How much further?’ we’d ask almost every second person on their way down as we started up the Triund trek.Some answered in terms of time,others in distance and occasionally we’d hear our favourite kind of response- “You re nearly there!’.
I trekked Triund on 30th December.It was the only compensation I could offer to myself at the very end of the year for all the time I spent stuck in the chaotic city of Delhi.
I started from Naddi which is about an hour away from Dharamshala.I left on foot and I had no idea then about what was in store for me that day. On my way there I spotted a group of youngsters who I decided to follow and asked to join.I emphasised I was not a creep.They continued walking only very cautiously now.
We walked through presumed shortcuts,funnily cutting ourselves out of sight of any cabs.After a roughly 6km hike we reached the base of Triund Trek.The magnificent mountains seduced us instantly.
We started out on the trek which is a distinctly carved trail that should take about 3 hours uphill without many breaks with borderline fitness. What is really nice about the Triund Trek is its simplicity. It’s physically challenging but at the same time is a very safe bet as the trail is demarcated,no threat of dangerous animals and if the season is right, the weather remains pleasant. You could easily choose to go up without a guide.
We started off with even so much as a jump in our walk.The slope was not murderous but our bodies constantly reminded us that we were pulling ourselves uphill.Some in the group were panting,the others were panting more. We reached the half point in about an hour and 20 minutes. ‘What a view’ canteen, which was visible as a blue hut from far marked the ending of the first leg of the trek.
Then enthralled by the idea of seeing,touching and feeling snow we marched on.The climb was starting to get tougher. The rocks bigger and some parts were wet and swampy from melted snow. As we moved further up we saw snow covered parts that were very slippery to cross. After tactical movement and some moments of dehydration and fatigue later, life came back to us with a pleasant jolt as we reached the top.
It was beautiful.It was terribly cold but we were pretty overtaken by our sense of accomplishment which was only later surpassed by our realisation of how insignificant we felt next to the enormous mountains.
With a very tight budget,we settled for one room for 600 for the night and whatever overpriced food we could lay our hands on in the limited cash we were carrying. The sunset was mesmerising and the sunrise the next morning was every reason to deem the sunset an underachiever. The night was cold but we remained cosy in the small room and snug bedsheets with only a candle lighting the room,while the full moon did its job on the outside.
Note: If you start early in the day,you could fairly comfortably climb back down the same day.In any case, lots of tents and a couple of rooms are available on the top for one to spend the night,which is something I’d highly recommend.
Next morning we headed downhill after some light breakfast and hot chai. We started at 9 and were comfortably at the base before 11, only stopping at ‘what a view’ for one last view.Downhill was pretty relaxed and fun, now we weren’t quite as bothered about going the entire way as we were to make good time.We were pretty pleased by the results.It was 31st of December and there were a lot of people trekking today, hoping perhaps to spend new years eve on the mountain top, away and above the normal.
As we comfortably trekked back down, we happily answered the same questions as we had asked the previous day-‘You’re nearly there!’.