It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
(Sir Edmund Hillary)
Often times people ask me that why do I love to trek and why should I spend money, take leaves and spend my vacation in handwork, cold and misery? Haven’t you heard that before? I am sure you would have and if you have then can you tell me what you would answer to that question? Clueless right? I know, this can’t be explained.Although, I can share what I felt when I was up there but believe you me, I can hardly make you see that real pleasure which I get from the trekking.
Trekking is not all about getting to the base camp and starting to climb. It actually involves everything, from making a decision to go, planning for leaves, purchasing the best trekking bag you can afford, bottle, shoes to boarding the bus to Dehradun .
For me the trek started months before when I decided to workout religiously, follow a strict diet and collect essentials for trekking from energy bars to warm socks. I watched many youtube videos on “how to pack trekking bag properly” since on my previous trek I struggled with my bag a lot. So this time I wanted to be an efficient trekker and did my homework well. And the day came soon when I whizzed towards ISBT bus stand with my complete trekker look (wink wink- who says you cant do makeup while trekking? Well when makeup includes attitude of trekking then go ahead and dive into the pool of makeup).
When you leave comfort of your soft bed and quilt and sign up for sleeping in cold nights in sleeping bags under a tent then the only thing you wish for is the company of like minded fellow trekkers. Same happened with me and as the journey from Dehradun to Barsu was quiet long, all 6 trekkers gelled up well before the trek. The trek started after mid afternoon and we were told that its easy stretch and only a few hours until we reach Barnala Bugya where we will camp for the first day. But as per me this was the hardest time where we were panting and gasping for air and mostly it was because we started walking after a long sitting period. But the beauty catches your eyes and you forget the pain in your legs. You meet loving dogs and I mean it, they really were adorable dogs with waging tails as if he learned the atithi devo bhava motto pretty well. Then you come across some goats and you stop to take pictures and realize that you are standing in between a picturesque view. Rakesh rightly said that when you are tired of walking, just lift up your head and soak the mesmerizing beauty around you and you will feel fresh
The first day soon broke into darkness after we reached the camping zone with camps all set in place or us. The night was completely dark with no sign of stars and moon. The only light present at that moment was of the bonfire. It was quiet scary but soon the customary “each member sing a song” theme started and which lead to more and more songs and without realization Aditya started singing Malhar which made indra dev pretty happy and hence we got blessed with rain. Sadly the rain didn’t last long and unfortunately we were deprived of the drama of tent filling with water and sleeping in that condition. But as the clouds shed their ego, we were left with a wide open sky filled with uncountable stars which were like small holes in the giant dark blue canvas. The camping time and bonfire specially brings everyone closer where we easily let go of all resentments and sing with ugly high notes and share laughter which fills the mountain forest with love echo.
The most difficult part for me in camping is -SLEEP. I just cant sleep. Sometimes its because of the cold but mostly its the excitement of getting up next day and witnessing mesmerizing beauty. This time we were a very small group so we had luxury of being little reluctant as we could wake up slightly late and still will be able to trek in time. the first night ended with ghost stories, leopard stories, girish’s tiger encounter stories, more laughter and personal stories with yachna in tent (which was not really personal as Aditya was listening to all of them).
The trek next day was the biggest day of all. We started with our packed food for the stretch of 8 km which was all covered in snow. Now the beauty of Dayara Bugyal trek is that it is different in summer and entirely different in winters. In summers its like the ravishing alpine meadow but in winters the stretch is covered with thigh deep snow. After first day of huffing and puffing I had made a point to test my endurance and the benefit of all the workout which I did before starting the trek and hence started the trek with the first person, Mr Bachan Rana. I have realized that the best way to trek efficiently is – walk at same speed and keep walking, too many halts deprives you of the energy which is built in the body while trekking.
“It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks. And it’s always harder than it looks.” (the three rules of mountaineering)
Well while walking from Barnala Bugyal to Dayara Bugyal, you come across well laid route which is like a serpent in mountain, the route makes you confront with your higher side , the side which always wanted to recluse and run into being a nomad. Slowly you reach the snow covered alpines and soon its difficult to even walk. Mr bachan was efficiently making steps for us and we all followed him like the beats of chanting thread. After walking for almost 3 hours we saw huge tents of NIM and got to see some amazing skii slopes and some really nice skiing and I am sure we looked more mesmerizing to them as we were on loose and free to graze the land. But nevertheless I wanted to ski too.
