3 days into the trek the body was slowly getting accustomed to the ways of the mountains.
- Trek Day 1: Walking through Green Meadows, Kashmir
- Trek Day 2: Lush Meadows, Rocky Patches and a Crystal Lake, Kashmir
- Trek Day 3: Date with Alpine Lakes, Kashmir
To my surprise, the mind was happy to look inward and remain disconnected from the virtual world. The long days in the open and the starry nights in the tent were apt for contemplation, occasionally seeking reprieve in some light conversation and music with fellow trek mates. Day 4 and Day 5 treks were through dramatic landscapes and photographs or words can hardly do justice to what the eyes have filmed for posterity.
Day 4: Gadsar (12000 ft) to Satsar(12000ft) through sharp ascents and descents and lines of defence
We had an icy start, gingerly stepping on stones covered with moss to wade through a mountain stream. The cold water pierced through my being, leaving my toes numb and hard but a quick self massage and a few forced steps up the rocks quickly brought relief. In the midst of a few shrill cries of fear and pain all 25 of us made it safe and sound.
We walked for a 3 hours across the mountains in a zig zag way which was apparently created by the horses who carry luggage in those terrains. Sometimes, I found myself at the edge of the steep terrain and surprisingly, I did not tumble in fear. All those hours of self observation on my various fears during meditation seems to have worked.
After a while, I seemed to reach close to the mountains dotted with green bushes which seemed to sport pleats as in a saree fold. We kept walking along the mountain admiring the lone maple tree with golden colours of fall when a snow clad peak peeped between the mountains. “Thats Nanga Parbat” exclaimed the trek leader. Located in Pakistan, Nanga Parbat with its nearly 27000 feet height is the highest in Western Himalayas and the 9th highest in the world.
The elusive mountain had made its appearance and we (me and a trek mate years junior to me in age) sat down on the soft grass talking about life at large interspersed with moments of silence. We had a long way ahead and the conversation was reserved for another day.
After a rather windy crossing over the pass and some more checks at the army post located there we walked past the Satsar (7 Lakes) which appeared like shimmering pearls in a lute. Some were dry and small but the largest of them all was glistening in the afternoon sun and the skull of a cow or a lamb carefully placed on one of the stones lent a mysterious aura to the already dramatic landscape.
One of the lakes is apparently behind rocky boulders and mountains which was hardly a deterrent for a bunch of us completely drunk of nature’s abundant beauty. Unlike the others this lake was not blue but a bit brownish from the reflection of the arid mountains around. The stones peeped out through the transparent waters of the lake !! The message was clear honesty and purpose shine through the toughest tests of life.