The Snow Mountain Story …
“We always talk about the views from top of mountains but I’d rather talk about the journey to the top”
For you, It’s just another first timer guy writing a blog about his trip to The Great Himalayas (you gotta show respect to mountains), but for me it’s a story of a guy who had a dream to go to mountains of the north and probably take a step towards realizing how he wants his rest of the life to look like.
One of the best decision (and risk) I have taken in last couple of years. 12000 Feet climb, 10 kg rucksack, highest snowfall in year, inadequate packing and uncertainty at every step, all of it in on my first time. But I think all of it just makes it more legen … wait for it … dary !!
Day 1 : Lohajung the base camp
We reached the base camp of Trek the Himalayas a night before and I vividly remember the chills I felt when I got down from the car. I literally felt the cold to my bones and I was shivering so bad that I could not keep still. All my confidence about facing the cold was swept out in just couple of minutes after landing my feet here(we mumbaikars are awfully overconfident).
Next day morning here was just soooo blissful (one of the best sunrise I have ever seen in my life), we forgot that we have a trek to pack for. We were obviously late cause of all that sunrise and morning mountains and as it wasn’t enough, it started snowing, first snow of the season and probably my life.
Day 2 : A night by mysterious Bekaltal lake
First step is always hard but it gets lot harder when you have to step into 3 feet deep snow. As majestic as it felt to experience the season’s first snowfall, it made equally difficult at every step. I remember even after the way I felt cold the night earlier, I was telling my friend that what would it be like if it snows now? and one of the TTH member heard it and told us after a while, “Your prayers has been heard, look it’s gonna snow now!” and it literally felt like the best day of my life. But little did we know that it’s not gonna stop until the end of the day.
We started with a lot of enthusiasm and smiles and why not ? more we walked more it felt like heaven, the village and woods slowly merging into one along the path, the lush green which we could see from the distance starting getting covered by layers of snow. Couple of hours into woods and all I could see now was the blistering white snow and all I could hear was crackling sound of snow steps. It was difficult to walk on snow and even more difficult to stay still as the temperature was dipping like anything. After a long long day in the woods when we crossed a hill, we could finally see some color apart from white and that was our first day stay besides a beautiful frozen lake. Literally 4 bright orange tents and a dinner/kitchen tent, that’s it! Nothing else. We were the first batch for the season and only ones. We took an late evening stroll to the mysterious lake of Bekaltal. Our trek leader shared some tales of the late and I just stood there watching the colors of sky reflect in the half frozen water of the lake.
Day 3 : A night by Brahmatal lake
One of the hardest night that I spent in mountains, so many layers of clothes, padded jackets and a sleeping bag, all failed in front of the cold waves of the dark night. Temperature had almost reached -15C and we were so helpless that all we could do was just to lie there feeling nothing but numbness. I still remember talking to my friend when both were acting dead.
Abhi : bro ! zinda hai tu ?
Shree : abhi tak to hoon par lagta hai subah nahi hogi (followed by paragliding guy’s dialouge)
Abhi: Mumbai ki yaad aa rahi hai bro !
Every morning in mountains brings some unexpected view you never imagined. We woke up and did one of the hardest thing, get our asses out of sleeping bag and put the sleeping bag back into the sack. My shoe laces we sticking up like a twig, hot water from last night had frozen in thermos and there was a thing layer of ice inside the tent, one could only imagine the cold. but sun was out and that was a good sign for all. Started another walking journey into the woods. every step of the way getting more and more difficult more challenging and beautiful. It was a long and tiring day but campsite 2 was at a beautiful spot. We literally crawled to the camps in the end and everyone of was dead tired. We all gathered in the kitchen tent cause it was slightly less colder then other tents. Some were shivering and some were checking their legs for frostbite (it was cold okay ?!) We didn’t think we could survive another harsh night in almighty The Great Himalayas. Before my mind could go numb and stop working forever, I came up with an idea to descend from peak to base in a single day to avoid spending one more night in the cold (necessity is mother of inventions indeed). Aur khulli baaho se swagat hua iss idea ka ! Our trek leaders were slightly skeptical but since it was descent and our desire to get down was stronger than giving up, they took a chance and we were off to the summit day.
Day 3 : The Summit and Submit
Another day, another spectacular sunrise and amazing breakfast thanks to Mohan (Kudos to TTH team). This morning was slightly better, yet our decision to descent in a single day made me question my ability to carry my heavy rucksack, will I be able to lift it and still climb up to summit and get back to the base in on my own ? I shuffled some of my jackets to offloaded luggage of my friends and decided to take the chance and off we go to the summit.
Reaching summit was definitely one of the most difficult climb of the whole journey but it made me feel the quote “Best views comes after hardest climbs” and boy was it beautiful ! I sat there talking to Mt. Trisul afar, as if mountain asked me “Did you do it ?”, and I replied “Yes”. “What did it cost ?” asked the mountain and I answered “EVERYTHING with love”.
In the end all that was mattered to me was the things I experienced along the way and if I could bring you the one lesson from mountains, then it would be
“Keep walking, summit of your life is yet to come and when it does. Stay there and feel the moment cause next summit is gonna be hell of journey from there.”
Stay in the moment and close to mountains 🙂
PS: A huge shout out to Trek the Himalayas team for best trek leaders (Minakshi and Aditya) and Spirit of the Mountain Mr. Mohan for jalebi at 11,000 feet and @planned_bagpacker for backing me up always !