A fascination for travelling and exploring different places almost always takes precedence to the normal mundane life of normal city living. Although one as to earn a living however that is not what we are here for.
So as the explorer bug keeps on harping on my mind time and again, it was time to give it in, the plan was to travel to Uttarakhand and explore the mountains in the winter season. I planned to stay at a small hamlet on the way to Nainitaal from Kathgodam called Bhimtaal. It is a picturesque small little place surrounded by mountains and a huge lake in the middle.
This place is just half n hour to 45 mins from Nainital and bit less touristy than all the famous hill stations near by. I stayed here for a week, absorbing the energy and the vibe of the place. Every season has its own charm and winters are no exception, it becomes really chilly during the night however it is still enjoyable. I visited the Nearby tourist attractions like Nainitaal, Nauchukliyataal however my base was Bhimtaal.
Trolley on the way to the top in Nainital
There is a paragliding point near Bhimtal, there is also Nauchukliyataal (Lake of Nine corners) around 10 kms from Bhimtal.
So after an eventful one week it was time to head towards my hiking trail, we would be trekking upto an high altitude lake called Bramhatal in the Garwhal region of the Himalayas.
Treks always helps to break the communication barrier, meeting new people, making friends with strangers. It was the same in this one also, met new people on the 1st day of the trek, people coming from all over the country made it a good diverse group of individuals. An initial briefing was given about the trail and how to go about it. It sounded not that difficult however the thing with nature is that it is unpredictable so one has to be ready for anything.
Our Base was a small little town of Lohajung, this was the last place where we would be seeing civilization, after that it was all mountains, forest, nature and wildlife. We were staying in a guest house, the last luxury before we set foot on the trail.
The first day is a relatively easy trail, where we leave the civilization and move towards the wilderness, we were a bunch of 20 people all from diverse fields so it was good knowing each other as we set the pace for the journey.For the first few hours, it’s all paved road where we go past small huts and farm fields. Slowly trudging and moving up finally after around 3 hours we set foot in to the forest area, with tall trees giving shade as well as creating a soothing atmosphere. We took a break near a water point and had our lunch there.
It was Afternoon as we finished our lunch and slowly started to move along, it was getting steeper from here now, few of us started to take short breaks as it was getting tougher, we just had lunch and then after that to climb up is a difficult job, but this pain was made up with the magnificent views of the Himalayan range, as we were gaining altitude new scenic vistas of the mountains were opening up.
After a lot of huff and puffs we finally reaching our first day base camp called Bekal Tal. This camp site was near a small lake and yes we could see and feel snow from here onwards
After a not so difficult 1st day, we all gathered in the evening for a small get together, some played Uno some were happy with themselves whereas some were grouping up and discussing varied topics.On the second day we were supposed to climb up much higher and reach Bramhatal lake and then finally the next day to the summit and then back.
The next day after a quick breakfast, we all headed towards our destination, it was a short walk through the forest and suddenly we were out in the meadows, with all the mountain ranges looking so near to us.
It was a good time to relax a bit and soak in nature and it’s all around beauty, many of us started taking photographs, it was a splendid site, bought in an aura of mysticism in the air. Nature abounds no secret its all open out there it is how one interprets it is what matters. Our day was made with these sites in view, we were all happy and cheerful after a tough steep climb but at the end it was all worth it.
We had our lunch overseeing these grand vistas, after lunch we needed to cover around 2 kms more to reach our camp site for the day, we took this onward journey in a very relaxed manner and without any hassles, all of us were in a happy and joyous mood, it took us around another 2 hours to reach the Bramhatal campsite. On the way there were some tricky spots which tested us mentally. like we were walking on a ledge like road with no support on one side and a wide open valley to look down on, but all of us managed to reach safe and sound to the camp site.
There was vibrant energy at the campsite, not a single person seemed tired after a long and tiring day, i think it was the view of the grand vistas and the surreal landscapes which spell bounded all of us. However we needed to sleep early cause the next day early morning was the summit climb and we needed to get up at around 3 am in the morning and start out climb at around 5 am in the morning. We were far away from technology and civilization. Some people were trying to get network signal, however I was happy to be with nature and nature only nothing to disturb. The Sun was setting bringing in the glorious day to an end very quickly we all will be enveloped in darkness of the night sky with only the stars on top of us.
After the sunset the temperature lowered drastically, few of us gathered dry woods to prepare a bonfire. We chit chatted for some time in front of the fire and warming our bodies before we get inside our tent, the talk was on varied topics starting from politics and ending at ghost stories. It was 8 pm an enjoyable day had come to an end.
Summit days are always tough, not for the climb but for getting up so early and then preparing for the challenge, we were woken up at the stated time, all drowsy and unprepared we walked out of our tent, had our breakfast and then finally prepared to start the climb, as we started it was still dark, with headlamps and torches with us we prodded along slowly and silently, the night sky was giving way to a dim shimmer of light, a time one can say for transformation from night to-day, a dawn of a new day bringing with it new possibilities and potentials, it is a blissful period, a time when change happens when night hands over the baton to another day so that the cycle of life moves along.
We were tired but the atmosphere was such that the feeling of tiredness was overtaken by seeing excitement of night turn into day in front of us.
After a short little break, we gave our last push to reach the summit top, most of us were really tired and some were feeling altitude sickness, the sun slowly and steadily had come up in the sky, finally we reached the top at around 6 am in the morning, more grand vistas of the Garhwal Himalayan range had opened up in front of us. We were above 12000 ft now.
As we reached the top we felt a sense of achievement, we rejoiced for some time till all the members reached the summit. All the hard work of coming from thousands of kilometers felt fruitful at last. We spend around 1 hour at the top and finally started our descend back to the Bramhatal campsite. The rest of the day was spent in leisure and relaxation, recounting the adventures of the last 2 days.
The last day was our descend to the base camp to Lohajung, we would be following the same route as we came up, the last day of an eventful trek. It was hard to say goodbye to the serene calmness of the mountains but as in life all good or bad things have to come to an end. Finally bidding goodbye, we started our descend.
We reached the base camp by 5 pm in the evening,descends are always tough and that too being the last day when we are almost finished up with out energy.
It was an eventful week for me, made new friends, stayed with mother nature for some days. I was full of gratitude for the generosity and the kindness shown by the people in the hills. I promise to go back to the mountains again and again.