I race forward towards the passenger side window of our minibus and vomit. Only half makes it outside of the bus; the rest is covering the inside of the glass and the front passengers' shoulders. I've had food poisoning since 4 am, and it's now 11 am. We are three hours into a winding 10-hour drive between Jammu and Gulmarg. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is renowned as one of the most treacherous roads in the world, with landslide sections named "Khooni Nallah" (Stream of Blood) and "Panthal" (Devil's Overhang), among others. Combine this with our driver's tactic of blaring the horn as if to warn other psychopathic road users of his unwillingness to slow down, only to slip into a gap barely bigger than our swaying chariot at the final second. Needless to say, we were on edge, and it wasn't helping my bodily fluids stay where they are meant to be.
We had initially aimed to reach a basecamp in a valley near the small town of Gulabgarh. However, logistical problems with transporting our basecamp up to 4000m, along with the forecast of a weeklong storm, forced us to pivot to plan B. We set our sights northward towards Gulmarg and the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. Usually, a short 5-hour journey from Delhi to Gulmarg by plane and taxi had, at this point, descended into a 3-day marathon of multiple flights, lost baggage, and countless garlic naan breads. It seemed our trip was off to a less than ideal start.