So came the winter, to take its course and we decided to delve deep into it without turning back. Why not end the year with something new, we thought. We came across a Himalayan ice trek at Dalhousie, conducted by Youth Hostels Association India, we enrolled right away.
At our stop at Delhi we panicked between our struggle for food at CP and searching for my final equipment for the trip. However, we met the Limca book of world records holder and Padmashree winner for skydiving, Sheetal Mahajan, being the most exceptional thing that happened to us, she made our day.
After a rickety ride to Pathankot and a steep mountainous one followed by that, we finally made it to our destination, Dalhousie. Expectations set: ice and snow at the base camp! Err, oops that didn’t happen, all of the blame goes to global warming, which in turn points to us humans and maybe mainly Donald Trump.
Whilst scanning for snow the first day we set out to visit a few scenic spots and geared ourselves up with some good food at a cafe. By the second day after looking at the sun shine bright we decided there was no point looking for snow. We started with a light warm up early in the morning, followed by an acclimatization walk to Panchpula waterfalls, and a few performances in the evening.
Day three, was a road trek to Kalatop, it included beautiful mountains and sceneries on the way. We got to watch the sunset at Kalatop. At night the sky was filled with bright stars, a rare view for people living in cities. The fourth day was a forest trek we totally climbed 2500meters and covered 15km on foot to Khajjiar. Climbing uphill was a task, but I secretly enjoyed it. By this point we had no more hope for snow but we started enjoying the trek either way and decided to play some of our favorite tracks of music while trekking. We also made friends with a dog that accompanied us and made sure we were on track all the time. The final day was wrapped up by noon, with a downhill trek to Mangla/Chamba, we again descended around 3000meters and covered 15km overall. We got see many valleys and terrace farms on the trail.
We then decided to take a detour to Dharamashala/McLeodganj, since we saved time on the trek. On our ride to Dharamshala we were accompanied by an Environmentalist, an Ultra Marathon runner and a stage actor, making us the puny 10k runners sitting between them 😬. We took the next day to tour around, covering few scenic spots and monasteries nearby, its a beautiful and colorful town, a must visit for anyone who passes by.
Totally we covered over 55 km on foot, excluding all the sightseeing. We did learn our lessons on our way though, always finish what you came for. No matter what there’s always a next time. Yeah we didn’t get ice and snow but we did make a bunch of cool and interesting friends in return, so kudos to that.