It doesn’t matter how tired you are in India, when its time to move you do. Despite little sleep and over 70 hours of travel, this morning I bounced from bed at 3:30 AM to depart our hotel here in Delhi, India for the chaotic train station. We were headed for the Himalayan foothills of northern India for golden mahseer.
One last time, I’m in India because I’m being filmed for a segment for Confluence Films next movie, Waypoints. In the past five years Confluence Films has released three highly acclaimed fly fishing movies, Drift, Rise and Connect. In Connect, most of you remember I was fly fishing for tigerfish in Tanzania. This time I’ll be fishing with my friend Misty Dhillon, owner of the Himalayan Outback, for a rare fish called the golden mahseer.
The masterminds behind these movies are executive producer Jim Klug and director/cinematographer Chris Patterson. Jim is the founder and director of operations for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures and a long time friend. Chris is known for his stunning visuals and unparalleled camera work in numerous action sports. He has been the director/cinematographer of the Warren Miller Ski Films feature films for twenty five years and has numerous other projects including all of the lead camera work for the winter action scenes in the blockbuster DiCaprio movie, Inception.
In addition to Jim and Chris we have along another friend, Whitney McDowell, of Bozeman, Montana. I’ve known Whitney for years as she once lived in Jackson, Wyoming and was a frequent visitor to the fly shop I ran. Whitney was always searching the latest hot fishing locations not just around home but also worldwide. Golden mahseer is another fish she’d like to add to her already long list.
We arrived at the Delhi Train Station at 5:30 AM in darkness amongst thousands of people. If you’ve not been to India, this experience is like nothing you can imagine. It’s utter confusion – people yelling, pointing, and rattling at you in Hindu. Many want to move your bags for you and you better be careful. Drop your guard and your bags could be gone for good. Others want you out of the way. They’ll push you or run you over in a tuk-tuk. You can let it terrorize you or kick back and enjoy it. I keep my game face on and relish in the foreign adventure. Fortunately Misty provided us a guide to literally help us get on the correct train for the city of Kathgodam. Once settled on board with our heaps of luggage our train was off.
You would expect I’d kick back and sleep at this point, especially being this was a six hour train ride and I was dog-tired, but that’s impossible. India simply blows your mind. You can’t sleep. In fact I never even sat in my seat. I hung outside between the train cars and watched as the sun rose. I people watched. I literally hung off the train sniffing, tasting and watching the day come to life – so many colors, so many people – hard to explain. My view was spectacular!
Six hours later we arrived at Kathgodam, a city at the end of the rail in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Misty met us as we exited the train and immediately filed us into a mini van for an eight hour drive north east. It was a windy rough road the entire way that began with constant threats of head-ons with trucks and local buses that ended straddling cliffs where if our van driver dozed we could have easily plunged a 1000 feet. Again we were so tired we should have slept, but the continuous sights and scenery of India were too exhilarating.
At 9 PM we arrived on the banks of the Saryu River. We tromped down a steep hill in inky darkness and sloshed on to a raft with our gear. Then a member of Misty’s camp staff rowed us across and led us to our tents. A near 90 hours of travel came to an end. Delirious, we slumped around the fire for food and beer while Misty and his staff filled us in on the rules of camp and the itinerary for our next ten days. We will be awoken to coffee and breakfast at 5 AM. I can’t wait to see where the hell we are!
Photos will improve and likely be updated with better ones later this week. I’m still in India with flickering electricity. Because I was being filmed I took few pics however Jim and Chris will help me out here soon.
Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing