Part 5 – The Final Countdown
Day 7 – Rest day at Nundkol Campsite
That night we were surprised with a campfire. Carefully tending the fire, for long lasting warmth we all sat around the fire to sing songs. Since the group was a mix of people from various parts of the world, we decided to sing songs in our native language.From Kannada, to Marathi, Hindi, Kashmiri, English and Japanese, the night was alive and the mountains echoed with some melodious voices. After a nice session of music and shayari the fire abated and soon there was pitch darkness.
Day 8 – From Gangabal (11,500 ft) to Naranag (7,450 ft) (approx 15kms – 7 hours)
It was our last day of trek and the we had to bid adieu to the beautiful mountains. With a heavy heart we began our trek downhill. The trail and scenery kept changing as we started descending. From plain mountains, to boulders we then reach beautiful meadows. From here we start getting a view of the pine trees which is very scenic.
And when you look back the Harmukh Peak looks fantastic. After the entire meadow patch, we now enter the trail through pines. It was a bit chilly here, due to the dense tree line. But the trail was definitely exhilarating. As we trek further down, it is very tough on the knees and toes.
By now the excitement of completing the trek was setting in. I couldn’t wait to see some human civilization. I couldn’t wait to hear the voice of loved ones back home. We stopped for a brief moment at a shepherd hut for a hot cup of “chai” and some biscuits. In 8 days that was the first time we sat on something called “bench”.
Further on the descent was too steep and it was difficult to balance oneself. There felt a constant force on the back pushing me downwards. For the rest of the trek , I could only feel myself scampering down and it was such a toe crushing experience. By now I already started getting worldly thoughts of taking a shower, sleeping on a soft bed, using my phone etc. I ran aimlessly with absolutely no control over my body and in an hour I could spot the road. We had descended to about 8,500 feet now and I had to pinch myself to believe that I had finally accomplished this feat, an experience so enthralling and soul satisfying. Denzil and I were the first ones to reach Naranag and we waited for the rest to join.
When everyone asks me how the experience was, I find it hard to put in words to express the exact feeling. All I can say is, just go there to experience it. Its been more than a month and I’m still not over the Himalayas. I still feel pain in the ears when I listen to the sound of traffic, my lungs still feel the lack of fresh air, my mind misses the serenity and my eyes thoroughly miss the visual beauty. Its just been a month and the whatsapp conversation with my newly found mountain friends goes this way:
When in the mountains there is no outside world, no noise and no haste. There is only you and the rhythm of the nature. And as Edmund Hillary quotes , “It’s not the mountain we conquer , but ourselves”.