It was not just the destination, but the entire journey that made Roopkund a lifetime experience for me! I tried to list down a few of my experiences which will stay as my best memories for life !
Ghats and my new family !
When I first decided to go on the trek, with a gang of friends, who were totally unknown to me, the only thought that ran in my mind was “Will these guys like me ? Will they be my friends” ? or just will they ignore me as I might get really boring initially (especially because people expect me to talk like a normal human being, and I don’t at all). Whatever it would be like, I decided to take care of myself and enjoy the trek to the fullest. This is how I prepared my mind before the trek. “Be yourself and be independent !”
I met a few of my to-be friends a few days before the trek, and the rest of them directly on the flight. I loved their liveliness and admired how they introduced themselves, and spoke about a lot of things. Though I could not get to their speed, I liked how they did not mind it at all!
After a hectic journey from Hyderabad to Kathgodam, via Delhi, what came next was a continuous 8 hr Ghat ride, which wasn’t easy at all ! I was all excited to click pictures of the beautiful views as the ride began, but soon fell sick of the endless turns. My head started turning along with the roads, and I started feeling dizzy and nausea-tic in less than an hour. I couldn’t enjoy the ride anymore, and all I wanted was a stop. With every turn, I prayed for a straight road next, which never came. After 3 hrs of restless hope, we finally stopped – for lunch.
My friends got very concerned about me and went out to get me some black pepper, to make me feel better. They frequently asked me how I felt and saved a bottle of lemon water especially for me to drink when I needed. I loved every gesture of concern and care they showed me, but was too shy to tell them how happy and loved I felt at that moment.
I felt relaxed and assured myself a wonderful trek with my new friends !
A Chilling Nightmare !
One thing I was particularly concerned about was the chilling temperatures in the Himalayas. I know I was always a little more sensitive to cold, than any of my friends and family, and this worried me a little. I was fine till the 2nd day of the trek, but as we climbed the Bhugyals, we walked amongst the clouds, which left a depression in temperature. I got slightly worried when the temperature dropped suddenly the first time and I couldn’t see anyone in the mist, except my own feet. I was walking alone, when many thoughts ran in my mind. Why am I here? I never imagined myself in a place as beautiful, with no people around me (not really, just that I couldn’t see) ! Why did I come here ? I remember thinking of my mom, how she would have taken care of me when I caught cold, the luxury of being at home. I felt each and every step I took forward.
The clouds passed us soon, and the view got clear.
The Dolo Effect
After the trek to the Bhugyals that day, my friend and I felt a little tired and feverish. We decided to have our dinner hot, and take a Dolo ( medicine used to reduce fever and relieve pain ) before going to bed.
On the next day of our trek, though there wasn’t any fever, we still felt a little tired and sweaty while trekking. My friend was pretty energetic during the start of the trek, but as we reached the campsite, both of us got extremely tired and packed ourselves in our sleeping bags. When we woke up, my friend started shivering, and her body was burning hot. She felt extremely sick and started crying. We sat beside her trying to console her and later, after an hour and some hot dinner, she regained her energy back. Slowly that day, as she got better, she told us that the previous night, when we decided to take Dolo and sleep, she aggressively took 3 pills in a gap of 2 hrs, so that she could feel energetic soon. Yes she got quiet energetic initially, but the 3 Dolos started to show off their effects soon after, which led to so much pain.
Lesson learnt : Never overdose on medicines, and use them judicially ! 🙂
Sunshine, Rainbow, Night sky !
Nature was everywhere during the trek. Each and every step of ours got us closer to nature. My goal then, was not the summit, but every step of my journey. Even if I had to come back, without completing the summit, I wouldn’t have felt any less happier than now.
On every day of our trek, as we reached our campsite, we explored our surroundings slowly and every morning, we waited for the sun to rise above the mountains, to give us some sunshine. Sunshine seemed very important and felt like a celebration ! Everytime the sun showed up, we hurried to dry our forever wet clothes, and took a walk around the campsite, letting our skin catch some warm, soothing rays.
At Bhagwabasa, it was very dark when we reached the campsite, and started to snow in a while. After a light snow fall, the landscape got brighter with sunshine. We just thought, a rainbow at this moment would be so beautiful, and, it showed up. It seemed magical to see every wish come true during this trek. I felt so fulfilled !
Another surprise I experienced during the trek was that miraculous night sky. I read much earlier that the night sky at the Runn of Kutch was a must see experience and I listed down in my to do’s, but never saw a picture of how the sky looked. At Patar Nauchani, we mostly stayed inside the tent after the trek that day. When we decided to got out for a nature call before going to bed, we walked along just looking at the path that our about-to-dim head torch showed. At one point, my eyes turned in the direction of the sky, and got stuck, never looking back at the path again. I never saw a sky like that in my entire life and did not even know sky actually looked like that. I also saw a shooting star pass by, which I thought was only part of the Bollywood movies till then !
Find your Hideout – An every day adventure!
For someone who was born and had been living in the cities, where there are attached bathrooms, it definitely sounds sheepish to use an open toilet. I never really understood how people in villages did their early morning duties in openly-hidden places, and now its my turn to understand it practically. In most of the Himalayan treks, a toilet tent is provided, which has a hole dug deep accompanied by a shovel – used to take mud and fill the hole, once the purpose is fulfilled.
We chose the open nature as it seemed to be a better option. Every day we woke up as early as we could, go in search of a perfect place with some toilet paper and a water bottle in hand. It seemed like a huge victory on the first day, but, soon we got used to it. At the end of the trek, it sounded pretty normal and gave us enough confidence that we could now live anywhere in the world 😀
Every experience I mentioned in this post, is a deepest memory I got back from Roopkund, and is a story I could tell forever. Just nature, without any people in it, would still be incomplete. The locals who smiled at us, while passing through their villages; Our trek leads – who took care of us like family; friends and co-trekkers who wished us good luck as we were climbing every step of the summit pushing ourselves, all of these people brought more sense and meaning to my first long trial!
Bhagi, one of my new found friends, was such a mom during the trek. I felt like a kid before her maturity and mindfulness. She had stamina like a boss, and I remember her getting us dinner and feeding us like a mom, when we fell sick at Bhagwabasa. I felt so much like home for the affection she showed and she is one of those I truly admired during the trek.
Our trek leads were true motivators and helped each of us get through the trek. At the last base camp, as we neared the summit day, weather got really cold and at such odd temperatures, they made sure we were not feeling low and kept our spirits high. Some of them formed a small band and sang local songs , while others got busy cooking to serve us hot meals. If it was tough for us, it would have been tough for them too, but they never showed even the slightest pain and enjoyed what they were doing.
People we meet create such impressions in everyone’s lives, that without them, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this trek as much !