Myths and stories fascinated me so I was pretty sure my first high altitude trek would be none other than Roopkund. At 16000 fts height it marks the place where Lord Shiva and Parvati rested on their way to Kailasa and also the place where an arrogant king faced the wrath of Shiva’s third eye for trying to claim Kailasa. Roopkund was discovered in mid-nineties and what’s fascinating about it is hundreds of skeletons in that lake. There are many stories surrounding that place but all you guys need to know is the trek trail is worth experiencing.
Trek started Lohajung (base camp) and it was 5 tiring days hike to reach the summit. To all the lazy bums and smokers out there, think twice before even trying this. Your lungs and stamina will be tested in low pressure and oxygen-deprived conditions. You will need to start your practice 3 months before in advance to appreciate the beauty in person rather than on desktop screen. Out of 22 of us who started the trek, only 16 could reach the top before AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) could hit us.
Trek includes a hike through forests, Riverbanks and Asia’s biggest meadows (Bedni and Ali Bugyal) before snowfall. Every campsite held a story which was told by none other than the local hikers with us during campfire along with folk songs along the way.
We learned to survive in extreme conditions and do’s and don’ts about hiking. Climate changes within seconds. One instance we woke up to find our tents covered with snow after a windy night. Breathtaking sceneries and starry nights were worth all the trouble reaching the summit. Last day of hike started at 3:30 am and it was the toughest. Every step through snow had my lungs giving up and it takes sheer willpower to keep going.
The best part of the trek was being cut off from everything. You are on your own and with people around you will be forced to go back to the days where you have to actually talk to people and gel with them instead of staring at your mobile with snapchats and Instagram. By the time you complete the trek you will be having a bunch of friends around you which you made instead of adding them. Every one of us was pissed off when we got the network connections on our way back to base camp with 1000s of messages and emails flooded in.
After Roopkund I am up for more treks to detox myself from the tiring work schedule. I am sure you all need the same. It’s good to slow down once in a while and appreciate the good old days where nightlife means campfire and stories.
So go ahead give it a shot.
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