Saturday, July 24, 2010


Hiking seems like the real sport not that I know much about other natural sports like wave and wind surfing. It feels like discovering oneself again in the lap of the sire nature.

In retrospect, I am reminded of my trekking trail on splendid Hemkunt Mountains of Middle Himalayas where blended aroma of cold ice, flowers and wet mud brings even musk to shame .It’s fun to watch how nature seals this place for 8 months to come up with a kaleidoscope of Glaciers, Waterfalls, Mountains, Transparent Lakes and Flower Valleys. When the monsoon rains begin, the ice and snow melt and meadows of ferns and moss and wildflowers paints the lake bank.

I remember how we hiked 22 kilometers steep tracks for flower valley and Hemkunt shrine on the same day and how the hot stew from rice and lentils we got in the Shrine felt like Ambrosia to the fagged souls and how dipping the feet the cold waters of Hemkunt Lake snatched the pain out the feet and made them numb. It was a sight to behold-the cold glossy lake fenced by the 7 mountains and so clear that you could peep in for the rocks on the bed.

We stayed on the small army quarters in the middle of forest and the best thing was the scenic view of snow clad mountain from our window in the morning and river flowing beneath.In India,you are lucky to have an uncle in the Indian army given the fact of all the royalty from the British expire handed over to the army,the most important being the army men still maintaining those British etiquettes and life style.You really feel like a king there and it feels so good for a change with servants at your disposal.Especially if you go to remote places,the army quarter is the best place and may be the only place to stay unless you are backpacking.

This time while googling for a hike route I came across Appalachians and find this really interesting read:

To be honest I didn’t realize there were already the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail AND the 1,862 mile International Appalachian Trail (IAT) which extends far north into Canada. Unfortunately portions of the Canadian IAT require train and ferry connections and as such only about 100 folks have completed the whole thing.

Technically the Appalachian mountain range exists in Europe as well (you know, the whole Pangea thing) and runs through Greenland, the UK, Norway, France, Spain, and Morocco. The newest IAT extension will also require train and ferry connections and perhaps even a passport. Could the IAT one day become the longest trail in the world?

We ended up doing a minuscule of it with the stats of the round trip being 6 hours for 25 kilometers .Unlike the Hemkunt one this didn’t have a paved path way path to abide by, you could just check white signs on the trees and follow them. It was such a breather to spot out a few blue ones on the way and drink cold fresh water from the rivulet being already out of water stock. You can’t spot out many fellow travelers; may be a few if you are lucky. The ones whom we met were planning to do a quarter of the trail for a month and were carrying bag packs with food and tents all the way. I can imagine how difficult it is to do that on such a severe track and just surviving on the beef stew all along just because it’s very light weight. Only time you can savor a regular meal is when you come across some township in between the trail. I could see the remains of the fire places in between though which people could be using while camping.

Nowadays, it’s so difficult to spare a month or two unless you are in middle of changing your job or so but then you got to be really interested in wildlife or photography to do it for so long but I heard people doing it for 4 months. Kudos really!!

I observed some torn tree trunks and it seemed that they were once home for the bees and then bears had ripped open trees or hives to feast on honey, honeycomb, bees and bee larva. I could spot out some of the wild pink mushrooms too. As my roommate told me, the colored ones are poisonous but the white ones are edible.

When I look back, the visit to the flower valley of Hemkunt was great in the sense of a having a company of a local guide feeding us about the plant species growing out there. Every plant had such a peculiar shape matching its nature like poisonous ones looking like snake fangs. We could spot some birches whose barks were used by our sages to write all our sacred books. The best part of the whole journey was going near the point of no coming back - a deep crevasse on the glacier ice sheet we were walking on ….

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