom left.

Food! Onions for the win! Plain paranthas, aloo ki sabzi, mango pickle and so many onions!

I had carried my Fab India blue silk curtains to use as picnic spreads. While we didn’t find any riverbeds to use these curtains, we did find a mound of sand where I promptly laid them on.

Them doggies always be welcome.

Nice spot above but too much population to afford a picnic. Water was crystal clear. On the opposite spectrum was the water of the Kali river. Muddy.

The dam too was a pity. The level of water miserably low.

The army had laid down metal bridges to co ver up washed away roads like the one shown above and below.

The drive back to base was a little better than. After washing off all the dust, I decided if I didn’t photograph the night sky tonight, I wouldn’t do it because we were leaving the day after and I’d want to sleep on time the next night. Below, some night photographs of Nepal across the river from where we were staying at Dharchula.

Previous stories from this journey to and from Dharchula here.

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