Excitement all around! Laka was calling! Oreo cake now appeared to be even more gigantic! Making us realize that actually human presence is so trivial when it comes to mother nature! We all wore the green T-shirts captioned “Mountains are calling and I must go!” being distributed by Yuvashakti.
It was extremely chilly! Ice cold... Brushing teeth was a real struggle. We were being briefed, instructed and warned, informed about the do’s and don’ts. All were to walk in a single line. The backpack we were to carry to the glacier was supposed to be the lightest. Visit Laka glacier, have fun, return and spend the rest of the day at Triund hilltop! Only packed lunch, water, some dry snacks and rain / snow crafting gear were to be carried.
The climb began. While walking, we felt as if Dhauladhar was moving closer and closer. The steep climb began. Here, we had a white fur ball accompanying us. Surprisingly, in spite of the road being quite tough, this cutie managed to climb up till the glacier!
After 2 kilometres, the steep, tricky ascent set in. There were deep valleys on one side, and snow-covered dense patch on the other. Serotonin and adrenaline were competing to reach high levels in the circulation! The snow was half fresh, melting, soft, slippery. We HAD to keep the upper body straight, focus on climbing and keep going. Toughest was when there was mud mixed with half snow half water, layered on a rock to be climbed on! There were big snow-covered boulders with steep inclination.
Few thousand meters more and we were to start the fun!
And…alas!!! We all reached Laka! The moraines! Just lofty hills and mountains and mighty peaks on all four sides! The bags were thrown somewhere randomly on the snow or possible rocks. Nobody refrained from climbing up the ‘deputed’ patch and slide down. It was tempting to slide repetitively. We fell while climbing up, slid. Again, we attempted and fell.! Continued, reached the top and came sliding in groups! Slow MOs and normal videos with funny boomerangs managed to keep it all ‘well documented’! Numb bums everywhere! We also spotted a small café, creatively structured in the snow. Here, obviously, the Maggie costed the most…Lol! We threw snow balls at each other, the two fluffs preferred to sit aside and be the audience for the funny human acts in their area.
There were photo sessions both group and individual, with the fluffs, continuously going on.
To utilize the creativity and mark that fun, few of us started making a snowman. Individuals were assigned for managing to obtain snow, arrange it, shape it, fix it and then touch it up. Searching for the nose, mouth and ears for our cute little snowman took time. It became the prime centre of attraction. Thanks to our sweet architect friend and an aspiring artist cum architect! Nobody paid any heed to hunger till the time their photo session and enjoyment till the depth of the heart seemed to be over which was never.
In the middle of the snowy land, there was a rock, which became a hotspot for all to get clicked. The sun had been playing hide and seek with us through the clouds. Similarly, a peak at 5800 meters played hide and seek through dense cotton candies floating in the blue skies. It hardly showed up, most of the time being covered by clouds. Its height made us imagine how high Mt. Everest must be!
Snow fights constantly went on. We sat making place somewhere on the rocks nearby and gulped our lunch. The silence whilst having it proved how hungry everyone actually was. It was almost 3:00 p.m. when we wrapped stuff and were ready to hike down to the camp at Triund hilltop. We knew, that this was going to be missed badly later! Eyes were stuck on the mighty mountains of Dhauladhar range. It was a premium postcard view.!
Descent began. The same risky roads, the slippery snowy rocks, wet mud, uneven terrain. Looking back at the moraine with a sad feeling of ‘getting detached’ with it. We couldn’t camp in Laka due to excess snow.
The leaders made the atmosphere light and funny by initiating snow fights and snuggles by themselves! A hasty hullabaloo! Descending was tough. There were more chances of collapsing. I had to capture moments and sceneries on our way back.
Every step was crucial. Critical! We found an adventurous spot to climb on and get captured with the jaw dropping view. Climbing up that highly inclined, almost a straight rock needed assistance. Luckily, we had a local guide with us. He managed to take us all up that rock and make us stand there steady for a snap! Looking down back gave the view of the deep valley, it felt as if we would have fainted if we stared for long! Extreeeme adrenaline rush! I took the guts to stand on that rock patiently, WITHOUT looking down for long, somehow balancing initially. It was Cloud nine! I never imagined what had just happened! Also, on our way, the leader showed us a café which was formed by compounds of the colourful prayer flags hanging and flying in the winds, had cosy chairs and tables with one of the most magnificent views of the cotton candy Oreo cake.
At around 4.30, we speeded up and reached Triund by 5. Sipping tea with that adventures at Laka in mind was something like a pleasant hangover. We couldn’t believe that the actual trek was on the verge of getting concluded. We were to leave from Triund the next day and trek back to the base camp.
We played UNO in the hills, the game which makes or mars friendships, they say! Some genuine conversations about music, life in general, the hills remained carved in the minds.
Second night at Triund. There was campfire, music, feedback about the whole trek. As a token of thanking the local leaders and their crew for being able to manage such good food and hospitality at those high altitudes, we all decided to pay a fairly manageable amount. Also, as a responsibility towards mother Nature for letting us enjoy safely, we ensured that there was not even a single bit of garbage left anywhere on the campsite. This was executed the next morning.
Moon that day, was somewhat near to half with an entirely different shape-colour-hide and seek pattern. We went to sleep with heavy hearts, an unwillingness to leave.
Chilly, thoughtful, satisfied, happy goodnight!