Apr 25, 2014

A Walk in the Mountains - Part IV

A trek is a metaphor for life. It involves long hours of apparently pointless activity, for a few moments of exquisite bliss which makes it worth it all. A few moments that make one forget oneself, let alone remember to get a camera and capture that moment for posterity.

But then, a trek is not just about pretty pictures, though we did come back with plenty of those. It is not about penning down an unnecessarily detailed, mostly rambling and extremely boring account of where we went and what we did, though I am kinda doing that right now.

A trek teaches you life lessons. Not in the standard Indian schooling style of making you repeat something ad nauseam, but in a much more subtle manner. A trek teaches you that you do not always get what you want, when you want it, but sometimes, just sometimes, you might end up with something much better when you least expect it. Like the serendipity of catching the perfect sun-rise just because a rooster near the camp decided to wake you up by starting to crow at 4.30 am, when you have unsuccessfully chased the same sun-rise for 4 days. A trek manages to make a hard-core cynic like me, one who believes that when you desire something with all your heart, the Universe simply turns around and says "I don't care a rat's ass", to see the positive side of things for that one brief moment. Sadly, for too brief a moment.

On that pseudo-contemplative note, I started Day 5. And it was a most rewarding day.

Post a hearty breakfast, we started our descent, with more stone steps than we would have liked. Soon enough though, we came across a perfectly pretty little bridge. And we wasted enough time there, clambering over rocks, and dipping our feet in water, much to the chagrin of the tour leader who wanted us to reach the exit quickly since the porters had proceeded ahead and were waiting.

But it takes the might of all the crowds that pull the Jagannath rath to drag me away from a mountain stream. Only the promise of "you'll find a better spot later" managed to convince me to step away from those rocks.

And as we walked on, we came across more of what is now my second favourite part of the trek. Fallen trees. Few people appreciate this, but if a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to pose for a picture with it, did it really fall? To remove all doubts, we had posed for several, across all days of the trek...

If a tree falls in a forest...

... and no one is around to pose for a picture with it...

... did it really fall?
You know what's better than a fallen tree? One near a water stream, with a view of the hills...
Water, Tree and Hills... can't get better than this!
This picture was taken at an even prettier place, where we could spend only a brief 15-20 minutes because we were late. Someday, I am coming back, and I am going to spend an entire day sitting here. Someday...

Since we had tested our tour guide's patience, and the normally chilled out guy was close to raising his voice, and since we are responsible adults (although we may not always behave that way), we decide to cut out any detours and bounded down the trail, reaching the exit.

Our car was waiting for us, the luggage had been loaded, and we set off towards Pelling. Lunch was at this excellent place called Hotel Garuda, and I stuffed myself on momos and fried rice. In between, we also visited a monastery, and it was apparently very pretty, but I was too sleepy to notice.

And we finally reached the Daragaon homestay, which was to be our resting place for the next 2 nights. I had planned to wrap up this travel rambling in this post itself, but the warm hospitality of Mr. Shiva Gurung and Mrs. Radha Gurung deserve a separate post...

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