KEDARKANTHA SUMMIT 12500 FT By: NAVED FAISAL

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.

As I boarded my volvo from Delhi, I was constantly thinking about the next few days, away from the cluttered city life, in the lap of nature. I was looking for solace in the Himalayas.

The trekkers had to assemble at 6:30 AM at Dehradun Railway Station. I reached much ahead of time. It was still dark and there were hardly any people around. About an hour I spotted a trekker. Little hesitant to converse, I kept myself busy in my tea and pakoras. The next person I recognised as a trekker approched me. He was Sudipto who eventually turned out to be my tent partner. Gem of a person, very helpful and much experienced in trekking. He was a Delhiite just like me and we bonded well. The other trekkers poured in from different directions and within minutes the whole batch was formed. Soon we met the transport co ordinator and I boarded one of the two tempo travellers provided to us by IndiaHikes

All the way through Mussorie where it was drizzling we reached Kempty Falls . Most of us were hungry and we were served piping hot parathas and coffe. We started off for Sankri which was our first stop point. We moved in a a spiral for hours from now.

Sankri is a village with a meagre population of about 800. These are the places where you find very distinct faces. People with bright faces, cracked cheeks, red noses and big smiles. Kids walking for hours to reach thier school in those rough terrains. We reached the IndiaHIkes lodge, had tea, made ourselves comfortable and rested a bit. Time moves at a very slow pace here. This was the point of total disconnect from the outside world. Sankri lodge room was the last place where we saw proper beds. It was here that we met our trek leader Tanmay Bain. Tanmay has an experience of 72 treks and by the time I'm writing this he must have added a feather or two in his cap. He's extremely punctual, humorous, jolly, professional yet so helpful. He gave us the briefing of the trek and explained the right wear and gear. He explained how we have to layer our clothing, how the stick serves as the third leg and how to manage our backpacks. Being a beginner this information was quite helpful to me.

When I started from home my backpack weighed almost half my weight but surely lost many kilos way up.

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.

Sleepy yet excited, I started for the KK base camp as it was scheduled. Trekking could be arduous and strenuous but we have to ignore te pains, pushing ourselves ahead and the result is pure bliss. In almost no time, we reached KK base camp.

It was a panoramic view of the snowpeaked tips

After sightseeing, playing our wierd pet games and some rest

we were served hot soup followed by delicious food and dessert.

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.

sky is the limit

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

Then we all shared our little personal experiences during the trek and then went to bed. We all came back to Dehradun together. We exchange numbers, bid adeau to each other and moved on to our different routes.

The trip is unforgettable and so is the hospitality oh IndiaHikes. The delicious lunches, the mouth watering dinners, the appetising soups and delightful hot chocolate. The food was the best luxury in those sub-freezing tempretures. Tea and coffe were provided even before we expressed a need for it. Places where we can't think of getting basic amenities, we had a birthday cake. We had the most delightful food that tsted like ghar-ka-khana served with smiles.

I boarded my train to Delhi. I was continuously thinking of these experiences of a lifetime and lovely memories with some wonderful people. I had a mixed feelings of departing from adventure and going back to sweet home. As i returned back, I felt this typical urban caophony of hornsand noise. I loved everything about the hills, the clear blue skies, the stars, the frozen lakes. I am sure this passion will last till my legs give away.

Many more to go with you IndiaHikes!

Created By
Naved Faisal
Appreciate

Credits:

Naved Faisal and Sudipto

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