The beauty from this point was second to none. A frozen lake on your left , perfect ski slope on your right , a well needed pergola with stone sit out- I mean what can you wish for more than this? We clicked pictures from all the viable angles and resumed trek again. After more strenuous hard work we finally reached the camping spot which was covered in snow. But the landscaping view of mountains from here is something you have to see in your life. This has to be one of the places to see before one kicks the bucket. I will hold the potters and cook who came along with with high regards forever. They did not waste any time and started making delicious soup for us. later we all decided to stay in cattle sheds as camping on snow would have been icy (obviously). But not before some fun time and I think in this trek we found a customary game for us – Dumb Charades. Oh lord, we laughed till our lungs allowed us and over the period of 3 nights, we can now easily guess a movie by only a few action. But the night in cattle shed was nothing less than best time of life. I do not remember whose idea was to pay truth and dare but hats off to that person. The game was actually truth and truth and the quietest and sober of all Geresh and Ankush also became fultu fun during the game, although I still feel that questions asked to me were not exciting enough. Ok I am not going to reveal any thing what we shared there as we literally took a vow of secrecy on a burning candle. so shhhhhh.
The next morning when we woke up to the sound of breeze, we had no idea that its going to snow again. But in order to grant our wish, it started to snow and for most of us it was the first time we were seeing snow fall. The fall lasted for almost the whole day and hence we got one full day of snow grazing, chatting, more dumb charades and serious talks from Bollywood to Hollywood to panch saal kejriwal and all this with never ending bonfire and alloo paratha, macaroni, coffee, tea and what not. Girish shared his business idea of including “assured 2 kg weight loss in trek” line to the website of Bikat and I have to say that good that you will start this from next trek as we all had too much fun with all greasy and tasty food. Yumm. What more can you wish for in mountains yay.
One of the best thing is trek is that you get to meet local people and this time too I had some nice chat with these potters who came along. I cant emphasis enough on talking to these people as they will bring you closer to the hardship of life on mountains and you feel like doing something for their children but then you realize your existence is too small when it comes to making a bigger difference for a larger group and this time though the talk moved towards fulfilling our social obligations and trying to help some underprivileged children in cities at least with at first with some basic education once all return to their places.
I must add here that Mr Bachan Rana has really encouraged me for something great in life. This man was our guide for trek and has mapped a life very beautifully till date. He is so knowledgeable and humble that you can spend hours listening to his stories. Bharat and Rakesh again were two equally nomadic like me and had some deep and nice chats with them. On the other hand our bubbly group had the contest going on between Yachna and Aditya and I guess Girish was fighting for consolation price and our Ankush was the best fit as he has a perfect balance- not too much and not too less. Towards the afternoon we decided to trek till peak and finish our ascend. We literally ran as all of us wanted to be there at end and what do you think happened their- Lots of snow fight, a snow man, Shot put with snow balls and too many poses for pictures. But the night which followed was something which I still miss. The song marathon. I can not explain in words but this small group had become immensly close. We all could have stayed for years together in that cattle shed although I was scared of rats. I know I know rats right… glad I did not mention Lepord or worse Crockroch.
Well all good things come to an end and this trek had to too but somehow the last day of this trek was again fulfilling. The whole day we descended to Barsu and with each step we were leaving a part of us behind. Some had become too close and some dense. While walking I met Bharat who was literally running in the trails and I was left behind him and felt I might loose my way but soon was accompanied by Rakesh and almost the last three hours we trekked were in solitude but soon we felt that we are lost but Rakesh kept his “daya” skills handy as saw everything of human existence like a spit or a freshly threw chewing gum and that kept us alive. Well I am making it sounds too filmish but whats fun without some drama. right?
But even if you do get lost here, do not worry, you can at least view the seductress beauty of dayara. To our surprise we had reached quiet early but Mr Bharat was already there an hour ago and even this was fun. We played badminton at Barsu while waiting for our group and it was damn fun. Soon Girish joined and then rest of us and then the heart filled with remorse of descending as we could stayed on top only and spend the entire life with snow. I wish I was Alia Bhat of Highway and could spend my life in Dayara Bugyal.
This journey came to end after more hours of travelling and close time with each other but Dayara and its beauty will remain alive in me forever. Yachna rightly said that “It feels to me god had deliberately chosen each of us for this trek” and I could not agree with her more on this. We all might be living in misery with comforts of our houses now but a part of us resides peacefully in Dayara Bugyal forever.