Enough of photo scrolling - I told myself.
Now I actually want to walk through the mountains and spend some private time with the Himalayas. My journey had virtually started when i had finalised the trip with IndiaHikes. I was so passionate about my first trek that almost everyone around me noticed that I was upto something. I was getting regular instructions from India Hikes and i also enquired about trekking basics from the trekkers i already knew. Then i started preparing myself physically and mentally for the trek. I had made myself distant from regular chaotic schedules.
I took brisk morning walks, did light cardio exercises. I wanted to gain a certain level of stamina in order to be sure that i can scale such heights and it involved multiple days of walk and breathing exercises. I am a complete nature lover and i am drawn magnetically towards the hills. also there is a hidden photographer in me. So, what have i been waiting for, I asked myself. I want to get lost in the mountains right away.
I never thought these awesome views await us. The way to Juda Ka Talab has some beautiful scenic views. Deep indigo sky, amazing landscapes, mesmerising mountain views. We have to accept nature as it is. We are part of it and we must care for nature.
It's our responsibility to keep the enviroment clean and who'd want to dirty those pure and fragile landscapes. Ecobags,an initiative by IndiaHikes to keep the mountains clean was provided to us.
Four mountain dogs were with us throughout the trip, I used to call them bodyguards
We were punctuating at Dhabas. I had the yummiest omelette of my life here and will surely remember the faces of Dhaba owners. Our path was ordained with a background music of a waterfall which we actually never got to see. In a few hours we were at Juda Ka Talab
Juda Ka Talab,a pond with oak trees surrounding it makes it so picturesque. Orange colored tents lined up on a bright white carpet of snow were such a treat for the eyes. Tents were allotted on a sharing basis where we offloaded our bags , stretched and relaxed. We were served a unique energy drink made of nectar of Buras flower.
For hours we were frolicking in the snow, making a snowman, playing a strange game called 'Mafia and the Villagers', I loved it all. The best part was Tanmay sharing his amazing experiences. It was great to see such a fantastic bunch of young enthusiasts all from different background bonding so well. The calm Sudipto, leg puller Amit, cheerful Mandeep, simple Naman, sober Ravi, humble Raman, infact everyone has been such a remarkable mate.
We enjoyed together and laughed our hearts out. I was capturing the times with my lens as well. Within a few minutes, there was a heavy snowfall and our orange tents were covered with white sheets of snow. After another ordeal of games and chit-chat we were served dinner. This was my first time ever in a tent and sleeping bag, so I was half awake the whole night. Also the squad of four bodyguards was duscussing the security perspectives later in the night, i.e barking.
We were explained the use of spike shoes for ascend-descend and toe kicking techniques. We also had the briefing of the summit post dinner. It was shocking to know that we had to move at 3:00 AM in the night, but realised the purpose later. So, I retired to bed early, but who could sleep knowing how beautiful it must be outside. I decided to go out. When I came out, I was completely blown away! The sky was illuminated with a million stars. The sight knocked me senseless for a while. I had never seen so many stars in my city or in my life ever. The photographer inside me was shaken. I captured the captivating scene through my lens. No man made lights can match this natural treasure. It was really difficult to leave the sight and sleep but I had to.
Putting multiple alarms I went to sleep. I was up at 1:30 AM but somehow I woke up fresh. We were served yummy midnight snacks and were provided with a lunch pack for the day.
We commenced for our ultimate goal, the Kedarkantha. Putting on our headlamps, we marched on. It was altogether a different experiance to trek in the dark. It was effortless walking before sunrise as snow wasn't soft yet. As we moved, we experienced the transition from dark to illuminating sunrise.
The sky changed colours as we walked on. After marching up a little while we were there! I had a multitude of feelings . I was standing on the majestic and mysterious KK! My heart was filled with accomplishment and a feeling of elation. Yes, I am capable of achieving everything, sky is the limit. Kedarkantha view on top was a delight with 13 peaks visible, KK being the jewel on the crown. The experience has sunk down deep in my memory.
We remained at the top for around 35 minutes. With memories of first successful trek i descended down. The descend was actually a bit difficult than going up. We all had slips, slides and falls. We counted the falls and poked fun at each other. Rocking and rolling, with damp clothes and wet socks, we reached KK base camp and our tents had already been located to another batch. We had our food and relaxed in the dining tents. By this time we got to know each other so well. It was a time to rejoice our successful trek but we had another reason to party -it was Aditya's birthday and kudos to IndiaHikes, they arranged such an amazing cake at an altitude with bare minimum necessities to live on!
We've had our dinner, we were too tired. There was no 'walking on snow' sound and the dogs had left us. We had a sound sleep that night.
It was 4-5 hours descend to Sankri. Through Hargaon, a campsite was a stop point in between, we reached Sankri. IndiaHikes lodge was equipped with comfortable beds, hygienic washrooms and hot water. Thanks to the freezing tempreture we could seriously save water. I took a shower and felt so fresh. Each one of us was felicilated with a certificate of accomplishment. There were some special recognitions like the Green Champion - ones who cared about cleaniness of enviroment which was bagged by Kunal and Ravi. Also, the spirit of trekking award which was shared by Sudipto and Bhullakad Amit