Trekking? In December? Four girls alone? You guys should give it a second thought before leaving for trek.
These were the advice we received when people came to know that 4 of us would be going to Triund trek in December. The weather was harsh and people were already freezing in Delhi. Winters were a bit too cold this time. None of the reasons could stop us as we had already made up our minds to do the trek. Doing a trek has always been a dream for me . After a lot of searching and inquiries, I finally decided to begin with Triund trek, which is said to be the easiest trek among all other. 3 of my other friends who were equally excited for this, joined in. We began our journey on 14 December, and took a bus to Mcleodganj from Delhi at 7 pm. As we entered the kangra valley early in the morning, it was nothing less than magic. The bus took the twists and turns along the valley and we could see the sun rising and the tall mountains covered with snow. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises we ever saw. Upon reaching Mcleodganj, we decided to have breakfast at a small shop near the bus stand and then leave for the trek. It was nearly 8 in the morning, when we reached a shop from where we were to book the tents and other facilities for the night halt at triund top. The owner informed us that everything would be available upon reaching the top and we didn't need to worry. A random cab driver informed us that the roads are closed and trekkers are not allowed to go further due to heavy snowfall. We were taken aback and lost hopes. But it turned out that it was not true and the owner of the travel agency, who provided us with the accommodation facilities, gave us all the necessary information about the trek. Before leaving for the trek we made sure that we are carrying enough amount of water, snacks, and energy bars as the shops on the way charge too much for the same . The trek is 9km from Mcleodganj. One can either start the trek from Mcleodganj or take a cab till Gallu Devi Temple which is 3km from Mcleodganj and then start the trek. We took the cab for 400 Rupees and reached Gallu Devi Temple. The view from the temple was something which made us stop right there and capture the whole frame in our minds. We surprisingly found a spot there, which was under construction and sat there and had our breakfast. We sat there, silently, looking at the lush green trees and random small huts built around them.
It was 10 am when we started the trek from the police check point. Since we did not take any guide for the trek, we inquired about the route of the trek and were relieved to know that the way towards Triund is a narrow single trail leading upwards. One could easily follow it. We started walking along the trail and took halts in the way to relax and look at the mountains. Triund has an unambiguous byway which goes through a beautiful mixed forest of oak, deodar and rhododendron . Furry dogs accompanied us during the trek. As we moved upwards, the trail became narrow and it was covered with snow. It became difficult to walk. We were not wearing trekking shoes. It became difficult but the mountains we saw from the distance kept making us move towards them. The last 1 km of the trek was covered with snow and we had to struggle to find a safe spot to make our next move or else we would fall down directly to the bottom of the valley. The other trekkers on the way helped us a bit and finally it was 4 in the evening when we reached the top. It was covered with 3 to 4 feet deep snow and it was a view to die for. The magical white snow, the tall mountains, the lights, the stars, everything looked as if it was a scene straight out of a movie. I was seeing snow and the mountains for the first time in my life. It was a moment to stop and imbibe everything in my heart. The valley turned red and the combination of fresh white snow and the sunset took our breaths away. It was turning cold, and we could barely keep our feet on the ground. The sky was falling darker and we could see a galaxy of stars shining. A small shop near our tents, lighted a bonfire and we sat near it, singing songs and shivering at the same time. We had our dinner, sitting around the bonfire and struggling to keep ourselves warm. The temperature fell to -11 and we had to rush inside our tents. The night was the coldest we had ever experienced. Packed inside the sleeping bag, wearing 6 layers of sweaters, we only hoped to wake up alive in the morning. It was the time we regretted coming up for the trek. As we woke up in the morning, we saw the most amazing sunrise right in front of our tents. Sipping a cup of piping hot tea at the top of a mountain and soaking ourselves in the sunlight, we sat silently, admiring the beauty around us. We were ready to go down to Mcleodganj now after spending a chilling night at Triund. But another adventure was waiting for us at the trail. The snow melted early in the morning after the sunrise and it became difficult to go down . We fell down several times, hurt our legs and back, drenched in cold snow and struggled to walk down the trail. There was no other option than to keep walking carefully. Surprisingly, we met a group of boys who were walking behind us and were accompanied by a guide who was helping them to get down safely. The guide saw us and without a second thought, he helped us to get down to a safe place where there was less snow. After 2 hours of walking, we finally reached a lower part of trail where we sat, thanking the guys for accompanying us. We finally reached Gallu Devi Temple at 3 pm and walked down till Dharamshala. The town was a bit crowded but still serine and peaceful. We boarded our bus for going back to Delhi.
"Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb." -Greg Child
Triund would always remind me of testing my potentials and patience. It taught me to keep walking and survive in the toughest of situations. My first trek gave me memories, pictures, lessons, and most of all , the confidence to travel more. Mountains do change a person.