iPlod | Trailing Off the Trail to Nag Tibba

In my previous post, I alluded to how the first half – the first 4 kilometres from Pantwari to The Goat Village - of my trek to Nag Tibba was ridden with the biggest surprise of all: I didn’t know my journey to The Goat Village included the trek to Nag Tibba!

Situations such as these are made possible when someone like me does little or no research about the place she is travelling to. But it adds to the adventure quotient in my twisted little brain. I mean, how else would I have known what it’s like to lug an ill-suited duffle bag on your back that only adds to the gravitational pull while trekking on an incline even as my legs began to give way courtesy stamina levels at a zero owing to my then concurrent recovery from dengue?

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Clear skies aided these panoramic views | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
But this so far is the story of only the first 4 kilometres. That evening sitting by the candle light in the company of a paperback, I entertained the notion of completing the trek the next morning. In a first of sorts, my body absolutely refused. It’s not as if my back or my joints were sore from the morning and yet I was not raring to embark onwards. It was a first of sorts! It was probably driven by the fact that I was going to spend an entire week at The Goat Village, so why rush things through. My mountain was going to wait for me.

And I didn’t keep it waiting too long. Two days after the first half had been covered, I decided to join two of the other guests onward to the top. We had the property manager of The Goat Village for company too.

That morning I could sense the ghosts creep in on me, reminding me just how weak and incapable I was with every step I took. I have the tendency to be the tail while trekking with any group but trailing behind while we were just four of us left me feeling rather downcast. This trail qualified as an easy-moderate trek after all and I was not satisfied with my energy levels. But this was not a time to rue over what wasn’t working out. I had exercised choice to make my way out to the top and I was going to keep my word to myself.

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
"I had exercised choice to make my way out to the top and I was going to keep my word to myself." | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Trust nature to come to the rescue by helping turn certain switches off and the right ones on. Lo and behold, the trail helped calm my nerves – even when the inclines seemed too much. And this in spite of the fact that we trailed off the trail! We had decided to trek through the forest rather than the prescribed trek route - which was comparatively rockier at the surface and also without any tree cover. The decision to forgo the option of being toasted by the sun culminated in us meandering through the woods with a lot of uncertainty. With no other human in sight, we did spend some time retracing our steps when herdsmen pathways disappeared or worse still, terminated into dead-ends!

Trekking through the forest as sunlight filtered in some pockets and didn’t in others, while timeworn trees stood still holding their ground, it felt straight out of Narnia to be trooping around on the foliage that made for a soft carpet beneath our feet. Of course, there was no telling what forms of life were lurking beneath them, for none of them chose to meet our acquaintance even once.

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
'Trekking through the forest as sunlight filtered in some pockets' | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Our meanderings bore fruit when we did finally come upon the original trail and this time decided to stick to it until it brought us to Nag Tibba. From craning our necks skywards towards tree-tops we were now training our eyes for the snow clad mountain tops, beyond the mist and cloud cover.

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
"Craning our necks skywards towards tree-tops" |  Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Co-trekkers back on track| Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Unlike most other treks (or at least the treks I have done so far), Nag Tibba is not the end point of the trek. As it turns out, the highest point in the region is another 2 kilometres uphill at Jhandi. A quick chat with a couple of fellow trekkers whetted our appetite when it was revealed to us that the view from Jhandi is what makes those strenuous 2 kilometres worth every sigh in breath and creak in the joints! And so during our 30 minute halt around the Nag Tibba temple, the decision to continue trekking to Jhandi was made - by all but one; 3 of us would be proceeding onward.

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Bells at the Nag Tibba temple | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Nag Tibba Temple | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Who would I be kidding if I said I considered squatting in my spot on too many occasions to recount during this crawl to the top? But then it is true that I did want to call it quits and let the other two proceed onwards while I would get me some shinrin-yoku (which is Japanese for forest bathing). However, I didn’t call it quits! I kept my body hydrated and my mind centred – I had come this far, I could certainly complete this final kilometre.

And we did. The first sight of the white flag (yes, that’s where the name Jhandi - Hindi for flag - emanates from or so I was told) was no different than a sign of peace in itself. Between whom? I’d say, between my body and my mind as well as between Nature and me.

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
The first sight of the white flag at Jhandi | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Perched at the top, the view was just as stellar as I had visualised it to be. The snow-capped peaks of Bandarpunch in the distance bellowing icy winds right into my face was refreshing only for the first 2 minutes, after which I began to lose sense of touch on my face! That’s what icy winds do to your face apparently.

Soaking myself in that moment, I could only feel gratitude – gratitude that I had been able to nudge myself to get to this moment as well as gratitude towards the view itself not being marred either by fog or cloud cover.

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
The snow-capped peaks of Bandarpunch | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India) 
Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
A close-up of the snow-capped peaks of Bandarpunch | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India) 
The moment called for a celebration – and between the three of us we had cups of tea, bread husk, biscuits and fruit cake to wolf down; our first ‘meal’ in six hours and after a 6 kilometre trek to the top!

Tottering our way downhill was a piece of cake. It isn’t as strenuous on the knees. Closer to The Goat Village, the sight of the sun setting on the day adding an altogether different aura of every single moment the entire day had been composed of! 

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
A time to celebrate | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India) 

Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India)
Evidence that we did make it to the top! | Nag Tibba trek - Uttarakhand (India) 

Yours truly was invited by The Green People to The Goat Village. Views and thoughts expressed are my own (like always)!

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