Gidara Bugyal – Part VI (a)

There is no other way I can break down the day we did Gidara Bugyal other than writing it in parts. And that’s how it will be for the next few days as I share. How can one encapsulate what all happened those 13-14 hours in one blog post?

But right before the so called ‘summit day’ lots of stuff already happened. Darshan was injured badly in the ankle and was limping, and this would be a good 13+ hours trek trek and one more day of descent to go. One of the porters was injured as he was kicked solid by one of the mules, Vrinda lost her confidence for the next day as she got her monthly cycle. She was tired, exhausted and didn’t come out of her tent until much later. Gosh I don’t think I can say enough of what we women go through during that time.. I wrote enough of it during KGL blog but men need to be aware AND sensitive and know what goes on in women during that time.

She was demotivated thinking she needs to go back. The pain was bad and her face was pulled down. Kavya kept checking on her, I assured her that it’s ok to do it, I had done it many a times. It’s not something anyone wants, but it happens so what can one do but move on? Khush was caring enough to tell me to encourage her to come tomorrow. And I did, even Gayatri told her too. I said, we will do it together worry not, we were all there for each other. Just that tomorrow, I told her, not to focus on being in the front and go fast, but be aware of the pain and walk slowly, it doesn’t matter at all but to be sensitive to her body needs and pace step by step. We had a super long day to go and getting exhausted at the beginning itself meant disaster. God knows we needed all that energy to keep it going through the day.

The kitchen team were trying to make a stone bridge for the river crossing but there was no point of it, there were only small stones and the current was too strong for any stones to stay put so yes we had to cross forming a human chain barefoot at 5 am!! Wonderful!!

As we retired to the tent, and kind of crashed to sleep, Kush woke us up and gave a chit each to me and Gayatri. He wrote to the entire team individually. Akshay had done the same too in Pin Bhaba, what was commendable was that the trek leads saw some quality in everyone and wrote a personal note. Kush did the same and I truly appreciate that, the effort to sit and write to each one of us requires heart.

I barely got sleep, usually that happens as our wake up call was 4 am, 4.30 breakfast and 4.45 packed lunch and 5 am we move. Gayatri and I decided to wake up at 3.30 am itself, finish our business and get out of the tent. We woke each other up before everyone else and were ready and waiting in the dining tent. As we stuffed breakfast forcibly in us and took the packed lunch in freezing cold weather, all I was thinking was to get a move on. To get going.

My thought was, the moment we all started there was no stopping, at least the day had started. After this would be one more day trekking back to base camp. Believe me guys, we dream up of all kinds of scenarios during a situation like that. The hope of going back, getting back to a bed, to know that we did what we did. And right after we are done with it, we go back to signing up for another trek, that’s the way it is.

Then came the thing we hated, removing our shoes and tying it to our backpacks, we crossed the effing freezing cold river. Don’t even ask me how to explain that feeling! It was torture, numbness, so painful at that time because the temperature goes to minus and to do it barefoot, in the dark and hoping you don’t slip and fall.

God!! I wanted to get this over with as soon as possible so I went ahead with the first few that were crossing the river. And right after I crossed, Atulbhai guided me to climb up and ahead, through the jagged rocks so others could get space to come up. It was a narrow upward ascending trail. I kept moving up in the wet trail barefoot in darkness until I could get a small space somehow to wear my shoes. My feet was numb and I wanted to get it warmed up.

There was Ram, Shourya, then Deep along with Mohit and Kavya as we now slowly walked ahead once the entire team safely crossed the stream.

What can I say about the ascent? It was punishing. This is the thing I realised, there is nothing called ‘easy treks’ when it comes to the Himalayas, no there is not! I wondered why bother even categorising them. Difficult, Moderate- Difficult, moderate, easy, all categories can go to hell!

This Year so far, I did Deorital- Chandrashila , it was challenging in a different way, Pin Bhaba was absolutely brutal and not exactly viable for most of the people until they were extremely fit and mentally ready to face the rough unforgiving terrain. Kashmir Great Lakes trail had so many challenges and obstacles I was exhausted post that one and now this one! No guys, one cannot categorise nor should compare treks, each one is unique and excruciating in its own way.

We kept ascending up and breathing heavily until the pace and rhythm took over us and we were out and about going towards the bugyal. And there we saw… Sunrise in the bugyal.

Gidara Bugyal is the highest ever meadow in the country at an altitude of 14,000 feet and expansive and vast running in 24+ square kilometres. Yes, I had seen Bedhni Bugyal but nothing can prepare you for this. It was spread out like a parallel universe altogether. Not a single soul in sight, not even birds or animals, it felt like we were the only ones existing in the entire universe.. I don’t know how to explain this but I felt I was in an interstellar moment!

And then we saw the golden sunrise as night gave to light.. The ones ahead like Ram, Deep, Vaibhav, myself, Pradeepbhai and a few more joining in gasped at what we saw. The wind chill, the crisp cold air with us all layered up with gloves and jackets stared at the magnificence of God’s creations. If this is not proof of the supreme consciousness existing then I don’t know what is..

Yes people were clicking away, capturing the sunrise and all, but all I could think of was the moment. That moment of being in it, right in it, if I could die now, this would be the most amazing way to do it. A blankness, nothingness existing inside, and isn’t that state is what we all hope for? The Rishis, gurus, sages, our scriptures talk about this state of emptiness and all the while it’s within you, in front of you, surrounding you ♥️ And this was just the beginning… truly the beginning..

To be continued… 💙💙💙

The first glimpse
The rays of hope
The start of the bugyal and just the tip of the iceberg
What lies ahead of us…
Pradeepbhai in his element
Gayatri smiling because it’s also just
one more day to go!
Gayatri and Khush
Unfolding it’s magnificence
Capturing what we left behind ascending up – PHOTO CREDIT – DEEP
Sometimes you need to stop and look back to see how far you have come.. PHOTO CREDIT – DEEP
The gang that reached first and gasped – Vaibhav, Vrinda, Ram, me, Deep, Abhishek and Pradeepbhai
Well a few went crazy! PHOTO CREDIT – DEEP
Just the beginning.. PHOTO CREDIT – SHOURYA
Crossing in darkness – VIDEO CREDIT – SHOURYA
The wonder that is – PHOTO CREDIT – KAVYA
The start of the incredible and unbelievable- PHOTO CREDIT – RAM

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