Pic courtesy Balkrishna Damle 
“OMG! Not again ? “



now that was the reaction of my wife when I said that I am planning to do another trek to Himalayas. “Arre abhi toh Roopkund Trek kiya, aur kitne himalaya ke chakker lagane hai..aisa hi chalta raha toh ek din jogi ban jaoge…  Aur kitne baar jana hai Himalaya me ” I smiled and said innocently “Jaan Kya baat karti ho abhi toh Everest baki hai “ she had this bewildered expression on her face suggesting “Are you mad ? ” and surprisingly she burst out laughing.

Thank God !! I hope she is getting used to my wandering ways.
It all started here …….Roopkund Trek 
My trek to Roopkund was an amazing experience but yet at the end of the trek I told my friend Amit “Boss ab no more himalayan treks for me, I m done” but he only smiled ( the kind which says chod na …never say never again) and said “Kashmir Great Lakes kaisa rahega,” I said ” Amit sochna bhi nahi mai nahi aane wala aur please mere ko invite bhi nahi karna , you know how difficult it is for me to refuse “. Everything was forgotten and then one fine day I get this mail from Amit  full of lovely Kashmir Great lakes Pictures with a message. 
“Gotta think again buddy !! “

Just look at this Picture , Do you really need to think again !!

My instant reply was” Abbe isme sochna kya hai chal chalte hai, lekin dost ek hi problem hai Yaar is trek me snow nahi milegi , ab himalayan trek bhi kiya aur snow bhi nahi…kuch majja nahi aaya, lets do Rupin pass. ” But in the end Amit sold this trek well to me saying look at the beauty, snow you can find in another trek also. Bas phir kya tha we were all set to go for Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.


Friends let me put the disclaimer at the beginning itself that this blog of mine will not make you any wiser in respect of the route or terrain gradient etc as it will only be touching upon the emotions that I underwent  during my journey on this trek if you are looking out for serious route map kind of thing Toh mere bhai Google kar lo you will get very detailed information, Mene toh yeh trek sirf enjoy kiya woh bhi pure dilse ,socha aap ko bhi wo hasin nazaaro ki kuch Jhalak dikha deta hu. Toh lets go”

Aap ko bhi wo hasin nazaaro ki kuch Jhalak dikha deta hu
Day One :
Srinagar Airport:
I was in Srinagar two days earlier then our scheduled arrival date hence was waiting for Amit,Santosh to join me on the scheduled date. Srinagar Airport is very nice but no less than a fortress, you see this military guys all around. There are nearly 5 checks before you board a flight. Here I would like to give a small travel tip. If you intend to catch a flight from Srinagar airport then better be there before that 2 hrs reporting thing because the checking and all takes a lots of time and there are lots of long queues.

Long Queue at Srinagar Airport for checking in
Please note that if you are coming by car, bus etc the drop will be till the airport however if you take auto then you will have to get down at the check point 1 km before the airport. Autos are not allowed till the airport. At this 1km check post your baggage is passed thru scanning machine , so if you are in say car you get down, get you and your baggage checked and again board your car to airport.People coming by autos may have to walk 1km from this check point,or shell out 50 bucks to the passing tourist car to drop at the airport or can always ply on a free bus service provided by the airport from this check point to airport. I personally found this bus service very unreliable so don’t depend on it.
Free bus service till the outside gate
Anyways enough of Gyan, Lets move on to our main story. Overcoming all my hassles I dropped my wife and daughter at the Srinagar airport thereby switching my role from Tourist to Trekker. Waiting for over 2 hrs at the airport for Amit and Santosh was very tiring but I took this as an opportunity to talk to few travelers, Military guy ab time to pass karna tha na and also got myself clicked
Inteeha ho gayi , Intezaar ki..waiting for Amit and Santosh at Srinagar Airport
 Finally Amit arrived and I was happy ki chalo ab time pass ho jayega and before we knew anything hum logo ne milke pure Kashmir or India ki Geo-political problem discuss kar dali”  In the meanwhile the flights started to arrive and like a paging boys Amit and me stood at the arrival point and started speculating

Yeah ho sakta hai KGL india hikes ke liye ,
Nahi yeh hoga, Dekh he is carry trekking Pole, 
Ek do ko toh puch dala lekin mostly missed call.
          Is chakker me Santosh ko almost miss kar dala.


