Day 3, some of us were again up at 5 in the morning in hope of the sky clearing up so that we could get a good view of peaks in front of us which were covered with clouds for whole time the day before. It was dark and cold so three of us decided to go for a small hike till the Gui meadow and explore the area nearby. The views were not that great as the whole landscape was covered with clouds but the experience of an early morning hike with the fresh air rejuvenated us. After the hike, we got back down to the camp for a health checkup and breakfast. By about 8 AM, the clouds cleared up and gave way to a sharp sun which gleamed over the snow covered peaks right in front of us. The view was something even better than what we had imagined and it just left us longing for more. At around 9, we started our ascent for Dayara camp. The hike today was short but steep. The terrain was mostly stone covered trail with sometimes the views clearing up and giving us a glimpse of the mighty peaks. Another noteworthy thing in such treks is you meet a variety of people from a different backgrounds and sometimes your frequency matches with them and it just fulfils that void in your brain which was existing from ages. For families, it’s a great way of enjoying the blessings which they have and establishing the value of near and dear ones in their lives. By about 12, the weather started deteriorating and our trek guide recommended that a small group should pace ahead and help in setting up the camp as it might rain/snow heavily in a few hours. By 1, few of us reached the camp and started setting up the tents. By about 1:30, everyone had reached and all the tents were set up. As we started having lunch, a hailstorm hit our camp and all of us had to get back to our tents. That hail storm lasted for about 4 hours after which we got out of our tents and witnessed something which is difficult to describe in words. It was a little like the moment from movie Everest when the trekkers wake up in the middle of night to realize that the blizzard has passed and it’s safe to summit. Yes, I am exaggerating it a little but that’s what mountains do to you. All your emotions are heightened and it gets you an adrenaline rush which is just better experienced than explained. All the surrounding peaks which were earlier green were now covered with snow and that glittering light on the peaks gave us the hint that it was fresh snowfall on the surrounding peaks. We got a relatively clear view in front but still most of the peaks were covered with thick clouds. After spending some time with the group and having dinner, all of us retired to our tents by about 10. It was pretty cold (5 degrees) but the sleeping bags along with the liners did a pretty good job at protecting us from the cold.
Day 4, some of us again got up at 5 in the morning to witness a beautiful sunrise and explore the area around. At about 6:30, we got to see a glaring ball of fire rising from between the mountain ranges and lightning up the area wherever its rays fell. A bright sunrise at 5 degrees temperature and a warm cup of tea with some mighty mountains in the front, nothing can really beat this view and experience.
After having a delicious breakfast and taking packed lunch we started for the summit at around 9. Today was the day we were going to summit Dayara Top and with the amount of determination we had, we were pretty hinged on the idea of reaching Bakriya top which was a 2 hour hike from Dayara top. The guide had already given us a go ahead if the weather remained favorable. We started our walk under bright sunlight but within minutes whole sky was engulfed by dark clouds which were threatening us with a wild rumble every few minutes. After walking for about 30 minutes it started snowing. Initially we were confused if it was rain or snow. But eventually as the flakes started depositing on the meadows, we realized it was snowfall. Watching snow fall ticked off a point from a lot of bucket lists in our group. As we progressed on the trail, it kept on getting colder. At one point it got so cold that getting hands out of the pockets was like sentencing them to a sure shot dose of frost bite. Yes, I am exaggerating again but that’s how the cold feels like to a novice trekker. After walking for about an hour in snowfall we reached a point from where the ascent was quite steep and the snow fall had turned into a blizzard making the ascent dangerous considering we had kids in our group. All the trekkers gathered at that point, took pictures and decided that since it was dangerous ahead, people who want to go back will be sent back along with the kids and a guide. Rest will follow the trek leader and go for the summit. At that place and moment, it felt like the cold weather has not just frozen us, it has frozen the time too. Although trekking in those conditions was difficult, the experience was mystical. We followed our trek guide and kept walking through the snow. There were places where the snow was 2-3 ft. deep but following the trail left by our trek guide helped us navigate through the rough conditions. This was the time when all of us were lost in our own minds and were just enjoying the snow-scape. After about 1 hour of trekking in snow storm, we were able to reach the summit and click some pictures. The visibility was pretty low because of the snow storm and we were barely able to see anything beyond 100 meters but enthusiasm was still at its peak. We started our descent at about 12 and while we were descending our trek leader got a radio transmission from the camp telling it snowed heavily at Dayara camp and all the tents are getting buried under the snow. We got pretty excited on hearing that as it would be a whole different experience seeing the same area under different weather conditions. While we were trekking back to our camp the snow storm calmed and turned into a beautiful snowfall which provided us with a beautiful snow-scape. All the places which we saw while coming up were turned into something totally different because of the snow covered terrain. The water in small patches was turning into semi-frozen ponds and it was amazing to watch it happen right in front of our eyes. After taking a ton of pictures and shooting a lot of boomerangs, we finally reached our camp to see everything almost buried under snow.
Directly we headed to a small hut where an elderly person made us some tea and Maggi. After the snacks we gathered in the dining tent, had our packed lunch and headed back to our tents to rest for some time. In the evening, sky had cleared out totally giving way to the sun which radiated the whole mountain range in front of us. All the mighty peaks like Mt. Srikanth, Draupdi ka Danda I and II, Gangotri I and II looked like they were at a stone throw’s distance. The setting sun casting its golden shine on the peaks just made the scenery look phenomenal. We roamed around the camp for some time, clicked a lot of pictures with all the peaks in background and finally ended the day with a lot of memories to cherish for a long time.
Day 5, this day was reserved for descent from Dayara camp to Barsu which was on the other side of the hill. The descent was relatively easy and less taxing on our bodies. We started our descent from Dayara camp at about 9 and reached Barsu by 1 PM. The trail was similar to the one we followed while coming up but the trail via Raithal was more scenic and provided for more camping locations as compared to the trail from Barsu.
On reaching Barsu guest house, all of us freshened up and gathered for a final team meet. There was a mix of emotions in the room, some were excited, some were emotional, some had rediscovered themselves, some had developed a father son bond which will last them a lifetime and some were just looking forward to whatever life gives them with new energy. Everyone was thinking about what to say in the farewell and more or less the things boiled down to how we came here with a few people but are leaving with a huge family and a lot of appreciation for the way Indiahikes organized the trek. We relaxed for the whole day after that and prepared ourselves for getting back in the vicious circle of jobs and life but with the hope that someday when we are burnt out and looking for a new source of energy, the mountains will be there to give that to us.