Before you read this blogpost, I want you to experience what I experienced at Pindari Glacier Zero Point. Log into your google account, open the below link on your laptop, click on slideshow and sit tight to enjoy the 360 degree view of beautiful Himalayas.
360 degree panaromic view of Himalayas.
As the title suggests, this blogpost is an account of my experience of dancing on the tunes of nature. I have been dancing and feeling this euphoric joy of connecting with nature from a long time. This was my fourth solo trek. But still I was novice infront of this mighty himalayan peaks. All along the trail, local people asked me, why was I travelling alone, doesn’t I have friends? How I wished to explain them that I love solitude and have characteristics of a lone wolf and it has got nothing to do with having friends but just settled up with telling them that travelling solo makes one more aware of the surroundings and gives one more time to enjoy all the stupendous beauty that this mighty himalayan valley has to offer. The one thing that made this trek more beautiful than my other treks is colours. Since it was an autumn season, the lower himalayas was full of colours, different beautiful colours. It seemed like nature was creating an abstract art by itself. I felt like trees were talking to me, asking me to click their photos. To me trees seemed like a beautiful ornament of the valley. The colors and the energy flowing could make anyone feel at peace. Also, the trees were shedding their leaves and the trail was full of dead colorful leaves, it was an exquisite pleasure to walk on these dead leaves.
I have learnt many new things, explored new places, and met many new people after becoming a traveller. And I will forever be on debt to Christopher McCandless whose story (Into the Wild) inspired me to travel and go on adventures alone.
As like my other treks, this was also accomplished solo. I believe there is no greater joy than going out on a date with Himalayan Valley alone and having a intense conversation about nature and life and philosophy.
Route Followed : Allahabad (0 Km) – Bareilly (476 Km by Train) – Haldwani (100 Km by Bus) – Bageshwar (180 km by Bus) – Kharkiya(50 km by Jeep) – Khati (5 km by Trek) – Phurkiya (18 km by trek) – Pindari Glacier Zero Point (9 kms by trek)
Total Cost : Rs 3500
Total Trekking distance : 60 kms
1st November 2015 – 2nd November 2015
A friend was supposed to accompany me on this trek but he ditched me on the last moment and I had to went for this trek alone. This turned out to be the most adventurous trek for me. Until I boarded the train for Bareilly, I was not even sure if I should go for this trek or not. I was afraid of the cold that I will have to face at an altitude of 4000m in the month of November. Somehow, I gathered my courage to do this alone. I reached Bareilly at 5 am on 2nd November 2015, boarded a jeep to Haldwani, and then a bus to Bageshwar. Everything was well planned and was according to my rules but the one thing that I needed the most to keep my Motion Sickness in check was forgotten. I forgot to take my medicine and after travelling for around 100 kms, I lost my mind and was in very bad shape. Anxiety kicked in and I was hanging to the window of the bus for fresh air. I didn’t even try to eat anything because of motion sickness and was hungry for like last eight hours. It was dreadful. Somehow I reached Bageshwar and booked a dormitory bed in KMVN Bageshwar, ate food and slept peacefully. Yet again I was excited for one another solo trek. I was waiting for all the adventures, activities, experience and new people that this journey had in pandora box for me.
3rd November 2015
Bageshwar is the last place in the route where one have electricity, good food and basic necessities. I ate as much as I can, charged my camera and phone batteries. I woke up early on 3rd November 2015, checked out of KMVN and boarded a jeep for Kharkiya. Then began my dreaded journey through the dangerous himalayan roads which was narrow and had landslide prone zones in between. I was in constant fear of the jeep falling down in the valley. Thankfully it didn’t. There were other people in the jeep, one of them was a guide for some trekking agency. His name was Devendra. He tried to make me afraid by telling me stories about people getting lost in Pindari valley because they didn’t take a guide with them. I was also stubborn, I made it clear that I would do this trek alone or not at all. He was silent for the rest of the journey. And then we talked about mountains and life of the people living in mountains. He talked about the hardships that localities have to face in their day to day lives. I was just listening silently and felt lucky to be where I am now. Atlast, he also accepted that Pindari Glacier trek can be done solo and asked me to be cautious in the trail and never lose the sight of the path and I would be good to go. He was a cheerful fellow .
In between this talks, we reached Kharkiya. I ate my lunch and started to trek towards Khati Village which was just 5 km away from Kharkiya. In the route I saw some children coming towards my way. I could not control my happiness after seeing such cute little children. I started clicking their photos.
Soon the sun was about to cross the horizon and the golden hour started. The sky turned into fiery orange colour. It felt like the clouds are on fire. Without any delay, I took out my DSLR and clicked some beautiful photos.
Soon, I reached to a place from where two beautiful valleys were visible, this was first time in my trekking experience, I was seeing something like this.
After that I took a room in Khati Village and asked the caretaker to prepare food for me. I ate dinner, chit chatted with the caretaker for a while, and retired for the night.
4th November 2015
Today I had to trek 18 kms alone. I was excited. I woke up early to see a beautiful sunrise. And then I had my breakfast, packed my lunch for the day and started the trek. Soon I left Khati Village behind and then entered proper forest with not a single human being in the vicinity. After around 4 kms of walk, I met this bunch of school children who came for a school trip to Kafni Glacier. They were in 12th standard and most of them wanted to join army. They had this huge craze for adventure and thought that joining army would be an adventure for them. I was happy to hear that they were not in the rat race of becoming an engineer or doctor. They asked me if I would like to join them but I declined because I didn’t had any camping gears with me and also the trail for the Kafni Glacier was destroyed in 2013 Uttrakhand Floods. So, it was not possible for me to go for that trek without proper tent and sleeping bags. There was this dog who was following them from village Khati. We soon became good friends and I shared some of my biscuits with him.
