In the midst of the scorching summer heat I decided to pack my bags and head North for my first High Altitude trek. This time not only did I get to see the Himalayas, I also got to live and experience them.
After gearing up at Delhi, I took a long ride and made it to the base camp at Kasol (5500 ft). The place was so peaceful and welcoming that it made me leave all my worries behind. The sounds of the Parvati river, the sight of dense forests and the snowy mountains manifesting themselves at the top just added to its beauty.
We started off like a monsoon trek, while the rain was pouring, we wrapped ourselves in rain sheets and struggled to strut along the way. We reached our first stop at Grahan after climbing over 2000 ft. It was a beautiful countryside amidst lush green grasses. We got to relish a few local delicacies viz. Brass flower juice and Siddu.
The next day we set off for Padhri (8300 ft), as beautiful as it was during the day amidst a waterfall and surrounded by mountains on three sides, the beauty at night was spellbinding. The sky shined bright with numerous stars while moonlight made the ice capped mountains glow.
We then headed towards Mingtatch at 11200 ft, this was probably the most challenging part of our trek since it included a lot of steep climbs through dense thick forests. By now all I could think of was my smelly clothes and hair. I later calmed myself down while watching the night sky, where we could see numerous stars and probably even the milky-way.
The trek to our next stop was almost a summer trek, it was a sunny, steeped but short climb to Nagaru, at 12500 ft, our highest camp. We were woken up early in the morning or I’d say late night at 2am. The view I got to see was magical. There was a bluish light behind the mountains, that kept changing color according to the position of the sun.
We slowly climbed to the highest point of our trek and finally made it to Sarpass at 13800 ft. Reaching there gave me a sense of pride. I basked in the glory of my success while enjoying the sight of the ice caps on all sides.
After spending a while at Sarpass, we started the winter trek I was waiting for. A long stretch was a walk on ice, later we descended a little by sliding and skating on it. The lunch stop was again a beautiful valley with the river flowing by and the snow mountains on all sides. I enjoyed spending time here with my two new friends (below).
By the evening we finally made it to Beskeri after a long, tiring trek, but the happiest part for me was not reaching the tent but that I got to bathe. Phew! After that I enjoyed the splendid view and couldn’t stop smiling. The next day was again a descent to Bandaktatch, which was advertised to us as mini Switzerland. It was beautiful, but to see if the advertisement was true, I would have to visit Switzerland and then decide.
The experience taught me different things. I noticed how I left with a shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser and body wash, on my way back, I had just one of those four doing the job of all. No matter how much gear you up or pack when you travel its still never enough, the lesser you carry the better you learn to manage. When you live life with the bare minimum, you value what you have much better. Set your travel goals and achieve them, no matter what happens on the way, it’s always worth the effort.
By the time I got back home the summer had left off and the monsoon had set in. Couldn’t be happier to be back.