“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have got promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep” – Robert Frost
Rhododendron, a flower that grows in Himalayan Forests with many blessings for you mind and body 🙂
A very known saying, a quote that each one of us can associate ourselves with.
I have been trying to write this piece for a long time, waiting for the right frame of mind or the right mountain top and finally I am going to put this down in the right frame of mind and on the right mountain top 🙂
Probably one of the reasons I couldn’t pen it down is because of the spell-bounding beauty of the Great Himalayan National Park, one is bound to fall short of words to explain the absolutely out of the world Himalayan Forest experience one gets to experience in there. The National Park is a Pandora’s box which I could only manage to touch with this three day trekking experience.
It was a dream for me to live in the mountains. I see fellow travelers wanting to travel to as many places which I would love to as well, but living in the mountains was a thought which kept me day dreaming through most of my corporate life. So, there I was with all my bags packed, quit my job, starting a travel venture and landed straight right up in Manali, the town I always wanted to live in, something about this place always pulled me back here.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, I went through hardships of the kinds I couldn’t imagine, from finding a place to stay to finding people to work with to finding home, I ended up in situations worse than my nightmares and I was all alone. It was after having two very tough in Manali, desperately wanting to get away I decided to run towards the Jungle, and I wanted to explore this time.
Did a bit of a research and spoke to a very dear friend in Jibhi, with the amount of time I had in my hand, boiled down to the Shilt Hut Trek in the Great Himalayan National Park. Obviously it has to be an Eco-Trek.
Reached Gurshiani, the last town before the National Park, sorted a guide, tents and other essentials and started trekking towards the National Park. The walk until the gate of the National Park is a long, fairly flat and a completely green walk through the forests, as we go further ahead, the forest would get deeper, city like sounds would diminish and I could hear different birds and insects. The sound got louder and it was like a peaceful symphony to the ears. We stopped at a village after a while, we were blessed to drink fresh Rhododendron Juice which was locally brewed, and as usual I told myself, why do people drink Coke and Pepsi packed in plastic bottles, why?
A pool like formation in the stream while entering the gate of the National Park
As we came closer to the gate, we came closer to the stream, all I could see was blue water and green all around me, and the kind of landscape I had never seen before in the Himalayas. We crossed the gate and went till our campsite Rola. The moment we reached the camp and pitched our tents, it started to rain. I could just see the trees dancing in the rainfall, it was like the trees were so so happy and were welcoming the rain with open arms.
Next morning we had to trek upto Shilt Hut. It wasn’t as easy I thought it would be, it was a 6kms and a 45 degree ascend until the top. A more fascinating thing about the hike was the Forests getting deeper, we were able to spot birds and listen to their sound. The trees were dense and I could see numerous numbers of different plant species.
OH I was very conveniently trying to skip what was going on in my head. What was going on in my head? complete chaos and confusion, I felt like a headless chicken running in random directions and heading absolutely nowhere. I ran to the forest so that it could teach me something.
I quite surprisingly made it to the top in about 90 minutes, it wasn’t fast enough considering I was also treating this like a practice for the Annapurna Base Camp. Once we reached the top, Shilt Hut was like this dream come true little home on the mountain top which I would read in fairly tales with mountains and flowers surrounding me from all directions, I didn’t want to leave, I could live there, forever!
The Shilt Hut
It was a day hike, we got to Rola by the evening, the river was right by the campsite, I would go wash my face there and fill my bottle with the fresh sweet water. It was time to head back the next morning, unfortunately. On my hike back I collected whatever trash I could and decided to take it with me to Delhi.
Finding home is all each of us want in life, and finding home is the hardest thing to do. Finding home is different from buying home. You can buy houses but you might never find one. We go through bad times only so that we know the worth of good times, following your dreams might sound exciting but it is definitely not easy in a world full of conformists and patriarchy. It could turn into your worse nightmare ever or it could be better than your dreams. It always gets harder than it gets easier. Yes! it always gets harder first. The forests taught me exactly what I preach, all that you need for a happy mind and happy life lies in the arms of nature, the greatest gift of god. You need oxygen to breath, water to drink, food to eat and a shelter to sleep. That’s all you truly need!
Trust your journey and be fearless! Always 🙂