The first night stay at Dharamkot is a distant and fading memory. The excessive pressure of maintaining the happy calm on a face tensed with aging wrinkles while trying to set a plan for the next couple of days and religiously following it after the ignorant tryst had taken its toll on me. Nonetheless, my first sunrise in the little town was an experience that could not be matched with anything else.
The morning sun:
One of the practices that I have developed, of late, is the practice of rising up early, to enjoy the sun rising in all its glory. Without a doubt, this good habit of mine totally paid off when I was in Dharamkot. I woke up, just in time, to feel the warmth of the first sun ray hit the cold surroundings and the glorious view that the shining winter sun brings with it. It was in the morning that I realized that my room was east-facing. The first couple of minutes, the sun rays could be seen shining from behind the mountains turning the sky in a sparkling white color. Within a few seconds (not minutes), the sun was out from behind the mountains, shining golden bright (picture below) making it one of the best moments in my stay at the town.
Triund Trek – Preparatory Leg
The morning had brought about a new sense of achieving something bigger and better. How foolish it would be of anyone to be in the mountains and not to try to reach the mountain top to savor what mountains are known for – utter peace and killing silence. I had already tried to cover up for my stupidity (I’ll refer to this as my new cool high from now onwards. This trip was a cool factor high, really) from the previous day by planning this trek in advance. My conversation, from the previous post, with the guest house owner who banged my door to wake me up in time to reach the Bhagsunag temple before sunset suggests the same. I had hired a private guide for Rs 800 (This could have been Rs 500) for the day to assist me to reach Triund for two reasons:
- I was not sure of the trek route.
- When on mountains, it is always better to have a company when you are trekking or campaigning as they act as a motivation for you to keep going and are also familiar with the place, people and local language to help you in time of your need. (Yes, I thought of that after the cool factor high. I’m weirdly amazing)
After sulking in the morning sun and taking a bath, I came out to meet the guide and have my breakfast. At Himalayan Cafe, I came to know about the Wildcraft Triund Trail Run that was being organized the same day. It is a half-marathon in the hills and is extremely challenging. The reason for this marathon being so challenging is so, because of the route. There are no roads where the participants have to run but a rocky , steep and narrow path. To my surprise, majority of the participants were either from Delhi or were foreigners apart from some local people. My guide told me that the last marathon (also the first one ever held) was won by a local resident and the winner took 1 hour and 17 minutes (not exact time but close) to complete the 16 km run with the max elevation of 2800M. This year, the defending champion was defeated by a time difference of 8-9 minutes with the winning time being 1 hour and 29 minutes (again, the time mentioned here is not officially recognized) and the youngest participant was a 16 years old schoolboy from Delhi.
I decided to start my journey to Triund a couple of minutes late as I wanted to cheer up the participants at the starting point of the trail run – young men, younger women and kids alike. In the next 10 minutes, I would be covering up the distance of my first ever trek as part of my first ever solo trip.