Kedarkantha!! Comes under 'Best Beginners trek', 'Easy grade trek' to do, 'Best winter trek' to do, etc. And I chose it exactly why to be honest, but personally it became something much more than I could imagine. Had I known what experience it is indeed I wouldn't have waited this long in my life.
Every year I gift myself something during my birthday, especially post 25 importance of those gifts increased and how. Since 2 years I wanted to try Kedarkantha trek but couldn't plan it due to job and other commitments. The year I planned to finally give in was the year I celebrated my birthday in lockdown. But who knew, it was meant to be. It was still meant to be my first winter trek. Immediately after lockdown was lifted I planned my 30 day journey to Himachal; envy points earned. A part of which was Kedarkantha.
I didn't focus on fitness as much as I was supposed to, I was carrying my WFH laptop for not taking many leaves, I had clothes for a month and it can pictured now what excitement this mountain lover was carrying in her heart, her mind and her soul.
Diving straight in to the trek experience, I had my head spin crazy before even reaching Sankri, the base village. A 7 hour bus ride from Dehradun to Sankri gave my tummy and head unimaginable spins. But the sight of moon at 3 pm in Purola village while having lunch, the lost network before even reaching Sankri, seeing such experienced trekkers around me I was filled with so much nervousness, excitement and chill that my headaches were frozen too. Having the world's best fried momos at a local's house neighbouring our guest house I was sleepless due to the excitement.
Juda Ka Talab
As per locals that once upon a time Lord Shiva meditated at Kedarkantha and a droplet fell from Shiva's hair to form this lake and named literally after that. Starting journey from Sankri base to Juda ka Talab was a thrill feel given it was the first day, first feel of walking in forest trails, looking at mountains from below, spotting amazing clouds and the feel, the simple content feeling of reaching campsite and seeing the frozen Juda ka talab was something that had an picturesque memory fit in for lifetime. The snow was everywhere, outside the camps, then and onward trails, on the lake, on the mountains nearby, everywhere. It amplified the beauty of the place like something, everything looked surreal. The moon from here, the stars and the night were a treat, my eyes couldn't wait to watch more of it, my legs were tired but they wanted to walk and walk more until they reach the peak.
Kedarkantha Base Camp
Thousands of people surrounded applying sunscreens, eating, lying down, abandoning, sleeping and what not, I was tired as well, but the moment you see Kedarkantha peak from here you just forget it all. I was enjoying my Maggi from this spot where it gets cold in like 10 secs, so chilly that I wanted to feel the heat under my skin, feel the sun light within but you cannot remove your jacket, not a single layer. The breeze would start shivering your body, we have a day to relax here before starting for the Summit at 2 am in the night. The excitement, drumrolls please.
Uh oh!! Never in my life I had imagined I would be a week early to get my periods. I had a consistent pattern, sitting under the starry night, having the peak in front of me, my gear next to me, at 1 am in the night, getting ready for the first summit in my life, my body throws in lemons at me. I wanted to make lemonade, but easier said than done. I was told by my trek leader you would only have one washroom maximum available for the next stage, what timing, what situation. A tear started rolling down my cheek, I was shattered, I always have painful periods, need multiple washroom visits, all at once. At 1 am in the night I had to decide, and suddenly I felt what is there to decide. I didn't come this far, this dreamy-eyed, this awestruck by the mighty mountain ahead of me to give up. I decided not to give up, not when I know I haven't tried my best yet, and that was that. I tied the head hiking lights around my head, felt the -2 degree Celsius temperature sending chills in my whole body but nevertheless trusted my gut and started marching on.
Everything is easy and everything is hard when viewed from different perspectives, I felt that deeply while I was climbing. Each has their own strengths, weaknesses, determinations and their deep wills. I never for a minute felt strong while climbing this last leg of trek, I gave up every minute in my mind, the trails are so narrow in between at places that you have to means literally have to push yourself to not stand still so that that others don't have to because of you. I tried, to not wait, to make ways for others, to breathe, to try everything my fellow companions kept advising, in that last part of the journey towards the summit I could remember everything my life was made of. I made it of. The people present, the people I broke ties with, the people who I wanted to say few words to but didn't, the sacrifices I made for a certain people, the choices I made for certain people, the times I stood up in life, the things I regretted, the things I was proud of and wasn't, the alternate life I would want to live, the choices I wanted to make but was afraid of, the things I wanted to do but wasn't sure of, the life I wanted to create, so many thoughts, so many introspections, so many wonderful questions and answers I found amidst the pain I was feeling, I was giving up at every minute but wasn't really doing so, so many discoveries, I felt like I met myself, I spoke to myself, I heard the person tucked inside me, all the while looking upwards and onwards. The toughness rises as you reach the peak, 12500 feet tall a peak point which would give you the satisfaction, accomplishment and happiness of beating your odds and triumphing your shortfalls. And then there it was, the most beautiful sunrise I have ever witnessed in my life, almost I had reached summit. I sat down immediately once I reached, we had 15 minutes before descend and I realized the importance of time at that time. I didn't want those 15 minutes to get over, I didn't want to feel the body pain and even for a second lose the view in front of me. For the first time that morning I truly felt grateful, for my eyes, for my body to pull through, for having me reach there, for the mountain allowing me to reach the peak. I took back a lot from there, I doubt if my words can comprehend all of it. I summitted the summit, I feel immensely proud to say that.
We don't climb the mountains, the mighty mountains take us in their arms, show us something beautiful and give a myriad of memories we cant ever express enough gratitude for! In our life too, we feel we are falling short, we don't have it all, but the passion inside our gut can move mountains. Or, help you climb one!