TTT (Trek To Triund)
I did mention about my North India trip in a previous post but I am writing this one to describe what was probably the most exciting part of my trip - a trek up the Himalayas.
Triund is a 4-5 hour trek up from the Bhagshunath temple near McLeodgunj. McLeodgunj itself is 12 KM from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. We were staying at Dharamsala and just out of curiosity, I asked the Hotel Manager if thre was any place close to Dharamsala where we could trek. He mentioned Triund and he said that we were lucky because normally, that place is covered with snow even in April and only because of weird weather conditions (which are seen all over the world this year) the snow wasnt there. So he said that we could trek, though we needed to get back before dark. Theres a threat of snow leopards and the Himalayan bears as it gets dark. Brrrrrrrrrrr
Started out early in the morning, had decided to get up at 5:00 and leave. Told the cook to prepare breakfast by 5:00. Poor guy woke up at God-knows-what time and had the breakfast ready. We all got up at 7:30 and were down by 8:30. I apologized to the cook for freaking him up and he said "Kya karen, saab, apni toh naukri hain naa". Awesome guy, he made everything we asked for, even if it wasnt on the menu....and he made it well !!So we started out, my friend, I and another fellow we had met on the bus to Dharamsala. Turned out that this guy was a IIT-C graduate and he hadnt done any trekking in his life. He tapped out in the first 30 minutes or so of the trek. That after many agonizingly painful stops every 10 metres of climbing. Poor guy, he just needed some practice, thats all. And climbing a steep mountain where the base itself is 7500 M a.s.l. isnt exactly a walk in the park. He went back to the hotel and we continued.
Here is a photo from the place where he turned back
On our way, we met 4 guys from Delhi. Obviously, freak ruffians, they joined us in our mission upwards.
We met a lot of foreigners on the way and surprisingly, there were very few Indians making that trek. I guess most of the Indian public had come to Dharamsala for a 'relazing' vacation. The fact that we met a German couple in their fifties makes me wonder whether that is the reason why they are such a prosperous country...they have more energy, or maybe just more enthusiasm. Well, it was tiring....maybe just as or a little more tiring that my last trek to 'Harishchandragad' in the Sahyadris. The view on this trek was AMAZING. We could see the snow clad peaks right in front of us most of the time.
We saw snow on the way. Though there wasnt really a lot of snow on the trek route, there were patches of snow lying around like this one:
We also crossed a chai-shop which is a shack built by this guy right into the mountain halfway to the top.
As this stone here claims, its been here since 1984.
We reached the top (Campsite Triund)at 2:30 in the noon and if we had to get back before dark, we had to start back within an hour. Met a bunch of other trekkers. Had a chat with a pair of guys, one fro England, the other from USA. They both agreed about the weird weather around the world and especially in England where they were having a really bad time this year. Got some snacks at a shack right up there at the top and started onwards to our return.
View at the top.
Unfortunately, the twist in the tale comes here. Only 2 of us had the energy to do a descent non-stop. I was one of the two, but mostly because of my recent practice of trekking. The other guy was very well built and obviously a roughneck. The rest were too tired to make a hurried chase. The problem wasnt bad until we realized that it gets dark quicker in the mountains. If that wasn't bad enough, it started RAINING.
Crudd, what could be worse, we were having freakin' HAILSTONES. Being the fatalist that I tend to be, I told these other 4 guys to buck up otherwise the ground would get wet and since it was mostly stones, slippery. At these heights, in this terrain, I said....slippery stones could be ...FATAL.
Oh, and as the cruel day would have it, we lost our way. Now, we were tired, it was raining, my friend could barely walk, we had lost the way, we seemed to have dead ends on all sides of where we stopped and whats more...I had a 26,000 bucks worth camera in my bag !!
Terrifying as it was, we saw this shepherd lady and we asked her to help. She showed us a way and we went on that route for barely a few metres and hit a dead end again. We had obviously strayed onto a different route altogether. She then showed us the way a few more times and we somehow managed to reach the village. Would you believe the coincidence (!!), the rain stopped as soon as we entered the village. It didnt rain for the rest of the entire week that we were there. In fact, we never saw rain in Himachal Pradesh throughout that week. WEIRD, eh?
After coming back to the hotel, our companion was already in bed, worried why we were late. Surprisingly, he TOO had lost the way and the same shepherd lady had showed him the way too. Of course, he was so terrified (and alone) that he actually paid her 50 bucks to show him the way to the village.
Had a hot water shower, got into bed at 8:30, skipped dinner and slept like a log. That must be the longest I've slept in my life.
Aaaahhhh... I read so many other blogs and read about people enjoying boozing, smoking, hanging around with their other halves etc. I wonder if they are living a more exciting life than I am. Well, for the time being, I am doing what I can to make my life more interesting. If I didnt do this, I would be the most boring guy in the world...to myself !!