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Kayaking in Alakananda and Pindar

We drove from Tapovan, Rishikesh to Shivanandi Lodges via Devprayag and then along side Alakananda for about 150km. We stayed in Shivanandi Lodges owned by one of India’s best known kayaker – Shalabh Ghalaut.

I had a bad headache and slept almost the whole time until the next morning. Then we drove to our starting point in Alakananda – Birai.

I was so anxious because this was a new kind of river for me. And unlike the Ganga, in this river you need to have a quick and solid eskimo roll and be good at catching eddies. I wasn’t great at both. The Ganga had kind of spoiled me. I would peacefully take my time to roll and never care about catching eddies since the Ganga is so forgiving.

We put in after breakfast.

Team – Tsering Chotak, Dave Thompson, Sudip Sarkar, Arjun Sagoi and Jogi Nayak.

I had absolutely no feel of the river and had less control over the boat and I was just going everywhere the current was taking me. I hadn’t yet connected with the river and was yet to understand it. Soon my friend Sudip had his first swim. All the tension got to me and I ended up swimming as well.

I feel a positive attitude is very important in the river. It’s important to remain calm and keep control of the boat. The swim actually kind of made me feel good. It got me pumped up and I felt more warmed up and less tensed. I felt a lot more confident and in tune with the flow of the river.

Sudip decided to leave since he wasn’t feeling so good and Stanzin my buddy replaced him! I had decided I was going to do all the rapids. If not now then when?

We had a really good run further down. Ran a number of Grade 3 and 4 rapids. Adrenaline really kicks in when you have no clue what’s coming ahead and you have to react quickly to the obstacles that are coming. Since I was paddling with the pros, we hardly scouted the rapids since they all knew the line. But for me everything was new and I had to think on my feet in the rapids!

One thing this trip really improved in me is the ability to read a river and make decisions really quickly while in the rapids. There’s absolutely no time to think twice. It’s Yes/No and go!

And one more thing I learnt is that kayaking is not just about running a rapid straight. It’s a lot about hopping from one safe eddy to another. Especially in creeking.

And that’s what I’m going to focus on until the next trip!

Ran the well known rapids Jail and Hilary falls to complete the trip at Nandaprayag.

There are few things more satisfying than completing an intense Kayaking trip safe and sound. It’s a blissful feeling to eat some hot and tasty food. Trust me any food tastes awesome after a river trip!

And the adventure didn’t end! Next day was pindar. The pros started from the top while I joined somewhere in the middle. I was more comfortable today since the volume wasn’t very high and I had had some experience with creeking from Alakananda. It’s a wonderful feeling when you feel no fear and you’re completely enjoying kayaking. I felt that in the river. I was screaming and singing my lungs out. It made me feel a lot less anxious and more positive.

Once again completing this ‘fadu’ river safe and sound felt absolutely amazing.

*Video coming soon.

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