Solo trek is not an adventure in a way, it’s just a simple task of moving out of your comfort zone and testing your limits. As we know, the real life begins out of your comfort zone and I can proudly say my real life solo venture was a beautiful one.
After two days of tiring but yet a fun journey with unknown train-mates, I successfully reached Pathankot, from where I had a tipsy bus ride to Mcleodganj. I still remember the warm welcome on the streets of Mcleodganj on that pleasant evening. And all my solo travel symptoms had subsided in just a moment. The next day, early Saturday morning, as I was ready to leave for the first solo trek of my life, my mind was filled with immense excitement garnished with a bit of nervousness.
Soon I was in an auto on the way to Dharamkot which is the starting point of the trek. Though the sun was up shining brightly I could feel the chill of excitement.
After asking few people for the direction to Triund, I was on the rocky trail all alone surrounded by cedar trees. The surrounding tranquility soon found way to my mind and heart. After a few minutes of silent hike, I saw an old man climbing up the trail helped by his stick. The man was a cheerful Tibetan with a smiling face. I was quite amazed to know that it was his morning walk on such difficult trail. Though he left for his daily chores after guiding me on my way , he replaced the feeling of nervousness in my heart with that of confidence and happiness. I realized how everyone in our life comes for a purpose determined by the destiny.
A walk of few minutes further led me to the Gallu Devi temple which is the registration point for the trek.
By now, seeing the number of people heading to the same trail, I realised that it is hardly going to be a solo trek. And yes, soon I became friends with a lovely couple from Delhi. Discussing about our trekking experience I, along with Nishtha and Abhishek, moved ahead, with our cameras continuously busy in capturing the breathtaking view of the foggy valley. The more you meet new people, more you realise that the world is indeed too small and too vast and varied at the same time. Sharing about the happy Mumbai days and trek memories of Sahyadris with Abhishek, who had been a Mumbaikar for a short span, reminded me of the same thought.
As we moved ahead chit-chatting, I was quite delighted and contended seeing the trekkers moving downwards collecting the plastic wastes thrown on the trail by hopelessly irresponsible tourists and trekkers.
On reaching the famous Sharma Cafe, we geared up for what was supposed to be a bit difficult trail. I already knew it was going to be fun climbing up the 22-curves high up the hill. Further on this trail, I met an enthusiastic group of trekkers who seemed to have mastered the art of short cuts. It was a pure fun climbing up with the crazy fellows.
The last few minutes of the trek were literally a race to reach first and find the best deal for the tents at the best location on the hill. The sun was at its zenith when I reached and got a tent at the edge of the hill with a scrumptious view of the mighty Dhauladhar which seemed like huge chocolate mountains sprinkled with vanilla sauce sliding downwards.
The moment Abhishek and Nishtha reached, we had our packed lunch with the best view ever. Trust me, the food never tastes so delicious as in the mountains. Surprisingly, all our tiredness had vanished and peace and happiness had taken over everybody’s mind. The whole afternoon passed in enjoying this marvelous sight from my cozy tent and later we headed hunting for some dry wood for the campfire. As people say, we always attract like-minded people, and so was with us. Being the click crazy creatures, we didn’t miss out climbing up every possible rock for the best shots. It was indeed the most memorable of the evenings.
Though we witnessed a serene sunset, all of us returned disappointed as we had hardly got enough wood for the bonfire.
But this certainly did not let us cancel our great plans of campfire. All the groups contributed how much ever fuel they had collected to a ‘Global Bonfire’ accompanied by the soothing Pink Floyd music. I would call it a ‘Global Bonfire’ as the trekkers belonging to the different states and nations enjoyed it with hot meals and warm conversations with each other. But, the bonfire was kind of a circus as each one was trying to keep the fire burning and in their effort of doing so they turned it off.
The fun and the warm feeling can’t be described in the words. It will just last forever in the mind of each one of us who lived the moment.
That night under the stars, in my cozy sleeping bag, with the feeling of ‘Yesss!!! I did it!!!, was one of the best night camps of my life.
I straightway woke up as early as 4:30 in the morning, not in mood of getting out of my tent before the sun greeted with its first ray over the mountain. And it did not keep me waiting for long; Soon it peeped, greeting us the loveliest morning, supplying us with the warmth and energy to move all the way down to the base.
I would recommend such not so solo trek to Triund, meeting the amazing people on the way and enjoying a great night up on the hill, to all those souls craving for some adventure mixed with fun.
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