After that I stuck with my Pindari Glacier trail and soon left them behind. Now I was walking on river bed, the lower moraine region. There was no definite trail. I had to choose my directions wisely and had to always keep an eye on the footsteps of people who had travelled earlier through these sandy trail. Earlier the trail was through the forest itself but after the destruction in 2013 floods the trail was damaged and the new trail was made alongside the river itself. It was an enthralling experience to walk alongside the river. The water was moving swiftly and was making a buzz sound. I was in cloud nine. I was alone. I started shouting madly and started making sounds like a wolf. A lone wolf. I became almost mad. You can see my madness in the below youtube video.
Now I came to this bridge which could make someone shiver just by the thought of crossing it. Somehow slowly with the thought of ‘Darr ke aage jeet hai’, I crossed the bridge. I crossed three such bridges. It took breath out of my lungs.
After crossing the third bridge, I came out of the river and started walking along the mountain. The trail became steep and the forest became denser. It was more than 5 hours since i was alone in the forest. It was almost 2 pm, and more 4 kms of trek was left. I was exhausted and hungry. I had no energy to walk further more, I took out my packed lunch and ate the most delicious lunch which seemed like food from a million star hotel. After resting for a while I started walking again. I reached Phurkiya by 4 pm. I took my DSLR and started my photography session then and there.
After clicking some photos, I went inside the guest house. I didn’t really expected someone at Phurkia because it was an off season and not many trekkers come to Pindari Glacier in November. But to my surprise, I met this couple Rana Bhaiya and his wife Pracheta who were already staying there. And then we started talking. It turned out they were a couple traveller and have travelled together to many beautiful places and then we started sharing our kinky travelling stories and showed photos of our travelling destination to each other. I told myself, I am going to be like this couple. I am going to travel with my wife or girlfriend to all these beautiful places. Soon it was dark and after a while we ate our dinner and slept peacefully. I was very tired after walking around 20 kms today.
5th November 2015
Today I had to walk upto zero point of Pindari Glacier and return back. I along with Rana bhaiya and his wife started our trek at 5 am. It was still dark. We were walking with our torches in our hand. We wanted to see the sunrise from a point where we could see Nanda Khat clearly.
It was freezing cold in morning.Even the water flowing in small water falls were frozen. My hands froze up, the only exposed part of my body because I forgot to took gloves with me. I was not able to feel my hands, we had to make a bon fire and heat our hands. Now, I came towards a dangerous stretch of the trail which could skip a heartbeat of someone who is afraid of heights. Very slowly and with support of a stick that I found nearby, I crossed that stretch.
And then I reached this place which was no less than a heaven. Being interested in landscape photography, the landscape of that place gave me an immense joy. I thought, even if I die at such a beautiful place, I would have no regrets. The landscape was a drug in itself. It made me naturally high. I was in a state of euphoria. I let the couple go ahead and I sat there to let the beauty of the Himalayas sink into me. Soon, I went into this philosophical phase, and started thinking about the nature and things. I don’t know why but everytime when I go to himalayas, I feel like I have kept a small part of my soul there. I vividly remember every single detail of every second of all my Himalayan treks. And when I sit down in my room and think about my treks, I replay every event in my head. I think I go himalayas again and again in the search of my lost soul. These mountains, speaks in silence to the very core of our being. It seemed to me that the mountains were talking to me. After soul searching for about half an hour, I continued my trek.
Soon, we reached Pindari Baba Dharamand’s ashram. He lives there alone in a small hut. He has been living there for past 25 years, that’s even more than my age. I was stunned. He offered us tea and biscuits and talked to us about the social work that he has been doing in the region. He has setup a school in village Khati where children going to any school is an luxury in itself. I was overwhelmed by his talks. I asked him if I can stay with him that day, but he refused as I didn’t had any sleeping bag with me.
We started our trek again, we reached pindari glacier soon. I don’t know how to express the happiness that I felt in that moment. I decided to take a nap in the lap of nature. The 360 degree panoroma that you saw above is of this place itself. Taking a nap in a beautiful place like this was kind of bliss.
After a while we started to trek back and reached Dwali in evening which was around 12 kms from Pindari Glacier Zero Point. And then the next morning, I trekked till Kharkiya with this man who was a porter but had worked as sherpa with many mountaineering teams. He told me stories of his ascent of Mt. Gangotri and many other peaks and made my return journey worthwhile. By 1 pm, I reached Kharkiya and then took a jeep for Bageswar. And finally my trek ended.
The two most important life lessons that I learnt after this trek were,
1. Before this trek, I appreciated this quote from GOT “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?That is the only time a man can be brave,”, but never lived it. This time I lived this quote. Living this quote is altogether a different experience. I was all alone in the wilderness for around 6-7 hours and was scared as hell because weather was becoming bad and all I could do was have faith in myself and ‘Be Brave’. When you have no option left, you are forced to be brave.
2. I walked along the edge of the trail and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made, it was autumn season.The wind was rising, the air was wild, the trail was full of leaves, the trees were full of colors, and yet everything was dying. I cannot describe the beauty that I experienced in mere words. Everything was so colorful and dead.This made me contemplate how beautiful can death be and why every dead thing must fall down to give way to a new beginning.
Even after reading my account of experiences and adventure, if the thirst of travelling has not ignited in your hearts than see this video that was made by google from my collection of photos and videos. This video will surely make you envious of me for I have experienced such immense beauty and you are still thinking of experiencing it. Go out man/woman, travel, have fun and make history in your hearts. We are young and full of energy,we don’t want to miss our share of adventures, do we?