There was a road. It twisted and twirled and then it disappeared.
Then there was an Alpine forest and towards the clouds we neared.
Soon the clouds seemed closer and the forest farther,
Until the trees vanished and the terrain became harsher.
Climbing mountains is hard.
You’ve got to keep climbing until you feel like giving up, but you can’t because the trail goes on regardless of how you feel.
You can’t bathe up there because the facilities that allow you to do so soon disappear. If you want to take a shit, you’ve got to find a nice rock to crouch behind. If it’s too cold outside your tent, then you save the shit for some other time. The list goes on.
Why do I still feel like going back then?
I feel that through the course of our lives, we are often presented with experiences that help us to shape our personalities. While facing these experiences, we shed the unnecessary parts of our personalities and are left with those that’ll help us to keep moving forward. Our experiences convert us from rugged stones to finely cut diamonds. After all this shedding, we finally catch a glimpse of what lies at the centre of who we truly are; we finally get closer to becoming our true selves.
Time and again, I have found that spending time in the mountains has enriched me in ways that nothing else can, and it is due to this that I’m always ready to go back.
It’s in this backdrop that I began my attempt to summit Jagatsukh Peak, a 5300m mountain in Kullu Valley.
We started at about 8am from Naggar, a town that’s pretty close to Manali. After an hour-long jeep ride that involved traversing a road with approximately 45 hair pin bends (I didn’t count, they were numbered), we finally reached the road’s end. It’s from here that the actual trekking began.
Most of the trek involved going through pristine alpine forests until we got closer and closer to the clouds. Soon, the trees disappeared.
Our destination for the day was a place called Chikka. Having made good time however, we carried on and instead set up camp at a meadow that was approximately 3700m high.
Believe me when I say this- that campsite was unreal. To our left was a massive rock that could have easily been 12 stories high. To our right and at a slightly lower elevation, a river.
On this meadow, several horses and donkey’s grazed on what could possibly be the greenest grass that I have ever seen. There were however occasional spots of brown in the grass, which was basically the shit of all those horses and donkeys.
For me, this first day was like a slightly firm tap on my head. While it was the easiest part of the trail, it was still harder than I thought it would be. Additionally, a little altitude sickness did kick in because of the elevation gain from Naggar. It was pretty mild however and rather than making me feel nauseous, it made me feel a bit like I’m in a dream.
After reaching, we pitched our tents and chilled for a bit before calling it a day.
The climb had begun and I was pumped.
Stay tuned for day 2 of my Jagatsukh expedition!