Many of us have dreamt to be standing in the midst of the Himalayas at least once in our life. Even thinking about hiking on the majestic Mountains is fascinating on its own. Sleeping in tents, sleeping bags, waking up to witness the sublime mountains right in front of you, managing all your stuff personally without any help and ending your day with an inviting camp fire. Fortunately, I have been going on such treks since last three years and recently, and I got the opportunity to visit the mountains on a group tour once again and this time it was supposed to be a challenging trek to Bhrigu Lake. This lake lies to the eastern side of the Rohtang Pass and happens to be a favorite hiking destination for people living near Manali. It is believed that great sage Bhrigu used to meditate here and hence, it is rendered sacred. Moreover, the local folks believe that the lake never freezes completely. A proper trek to Bhrigu lake that’s quite a serene part of nature is three days long.
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My base camp site was at Rumsu village. It is 7-8 km away from Naggar in Kullu district of Himachal Pradeash. The road to Rumsu is rustic and as you travel further away from Naggar and get nearer to the village, you feel like you are delving into the past leaving all taste of modernity behind and gladly welcome the rustic charm of nature. Once you reach Rumsu, you find yourself in a typical Himalayan town that’s full of old wooden homes and beautiful apple orchards. A small temple dedicated to God Jamlu stands is in the center of the town. All activities go around in small ground adjacent to this Temple. The villagers here are quite friendly and they share their stories very enthusiastically once they get to know you.
I reached Rumsu around ten in the morning. After the registration process, one of the organizers gave the group an introductory speech about the campsite and gave us our schedule for the day. Breakfast was ready by that time and we were served aloo paratha along with pickle and hot coffee. Now, once you are on a trek, you are expected to take care of your own stuff, which included cleaning your own plates; I silently followed suit. After that, I collected my rucksack and went to my allocated tent. There were three other fellow travellers with me in that tent.
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The first activity for the day was an acclimatization walk for which I had to fill my rucksack within 15 minutes. Immediately after that, I joined the others standing on the ground and without any delay, we began our exercise. The idea behind this walk was to get accustomed with the weather conditions that would help us to get comfortable in the mountains. For first timers, this walk is the very first lesson to understand that treading on the mountains at high altitudes is not as same and easy as walking on straight cement pavement; it’s the reason people call it trekking, not mere hiking.
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For me, it wasn’t the first time, so after informing my tour guy, I parted from the group for a while and went out to roam around the town. A typical Himalayan town always fascinates me and I’m ever ready to interact with beautiful souls living there. I interacted with children going to the school, an owner of a small shop to the lady who was working in an apple farm and listened to their interesting tales.
After spending a few good hours in the town, I headed back to the camp site as others were about to end their walk. As soon as we reached there, lunch was served and all of us enjoyed a typical north Indian cuisine. Our second activity for the day was rock climbing and rappelling. For that, our group was divided into two teams. Both the teams engaged themselves concurrently with rock climbing and rappelling.
Those who haven’t indulged in these sports yet, let me help you a bit; in rock climbing, as the name suggests, you climb on steep rock with the help of a rope and natural grip that’s there on the particular rock. Quite interestingly, rappelling is totally opposite of the former one; here, you descend from a steep rock, which in our case turned out to be vertical. Both the adventure activities are exciting and you gets a chance to know other group members better as these are group activities. Few folks enjoyed so much that they rappelled more than once.
After a day full of climbing and descending rocks, we went back to our camp site exhausted only to find that our orientation lecture for our trek tomorrow was being held. The tour guys took this opportunity to share every detail about the Trek. Though it was not my first trek, I ended up learning so many new things by the time the lecture ended. Post that, we went to collect our sleeping bags from the office.
On the mountains, where temperature easily slides into the negative, you can’t dare to sleep without these as you lack concrete shelter here. Once the bags were collected, we were left with half an hour free time that was followed by dinner. In the cold, we gorged on the plate of hot rice and rajma with a bowl of custard that left a lingering sweet taste.
The next and last task for the day was to pack our rucksack according to the advice given to us in the lecture. You use a particular technique to pack your rucksack that’s useful during your climb with your load transferred equally on both shoulders. Small things like this matter a lot on high altitudes where the air is nothing short of luxury and every step that you take ahead reduces your energy level exponentially.
So, done with the packing, I couldn’t wait to sneak into my sleeping bag as I was beat after an eventful day, although I knew this was just the beginning of an adventure. The next few days of my trek to Bhrigu lake were about to get crazier and merrier. With this thought, I shut my eyes and surrender myself hoping to wake up to a beautiful misty morning.