The Trek was designed around the Great Lakes of Kashmir which can be only reached on foot or by pony. Having already experienced the walk through the meadows on Day 1 and the beauty of the Vishansar Lake on Day 2 of the Trek we were eager for more.
Day 3: Vishansar (12000 ft) to Gadsar (12000 ft) via Gadsar Pass (13750 ft)
It was a gorgeous morning with clear blue sky and warm sunshine and we were all set for our date with the alpine lakes. After a short ascent we were walking next to Krishansar Lake named after Lord Krishna. This lake is less than a kilometer away from Vishansar Lake but definitely the larger of the two. While not so clearly visible, it does drain its water into Vishansar Lake. Surrounded by green meadows and snowy mountains, the clear blue water in the lake was picture perfect. I could sense a sudden desire to just sit there and party with the clouds and wind but time and schedule thought otherwise. The banks were wet and slushy and we had to be careful at every step. I took deep breaths as I walked, secretly wishing to absorb all the calm and stillness to power the difficult climb ahead to Gadsar Pass. The 65 degree gradient along the mountain was a hard climb, and I often stopped to look back at the lake which egged me on. After a steep climb of about 2 hours we were at a point where we could see both Vishansar and Krishansar stretched out in the lap of nature enveloped by white clouds.
I kept taking a few steps ahead and looking back until the lakes quietly merged into the horizon. Sometimes in life we do the same, holding on to happy times oblivious of the future. Right or Wrong, I dont know !! I had considerably slowed down and had some catching up to do. The wind was blowing hard and clouds went astray but the sunshine on the mountain tops warmed my heart. I walked fast to the chants of “Om Mane Padme Hum” which instantly enabled me to center and focus like always. Between sips of water, a few stops to admire the untouched beauty of nature, we trekked through meadows and occasional rocky patches. We missed the blooming meadows but the occasional red, blue and yellow patch was proof enough of what would be in the month of July and August.
Just when I though it was getting a tad bit monotonous, we stumbled down next to a beautiful bluish green lake popularly known as Gadsar or the Fish Lake. The deep seated lake was nestled between mountains, one of which seemed to have a vertical crack and was being continuously fed by the glacier atop. As I sat next to it, on a boulder it reminded me of a shy teen with limpid blue eyes. I look up to the sky and ask “Why am I here?” “Will I come again?” The grass and the stones whispered huskily which was music to my ears. I could sense a drop of salt on my lips and I sheepishly looked around to check if my trek mates had seen that odd tear drop flow by.
After a lazy walk for an hour, we reached a border camp of Indian army. The men in uniform welcomed us with warm water while our identity cards were checked and photographs taken for records. The legs were weary but the heart was far from it since an elusive mountain from across the border and the smiling face of god was to make an appearance in the following days.