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?
|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.
|"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
|'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.
|"Craning our necks skywards towards tree-tops" | 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.
|Bells at the Nag Tibba temple | 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.
|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.
|The snow-capped peaks of Bandarpunch | 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!
|A time to celebrate | 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)!
P.S.: I know you don't like annoying pop-ups. So if you like the posts you see on my blog, you could also Subscribe to HaveFeetWillTravel by Email and receive newer ones directly to your inbox!
P.P.S.: For opportunities to collaborate on projects such as these and to work with me, click here