Rafting down the Brahmaputra - a travelogue from pre-blog days

Once upon a time - in a previous century, an earlier avatar, I found myself at Leh, on the Indus, enrolled for a (whitewater) river-rafting course. [Why whitewater? Learn about river rapids here]. And another on the Ganges at Rishkesh, a year later. And very soon - "You are the first Indian woman to raft down the Brahmaputra!"..exclaimed a colleague. Not possible...arguable, I said. Who cared? There was the Brahmaputra, and there were the set of six rafts and a couple of kayaks, and all around me were the team of 21 Americans and 5 Air Force colleagues.
The mission? A self-contained, 12-day, 110+ km, self-contained Indo-US whitewater expedition on the Brahmaputra from Tuting to Pasighat. Team leader JB had a motley crowd of first and old timers to shepherd around, so did his Indian counterpart Sqn Ldr TS. Me? Oh a veteran with a vast experience of 4 days on the Indus at Leh a summer ago, and another 4 days on the Ganges at Shivpuri as a warm up for the expedition.

(All this was 13 years ago, I intend taking swimming lessons very soon).
The equipment (rafts, tents, cooking) was provided by AK's Mercury Himalayan explorations; his team had a Kashmiri cook and two more raft guides.

The schedule: Set off early from Tuting on Day 1, traverse the Upper Siang till about 2 pm, then pull out at a convenient beach, camp the night and set off next morn, till on Day 12, we reach Pasighat around mid-morn. (The schedule reads similar to the day by day itinerary given here).

Our low-budget red-coloured wet suits consisted of pants & jackets. (Every morning after the first spray from a good white water stretch, we got used to feeling wet and cold, and would spot-jog or munch on peanut candy to keep warm),

We had windy days when tents were uprooted; then there was some hard work portaging, or heaving, but there were intangible rewards too... a view of lovely golden showers at Yembung, pristine white sands, water, water everywhere...

What a welcome we got at Pasighat!

And it felt very nice to call long-distance to Chennai to convey kushal-mangal. Get chance, will go back!

[I had put this in Swarna's travel jottings, but I felt that it was languishing there. That's the place I visit often when I notice the travel bug peeping out of my camp kit and patiently asks for a bite, and I turn the other way...]

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