If I were to describe my latest trek of Kashmir Great Lakes I would have so much to say about the trek and nothing much to say about the group. After the high of Pin Bhaba trek I did in July with my awesome team mates, it had to eventually lead to a new low with this trek. So this time I might blog more on the experiences of trekking rather than the people or characters except a few and I mean literally 3 of them in a whole group of the initial 23 members.
Let me spell it out, most of them came to this trek to tick off from their ‘bucket list of travels’. Hell! most of them didn’t even prepare for this trek. Translate that to clicking crazy selfies to group pictures with no sense of space nor seeking silence within, noisy from start to end with chattering and yapping away nineteen to dozen from morning to night. Now you get my drift? 😊
But the trek? OMG the trek! Unbelievably pretty, heavenly, paradise. They weren’t kidding when I landed in Srinagar airport and the logo proudly said, ‘ Jannat – E- Kashmir’ meaning Heaven is Kashmir and it is so a zillion times and over. Neither Uttarakhand, Himachal, Eastern Himalayas nothing can compare to Kashmir and I can say this unabashedly at the cost of upsetting a lot of people. If once you trek the beautiful valley and lakes of Kashmir, everything else falls short.
Yes the trekking days are long, exhaustingly very long, even the ‘shorter day’ which is only one day of the seven days, feels like this will go on forever. Covering 85 kms in seven days mean endless trekking every day for 8 hours. And yet.. when you see the endless meadows, the aqua marine turquoise waters, with the mountains looming large and in no way resembling anything you have seen before, the blisters, body pains and fatigue is worth every bit of it.
It took me quite some time to get down to start writing it. Lots of hesitation and apprehension. Merely because the trail was splendid and the people I trekked with were on the opposite end of the spectrum! It did help having one of my closest buddies with me, but he suffered no less than me either with the insufferable people around us ! We would eye roll each other or grit our teeth and silently whisper ‘Just Shut up!’ to the constant rattle and giggles surrounding us in the quietest of sceneries unfolding in front of us.
I was also worried that it will be a rant, but in that rant is a harsh reality I need to confront. The reality that trekking has become another ‘trend’, another insta worthy pics to post, another bucket list of adventure activity/sports that one can flaunt. Believe me, I tried hard, extremely hard to be benevolent about it but I completely lost it by the end of the trek! But hey reality is reality and since it’s my blog and so-called ‘woke people’ be damned, I am going to write the way it is, blunt and in your face.
Kashmir Great Lakes! Jannat it is in every way, and yes I will go back to this Jannat every year if it’s possible! That beautiful paradise is NOT cursed, and definitely not doomed, it is as safe as you would be in your respective cities. And what I observed was a land with people so caught in their identity, an identity that they still have no idea about, still stuck onto a Kashmir that goes back to pre partition days that one can’t help but ask, ‘Isn’t it time to move forward?’ They want tourists, they want people to visit them and yet, a distance and distrust exists within them, they want to move a step forward but are very caught up in their past. They are not able to shake it off their chest, it hangs like a sword above them always..
Lots to say and lots to reveal! Get ready for a ride to Kashmir Great Lakes, it’s loud and I mean super loud characters of whom I have given nick names, and of course for the first time except to a couple of them, I wouldn’t be sending this blog to the rest of the group!
Tune in for the next one! Until Tomorrow!