Saturday 16 January 2016

Truind - A trek in the Himalayan Trails

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Out Of Office - Triund Dharamshala

Five days of work and 2 days of 'break from work' has become a routine for most Engineers. Each individuals choose their way to take rest. If some go to restaurant, some sit and drink, some simply sleep and some watch movies. There is another category and I mostly belong to that - The Travelers.

I have traveled across Karnataka in past couple of years. From difficulty level - very easy to tough, I have trekked a lot of mountains and hills in Karnataka. But, I was always fascinated by looking at the photos of North Indian hills. The snow covered peaks, the sharp tipped trees (unlike the ones here where they look like smooth curve), the temperature, the view and mainly because of the name - The Himalayas. Everything together made it difficult to wait for my first trek in the Himalayan Range.
Me and 5 of my friends (Abhilash, Preethish, Gautham, Veena and Rashmi) had decided for a North India trip. Jotted down 2 plans before we left from Bangalore. But no plan was concrete when we boarded our flight from Bangalore. Triund was kinda dream spot in the plan but we were not sure if we can do it since we planned it during December and we were not sure about weather conditions. After a lot of uncertainty over deciding whether to go to Dharamshala or not, we were finally in Dharamshala after making sure that the weather is not too harsh. 
Triund was the only reason why we went to Dharamshala and today when I sit and turn back, that was one of the best days of the travel life. Because, hiking in Himalayan range is a different level of fun all together. 
We reached McleodGanj at about 11 o clock. Quickly checked into our hotel to dump our luggage. Booked a guide since we did not want the pain of arranging food and stay in hill top. Finally at 1.00 pm we started our trek. 
The trek distance from McleodGanj is around 10 kms. We were already 1 km away from McleodGanj since our hotel was on the way. So, it was around 9kms trek for us. Vehicles go till Gallu temple which is around 4 Kms from McleodGanj. However, we covered those 3 kms by walk itself in a trekking trail avoiding the normal vehicle road (Just because vehicles can be taken there, I call it a road. They are very narrow and the road condition is very poor even if you want to take your vehicle). 
The long pine trees in the trek route created a different atmosphere and we started feeling the excitement. From gallu temple, there is only a trekking path and no vehicles can reach top. There are shops even in hill top and they use donkeys are used to carry everything - from Biscuit packet to Gas cylinder. 
We bought some mineral water and biscuits near Gallu temple and proceeded further. The trek route was not very difficult but we felt we walked a lot more than what we had actually done. Preethish was tired of asking "aur kitna kms baaki hai" with our guide. Every time he asked, guide has only one answer - "4 kms" and a wide smile. Almost half a way from Gallu temple was our major break where we had Maggie and Egg Omlet. Maggie is omnipresent in all these places. It is like if you wish to have it, you get it kind of. A plate of Maggie costs Rs.50 there. But, the price is justifiable one since they have to carry it uphill. Especially after paying similar prices in Malls of Bangalore, I did not feel bad paying so much there. 
We were seeing the snow covered mountains from far and we could not wait to reach the peak. As we were walking we started getting some snow and it was exciting to see snow naturally. (For me, naturally or artificially, it was the first time I saw snow and I liked it!). It started getting dark by 5pm and our guide started pushing us to move faster. He had his job to be done in the peak which we realized later. He had to arrange tent for us. However, we were little reluctant to move faster because we had already trekked with not much breaks. Finally at 6 or 6.15 we were in the peak and the cold weather had already started changing the mood. It looked like 10.00pm by then itself. There were no artificial lights were there to change the mood. We were into the nature's one of the most beautiful peaks.
Our tents were ready in sometime and once we settled in our tents, our food was ready in the tea shop. It was one of the best food in our entire trip of North India because we got Rice and Curry! South Indians just love rice and its hard to make them live on Parathas. :D
It was time for playing cards now. We had that dynamo torch to light up our tent. Feared of hypothermia and other dangers of cold, tiredness and for 'n' other reasons, Bhai (Preethish) did not join us in the game. We had a big time champ (Rashmi) who shuffled the cards for us and we played until we had no more strength left to turn the dynamo torch and no more interest to do anything but sleep!

Sunrise at an altitude of 2800 Mts from Sea level
Sunrise was what we were all probably waiting for. Not for the view, but because we did not get good sleep. We were sliding within the tent all through the night since the tent was put in a slant place. (There were hardly any place which was absolutely flat there)
Sunrise was brilliant and it is an amazing feel when the sun rays hit you but you feel so chilled if you take your hands out of the gloves. Overall, it is an experience that cannot be put into words.
Our breakfast was ready. We had it and took a walk around to spend some time in snow. After that started trekking back to the base. In between I got my knee twisted. For the first time in any of my treks, found it difficult to complete since I had got the knee twisted when I still had a couple of kms to complete.
Overall, a trek to cherish for a life time. After all, it was a trek in the Himalayan trails. How can one forget :) But, definitely this is going to be just a start of it. It has fueled the fire more. Waiting for my next trek in the Himalayan ranges.

Information - 
Difficulty Level - Medium

Must Carry Items - If you are not hiring a guide, then carry your own tents, sleeping bags etc. If you have a guide, then sleeping arrangements will be done by them. Additionally, carry warm cloths based on the weather condition. During December, it was pretty cold there and late in the night the temperature had dropped below -2 or -3 degree Celsius. Carry scarf to cover your face. Very much required since breathing becomes difficult if you do not cover your nose.
Carry money in cash and not in cards. No swiping machines available in hill top, but you have some small tea shops to buy food :)

Guide Charges - As of December 2015, we paid Rs 1500 per head for the guide. (Included a guide, 2 tents for 6 people in the top, dinner - dal chaval, chapathi and subji and breakfast in the top - Maggie and tea)
There is no need of a guide as such since both food is available in small shops  in hill top and same shop guys will provide you will tents and sleeping bags. However, sleeping arrangements are not guaranteed since they will be on availability basis. Hence taking a guide along is advised if you are planning to stay in hill top. (If you are not planning to stay in hill top, then it might turn out to be a pretty normal trek)

Trekking up hill late in the evening (It was around 5.30 but almost dark there)
Evening, valley, trekking and what other reason do i need to try this pose. :) 

The team... (Off course I was behind the camera :) )

Don't know what made a couple of dogs be there in that peak. But found quite a few!

Complete group :) 

Just after the sunrise

Vastness..!!! In spite of being far away, looks so majestic.

Tried some poses since we had a uniform but ended up getting some pics totally out of sync

And again.. :D

Early morning walk in the hill.

How can one miss walking in snow filled mountains. That too while seeing it for the first time in life.

This was one of my best trek and definitely the one with maximum photos of this pose!
Special thanks to Karthikeya Bhat who designed the Tshirt for us :) 
For the first time adding videos to the blog. These videos were shot in mobile. View in higher resolution to get a feel of it.
The quality of your work only gets better with time. These are videos shot without any knowledge on how to shoot it. Pardon if it turns of to be just a waste of your bandwidth and data. :)