Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Trek into the Himalayas - Seri Frozen Lake

11:04:00 PM

"Would you love to wakeup to the chirping of the birds?"

"Would you love to inhale a lung-full of fresh crisp cool unadulterated mountain air, when you get up in the morning?"

"And when you look around, the beautiful pristine snow clad peaks challenge you to conquer them"

Does these excite you?

If yes, then Seri Frozen Lake Trek is one of the many treks in the Himalaya's which will give you the above experience and much much more

I signed up with Karnataka Mountaineering Association for a 10 day Trek the moment the booking was open. I tried to find as much information as possible on the internet however there were only limited information on Seri, therefore this blog!

For Seri, you fly to Delhi and take a bus to Manali, which is a 12 hour drive or alternatively one can take a flight from Delhi to Kulu and then reach Manli by road in an hour’s time. Manali is at an elevation of 6726 feet and inundated with localities and tourists, both Indian and foreign nationals

We stayed at Prini base camp which is in the outskirts of Manali. This was the last place where we had the luxury of electricity for charging our mobile and camera batteries

The next day, we had a briefing and started our trek early

Seri is in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayan mountains in Himachal Pradesh. It is at an elevation of 12,795 feet. The map is just an approximation as to where Siri is, as there are no roads and the only way to reach is through foot - no help from Google here!

Our trek schedule was as shown in the table. There are various routes to reach Seri, this happened to be the one which we took

Prini to Karu Nullah
Karu Nullah to Khanol
Khanol to Chikka
Chikka to Pandu Riyata
Pandu Riyata to Seri to Chikka
Chikka to Bhanara Hills
Bhanara Hills to Prini

As we start from Prini, we initially pass through local population and through their cultivations

In lower altitudes i.e. Prini, Karu Nullah, there are a lot of birds, lush green fields and dense beautiful pine trees, through which we walk across to reach our camps

The weather in the mountains is unpredictable. One moment it is sunny and the next it becomes dark. The nights are usually early. After night fall, in the lower camps it becomes pitch dark as we are covered under dense pine trees and we go around wearing head lamps

All our camps were next to beautiful streams flowing from melting glaciers and our night stay was in sleeping bags inside tents

As we moved to Khanol, the dense vegetation continued. We also spotted sheep’s and shepherds who stayed high up in the mountains

As we progressed from Khanol to Chikka, the vegetation changes from rich green fields to shrubs and grass lands. From here on, there is no tree cover and we were exposed to the harsh sun as well as the cold nights. The temperature used to drop sub zero in the nights

The skies were mostly clear for us and in Chikka camp, we saw the moon at 1 PM in the afternoon! We could see our first sight of snow covered mountains as we trekked to Chikka. From our camp we could see frozen streams, so we knew the next day, we were going to start walking through snow. In Chikka, we made brave plans to sleep out in the open, admiring the clear skies and stars, however it was too cold and we were too tired

As we moved higher up to Pandu Riyata, the grass lands slowly vanished to rocks and traces of snow. The Pandu Riyata camp was the highest overnight stay for us. We had some fun in the snow and the next day, we continued our trek to Seri, to reach our highest point in this trek

As we trekked towards Seri, the landscape changed to only rocks and then suddenly the whole land before us turned white. From there on, snow had completely covered up the soil and rocks. At Seri we did some fun activities and returned back as we had a long trek back to Chikka

Some of the best things that a trek like this can bring are

  • You meet lovely people. Trekkers are one of the most helpful people around
  • You get to have your own ‘alone’ moments with nature
  • The undulating landscape is amazing. Since you are walking, you are better equipped to observe how the landscape changes gradually as you go to higher altitudes
I have also written another blog on life lessons from a trek. You can read that here

Happy Trekking!!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

8 life lessons to learn from a Himalayan trek

8:43:00 PM

After considerable deliberation, I signed up for a trek to the Himalayas where we had to scale from 6700 feet to 13000 feet. There were 40 of us - a mix of experienced trekkers and first timers

We had to live in tents, wake up from our sleeping bags to the chirping of the birds at 4 AM in the morning, wash our plates in the chilling waters of the melting glaciers, finish dinner before sundown, walk around in the night with headlamps, curse the cold if any of the tent mates needed to take a leak, as the cold blast of wind would enter the unzipped tent, drink the fresh tasty ice cold water from the streams. As we trekked to higher altitudes everyday, the landscape changed from tall pine trees to grassy lands to shrubs & boulders to snow & frozen rivulets

Needless to say, all of us had to work as a team and we all enjoyed the whole journey, although there were two tragic incidents in other groups. Each day nature taught us some life lessons for those who bothered to observe

1. Discipline your life to handle rough 'weather'
Managing a 40 member group with the age ranging from 13 years to 67 years is no easy task. We had to start everyday at the exact scheduled time in order to reach the next camp on time. The organisers had enforced strict rules - wake-up at 5:30, start of trek at 8:00, sleep at 20:30 along with strict food timings. This rigorous schedule helped in ensuring we move from camp to camp in military precision. Any delay would have significant impact on the logistics & outside temperature

2. Equip yourself with the right tools (skills)
When you are at 13000+ feet in sub zero temperature, the last thing that you would want is not to have the right gear. A good trekker ensures that they have all the right gears - from ruck sacks, to clothes to shoes to essential food items. If something is missing, it could mean life and death in the mountains

3. Live in the moment
The trek is on uneven surfaces with boulders, stones, gravel, grass, etc. One has to consciously keep every step. The moment you allow your mind to wander, you would end up slipping and this could lead to fatal accidents. Therefore while trekking, you are always living the current moment

4. Self motivate yourself
Climbing a mountain is no easy task. The sheer steepness & lack of oxygen can make a frail hearted person swoon. The way trekkers keep themselves motivated is by telling themselves - "each step takes me closer to my destination and all I need to bother about is where best to place my feet for the next step" - A journey of a 1000 miles, starts with the first step

5. Maintain constant progress - persistence triumphs speed
There are people who walk fast during the initial trek and burn out towards the end. There are others who would be struggling to keep up with the others. The key to a comfortable trek is to find your pace and maintain it throughout the trek. The trick to completing a trek (do note, not everyone reaches the top) is to be persistent in your effort, at your pace

6. People rise to the occasion - help comes when you need it
If there's one thing that you find common during trekking, it is humanity. Trekkers are usually a helpful bunch of people. There were some who were struggling to cross streams and climb over large boulders, apart from the rest of us, the young energetic lads who were just in their schools showed unprecedented maturity by running up and down and helping people

7. Being first doesn't really matter
Unlike in an Examination, being first in a trek does not really matter. Very soon after you start the trek you begin to realize that you aren't competing with others but yourself. You will understand your own strengths and limitations. The race is within you and your will power to overcome your limitations

8. A stitch in time saves nine
As you climb higher altitudes, the air becomes thinner and there is less oxygen. This can cause high altitude sickness which could lead to death. It is imperitive that any signs of weakness, headaches, etc have to be reported so that they can be attended to immediately
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