This is the Part 2 of our one of the Ultimate experiences in the trekking history – Conquering the Dainkund, that is all about our journey to the highest peak of Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.
Undoubtedly the first four days daily brought some or the other excitement in us but we were the most excited for the day 5. This is because we all knew in advance that the first four days were just the trailer of the real movie which was going to be shot Today. So, here’s the description of our most exciting day of our trip.
Again woke up and got ready early in the morning to capture the beautiful mornings of the Kalatop. Finishing our breakfast and packing our lunch boxes we were again ready for the trek – this time the toughest one. Looking at our day before experience, we were sure this was not going to be an easy task for us. Going through the same Kalatop Forest, we again reached Lakkadmandi and had a short break there. This time we took lesser time than yesterday. Now we had walk on the roads filled with snow on both the sides. As we were walking on the roads we had to be careful of the vehicles passing by the road. You won’t find many vehicles there but the vehicles descending down are pretty more risky due to the snow on the edges of the road.
After walking for some far we came across lots and lots of snow….. Suddenly we saw a big hill of snow. We were wondering why our guides had chosen to take a break at such a turning point. Reason was, they were waiting for everyone to assemble to show us a new trekking path……. Once everyone had reached, our guides informed us that we had to climb that hill to reach further. We were like, seriously?????? Walking on the roads covered with snow was a bit acceptable but climbing a complete hill covered with snow that too without any harness or other accessories to help us climb it….. Frankly they did not even provide us much time to think upon whether we would be able to do this is not, they just made us start our climb. We were supposed to follow the steps prepared by our guides ahead.
The boys in our group started following the guide and they seemed to be doing so very easily so we joined the line. Well we were supposed to be in a single line. Starting the trek was like oh yes, it’s fun. But as we reached halfway, a few girls in our group started saying they won’t be able to climb any more, some out of fear and a few had started facing the breathing problems. Here came in the other guide from behind us to pull such girls till the top of the hill along with him one by one. The guide who had already reached on the top came back running to help the others. This was something incredible. Climbing on the snow with the snow level till your knee isn’t that easy, but look at them they are running, reaching to help out, pulling the lady till the top of the hill in no time……… We chose to manage it out ourselves as there were many who were really quite afraid. Finally we reached the top and discovered that we have again reached to the road. And the mystery is revealed, we had not climbed a hill but just taken a shortcut to cover more distance.
Wait dear, this is not the end. Again we started climbing another imaginary hill to reach to a greater height. Similarly we crossed one more hill. After crossing three of them everyone was a bit tired so we inquired about how many more such hills were to be crossed and the answer was five in all. We had a few people in our group who had chosen to take the roads instead of taking these shortcuts. In-spite of having this option, we had a young lady of around 47 years of age who chose to be with us. Of course at least one of our guides was always around her to her climb the so called hills. She was the real inspiration for the ones climbing those hills.
After climbing five hills, we reached the gate of the temple we were looking for because we were informed that our destination would be very close to us after reaching there. On the right hand side we also noticed the Army Base Camp’s Gate. Looking at that gate geared us up more. So, now started our last segment of our trek to the top most point – The Dainkund. Here I would like to mention that our guides were very smart enough at every part of our today’s trek. Yes, you got it right. They had again indirectly fooled us. No doubt that segment was a very small segment against what we had been doing since the morning, but the toughest one……
The path starting from the gate had stairs but I think they also wanted to have fun so they were completely covered with loads and loads of snow. Unaware about the path ahead we started again. Slowly and gradually we could see the destination. And the path towards our goal seemed to be very very scary. Our guides were encouraging by showing us how near is our goal. “You just have to reach there. See they have already reached.” The ice there was very slippery, if you loose your balance, you will surely take many of the people behind you along with you to the starting point. We were just thinking about the possibility and a girl missed her balance. Luckily there was a guide just behind her, so she was helped by the guide to reach to the destination before us. Slowly and steadily, we finally reached to the topmost point.
After spending some victorious moments there we started inquiring about our descending techniques. Again it was a mystery, with just a small and innocent phrase “ It’s going to be fun.” Don’t even try guessing, these guides were really awesome at finding those techniques. Imagine the path was slippery that we weren’t able to climb it, how were we going to descend. And here comes the Masterplan. We were supposed to slide through that way to reach down till that gate of the temple. Sounds great! Doesn’t it? Everyone must have some time in our lives had fun at the traditional slides. Didn’t we? But here is a little twist in the story, you are going to slide on the snow. We realized the snow entering our clothes after two such slides. After a few such cold slides we finally reached that gate.
Now the journey further had no more twists as were just supposed to descend through the roads. After walking for an hour or so we reached Lakkadmandi. Had that traditional soup to get some warmth and energy and again started walking to reach our basecamp at Kalatop. Toady everyone was a tired and most of us had been wet due to the snow which had entered our clothes during that slide. So we were all around that campfire we had discussed about the day before yesterday. At such a place you cannot have heavy meals or even don’t feel like having much water. So we had some light dinner and went to sleep early after the Campfire. Campfire there was not organized for fun but it was more to help us fight with the cold.
It’s the sixth day of our adventurous trip. Who is tired??? Obviously everyone was super excited for today as well. Reason ? We were being taken to Khajjiar – The Mini Switzerland of India also known as the Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh. We had been to Himachal Pradesh many times before this trip but every time we did not get a chance to witness this beautiful place. Sometimes it was because of the snow that blocks the path towards Khajjiar and sometimes because of the time constraint. So this time we were just hopping for the roads to be kind on us so that we could visit Khajjiar this time.
Our guides were going to inform us in the morning about the status of the roads leading to Khajjiar. And it was a good news for us. The roads were clear this time. This time the trekking was only to be done till Lakkadmandi and after that we had to hire cabs that would take us to the heavenly Khajjiar. We finally reached Khajjiar. This was the most exciting day of our trip, of course after the Victory Day.
Khajjiar is a wonderful place with lots of greenery with a sweet little lake in the center that is the most attractive part of the location. The cool and calm atmosphere of Khajjiar is so captivating that you can easily spend all your day without even looking at your watch.
After the complete day in Khajjiar, we were not willing to return back but had to. We finally returned back to Dalhousie in the late evening and we spent our last night in Dalhousie. We had to leave from Dalhousie next early morning, so we were awake till late night making fun with our team mates.
Early morning 6 am, we boarded in our buses and left for Pathankot. With a couple of stops, we reached Pathankot. This time our stay in Pathankot was for a couple of hours. We had been informed that Pathankot is famous for a few things. So we just dumped our bags at the railway station and left to explore Pathankot. The most of the market had the materials for the Indian Army.
Finally the time came when we had to board the train which would take us from Pathankot to Ahmedabad and would end our adventurous trip. We weren’t having any excitement this time when we boarded our train. Reason was clear, we really did not like to end our trip. This time we did not get down with the same enthusiasm but just got down to get tea, snacks, food and all.
We reached back to Ahmedabad and our trip ended here. We had returned with double baggage as we had brought a very big bag full of so many cherishable memmories with us. We are really thankful to the complete Invincible team with us throughout our journey with a special thanks to our guides. We are also thankful to the complete group for being so enthusiast and the sportsmanship of each and every group member.