Before all this drama both of us had managed to find the Tempo Traveller guy and dumped our bags there, (later we came to know it was the wrong vehicle that is another story bolunga to blog nahi novel likhna padega, waise hi badnaam hu ki bolta bahut hu ” So all said and done we herded all the sheeps..ooops! I mean co-trekkers together and did some self intro and as usual I tried to grab the window seat bachpan se pachpan tak yeh aadat jane wali nahi hai lagta, but before that Amit and me ensured that sab ke bags fata fut load kare  so that we can leave early and have good lunch on the way.

Sab ke bags fata fut load kar yaar bahut bhuk laagi hai
Guys generally I am never short of photos” lekin bukh itni lagi thi ki lunch ka photo lena bhool gaya per khana bahut mast tha Abb tension yeh tha  ki bahaar hamara driver hamare intezaar me pagaal ho raha tha ” Actually we were not late it was his Roze ka side effect…Hunger. So we said sorry to him and nudged him to move on but he kept grumbling that it will be dark when reach, blah blah. “Ab maine aksar dekha hai ki aap jab rote ho toh tension badta hai…” As Murphy’s Law defines that if anything will go wrong it will, Bas hogaya panga ! for the grumbling driver, Saamne se policewale ne haat diye and next scene all of you know kya ho sakta hai…akhir me Indian traffic police ki habit toh all over India common hai na, Bhale hum Kashmir me hai toh kya.Corrupt Kanoon ke hath lambe hote hai bhai. Somehow the driver managed the policewala and with anger written on his face all over sat on the driver seat.


Yeh sab dekh kar mere Dil me ek thought aaya…

Pareshaan driver and Phadi Rasta are not good combination” 


But thankfully rest of the journey was peaceful, I wanted to pee very badly but just imagining the internal valcano temperature of the driver I some how managed to keep the throttle shut, though this action of mine did curb my natural exuberance and I excitedly but in a mute mode kept watching out of the window as new scenery one after the other kept unfolding before me.

Our Bus crossing the river  on the way to sonmarg

Lush green fields,Pine trees,and Mountains in backdrop makes it complete wallpaper stuff

How I wish I was staying in one of those houses

Aaha what lovely houses, Arre bus wale zara rok na please

Road ahead reminding beta abhi rasta baaki hai
It’s India…hard to believe

Lovely Sind river flowing along the way


Seeing this picture of Sind River I remembered that here I took come courage and requested the driver “ Dost bahut zoor se su su aayi hai please 2 minute bus rok do”, He said “Ok par jaldi karna”  I seriously wanted to ask him “Ab yeh bhi koi time pass karne ke liye karta hai kya” 

“Actually susu toh ek bahana tha,
 Mujko toh sirf sind nadi per photo khicana tha”) 

Then what, I leapt out of the bus did the jig quickly and before anything could be done ran across the road took few photos and called out Santosh and told him to take my picture on the rock, meanwhile rest of the gang also jumped out and we all enjoyed the photo session.
Zindagi ki yeah choti choti khushiya yaad karo toh kitne aachi lagti hai. 
Isi liye kehta hu in chote chote pal ko jodkar ek kubsurat zindagi kyo na banale

The picture below will give the perfect idea of the bliss that a person can feel after good pee, Photo on the rock !!

 susu toh ek bahana tha, Mujko toh sirf sind nadi per photo khicana tha 


After this extempore short break we all returned back in the bus, surprisingly the Pareshaan Driver was cool about the whole thing, I later realised this, when we reached near the base village quickly in 15 minutes. Aacha , baacha hum ko poopat banaya…raat ho jayegi and all . Anyways the moment I got down from the bus at the base which is 3-4 kms before Sonmarg the first word that came out of my mouth was wow and believe me the mouth was open so big ki Tirupati mandir ka Jumbo laddu bhi aaram se fit ho jata.



