Friday, May 18, 2007

Dalhousie to Kalatop

We started early because a lot was to be covered before noon. Kalatop was not friendly after 4 pm. We were briefed last evening that people should move in groups. Wild animals were seen now and then near our prepared camp there.

We came out of Dalhousie town and marched right into thick forests. I recorded many moments on my handycam. For the first hour, the trek was smooth. Then suddenly we were told to start climbing a huge mountain in front of us.

As we moved higher, it looked the path would never end. There were few places to rest -but only for few people. We came out of the steep trek over a mountain. The cold month of December and a sweating exercise prompted us to take a tea-break and have our lunch. Kalatop was still some 8 km away. Being a part of 44-strong team, most of whom are strangers to each other, is an unusually entertaining and engrossing situation in itself. Bhaiya was capturing the beauty of nature and took some great pictures from his Nikon camera.

The foggy weather added to the charm of hills. We were told that Kalatop is one of the chilly hilltops in the region and we should expect cold feets. Muddy trails and smooth roads criss-crossed our trekking route. We had ample opportunities to rest and move intermittantly. We enjoyed a long stay at Lakkar Mandi. Beyond that, the trek curved through small hillocks to reach Kalatop. It was more of a walking exercise further.

Still, when we approached Kalatop, it was clear that temperature was dropping. Reaching there, we realized the reason. Its an open area. Cold winds from high-rise mountains, visible from Kalatop, struck hard on the bones. We were happy that we need to stay here for a night only.