In to Wilderness
My journey to Lohaganj base camp started at 5:00 AM. Everyone from different parts of India assembled at the 'Free live Hostel.' I was alone; others came into the group; I had a different expectation; I thought everyone would come solo. I sat in a vehicle at 6:30 we embarked on the journey. The journey through tiring was mesmerizing, enriching, enthralling as we passed through the pinder river bed. I learned a lot during our itinerary; we stopped at many places. The last stop was at 'Sanik Dhabha' near Lohaganj. The guy introduced me to a juice, 'Rhododendron Juice.' I knew about 'rhododendron but had no clue about juice. He said "bhaiya ek glass le lo, maja aayega". I reluctantly tasted fall in love with that. The uncountable glass of rhododendron juice I had on the whole trip. We reached Lohaganj base camp at around 5 PM. After the briefing, dinner, I slept, got up in little early again, and after the briefing, we started our journey. With ten kilos of the backpack, I never thought it would be tough to trek. I always had confidence I am very fit, and I will not have any problem during trekking. After the first five hundred meters of ascending, I realized it was tough. I was exhausted, dehydrated, and drained. This was the case for everyone. We stopped to rest. I thought, why I am doing this. Why do I need to exhaust myself? Let me quit and go back to Rishikesh. Let me have some good wine. Let me do rafting in the Ganges. I should go back. Trekking is not my cup of tea. The first step is hardest, and most people quit here. I asked myself I had quit many a time this time I will not. I took the plunge and started walking. As I was moving ahead, I started enjoying the beauty of the forest. I remember reading Finland is the happiest country globally, and its area is seventy-five percent of the forest. Now I can totally relate to why Finland is the happiest country. As I was walking into the forest, I was feeling happy. My problems evaporated as I lost my mind and found my soul; after a long time, I started loving myself and felt gratitude for life.
As I(We) was moving deep in the forest, the Rhododendron flower, chirping birds, Oaktree, and the cold air welcomed us. The beauty of the Rhododendron flower astonished me. I was tired, and the journey was exhausting, but I was not thinking about going back. I wanted to reach the destination as I felt I am undertaking a spiritual journey.
After trekking for about four hours, we reached our campsite Gujrani. It was a beautiful place surrounded by oak and rhododendron tree. After having our lunch, people went to take a nap; on the other hand, I wanted to explore the place, so I took a stroll around the campsite. I have observed many birds, many fungus species which were growing on the dead tree. Life could difficult at higher altitudes but seeing these birds and fungus was extraordinary when they can evolve to live in these hard conditions; we can also do in any condition.
First time I was living inside a tent: After dinner, I was lying inside my tent and thinking about life. City life seems complicated. Sometimes simplicity gives you more happiness than obstreperous city life. Though it was damn cold, I was enjoying the cold; I have completely forgotten my problems. I slept with these thoughts and got up around 2 AM; I can hear the forest's murmur as high-speed wind gushing to the forest. I was scared because of the bellowing tree's sound due to air. I did not do anything; I just slept, hoping I will survive this haunting sound.
I got up after three hours and came out of the tent and realized it was a normal storm as everything was normal. After having morning rituals and breakfast, we have learned how to un-pitch the tent, and pitching will come a little later.
We came to know that there was a storm last night, so my nightmares were actually true; we had no problem because trees act as a buffer against air. Hence we decided the next camping site will also be in a forest area, not in an open space.
We started the journey to our next campsite, this time the distance was less but ascend will be steep. Yes, the ascend was steep, but unlike the first day, I had lots of energy, my heart was pumping faster, I was dehydrating, but I was in awe of nature; hence I kept moving. I only stopped when the whole batch stopped. The terrain was getting tougher; the Rhododendron tree was no longer visible; now, I can see more silver oak and brown oak trees.
Captivating Trihul peak was more visible, I just wanted to move, but we reached our campsite.
I learned how to pitch the tent; after pitching the tent again, I went to explore nature, played games, had dinner, and call of the day.
We were supposed to start at 5 AM the next day; otherwise, we would have missed sunrise. So we started at 5 AM and reached the destined place at "Jhanda top" exactly at sunrise. I sat down to observe the sunlight. The sunrise was soothing; I just observed while others clicked. I was witnessing one of the beautiful sunrises. I was captivated by the beauty never thought in my life that sunrise could be so beautiful. There could be many sublime phenomena one can observe in his/her life; for me, this was one and obviously many more to come. We started trekking after an hour again; the trek was a little difficult compared to the first two days, but I was acclimatized, I hardly cared I had lots of energy. I was enjoying the palpitation, the rugged surface, the cold wind, the meadows, literally everything. I realized the last five hundred meters I need to cover to finish the summit. I was alone, the last three hundred meters was really tough, and ascend was very steep, I got cramps and twisted my ankle, but I had lots of energy, I did not stop, did not wait for anyone, I kept going and reached the destination. After reaching the destination, I felt an achievement; I realized the importance of never quitting, realized the importance of why the first step is always hard, other steps are also hard, but our body acclimatized. The universe helps us to achieve the goal. I also realized no journey has a destination; if you reach a destination, you crave for another destination.
I sat in the corner facing the mighty Trishul peak and contemplating life and thanking God that I could come out of misery and I am happy, trying to make every day as productive as possible. Coming out of my misery is an arduous two-year journey which is my next blog. Trekking is my new hobby which I will keep doing till I have energy and life. So next journey if corona subsides is in August to the valley of flower.