Wow!!! I screamed
  

I am Zapped


Yes I was zapped by the beauty and hummed Aagaz yeah hai toh anjaam ho ga haaseen.I was hardly able to grasp this beauty that Amit nudged me “Aashish  jo samaan upar chadhya hai utaarega nahi kya” For a second I wanted to scream at him “saala sub mera dream sequence tod diya, Yeh haseen wadiya yeh khula aasmaan, Kuch der pehle feel kar raha tha Kamaal,Kamaal ab bana diya na Hamaal, Hamaa “

Kamaal kamaal se Hamaal Hamaal

After unloading the entire baggage we were ready for the onward climb of approx 700 mtrs to the Base Camp. How I wished that the bus guy would have come little higher, “yeh parade bach jati,per socha chalo let us treat this as warm up. It was heartening to see Vishwasji and Pradipji come to welcome us. I as usual did lose the opportunity to get us clicked

Ek photo sir,
per landscape lena, peeche ka mountain aana chaiye

So much for my fetish for photos, but in this fun and game we reached the Base camp. We dumped our bag and the backpack and looked around in awe at the beauty of the nature. In the meanwhile We got introduced to our new Tormentor oops sorry, Trek Leader Suman.
Me and my Our Trek Leader Suman
As usual we made a circle formation, Suman was ready with his life’s longest lecture I presume, He started out to explain the do and donts, then in depth explanation of AMS, ” Boss ki explanation ne itna dara diya ki mere ko 8000 feet per bhi AMS ka ahsaas shuru ho gaya , Kya karu thoda emotional jyada hu na scene me fit ho jata hu” I can very well understand this anxiety to make everyone aware of AMS (High Altitude sickness) because of the tragedy on the Roopkund Trek where a young guy lost his life. 
After this we had introduction round, By this time the light was fading very fast and it was getting cold too.we took a small break and reassemble for Introductions. It was very dark where we could hardly make out who is who, waise bhi 32 members ko ek din me yaad rakna mushkil hai. Ritual hai karna toh padega .


Darkness se ek thought aaya tha mere dil me woh time, Agar is andhere me mai bolu mai Amithab Bachan bol raha hoon toh I would have got away with it despite my small height and if there would have been a Wi fi connectivity at the base camp who knows next moment a FB update would have been posted Yipees hey Amitji is trekking with us in Himalayas ab aur kya chaiye FB hungry guys ko and you will start getting oooh.aawee, awesome,great comments and in no time more than 500 likes. Bechare Amitji apne Pratiksha Bungale me baith kar soch rahe honge Yaar yeh mai Himalaya kaise pahunch gaya”   

( I hope now you know How I keep myself busy, crazy mind, crazy thoughts)
Honestly that night reflecting over this talk on AMS and forewarning of never ending long walks ahead for days to come,I was like Chalo yaar scenery toh yahan bhi aachi nai, I’ll spend few days in Sonmarg, Nadi kinare thodi fishing kar loonga, snow bhi dikh rahi hai, choda yaar nahi marna AMS se, Please move on Mai yahan hi aacha”
But as they say na Raat gayi Baat gayi…Tomorrow is another day

Looking Forward toward the next day



To be continued ( depending if I have the energy )

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Hi, I am Aashish Chawla- The Weekend Wanderer. Weekend Wandering is my passion, I love to connect to new places and meeting new people and through my blogs, I will introduce you to some of the lesser-explored places, which may be very near you yet undiscovered...come let's wander into the wilderness of nature. Other than traveling I love writing poems.

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