Moon-Lake

I was looking at some pictures from several years ago which were taken during my trip to Himachal. All the treks were over and we were just visiting some lakes and small towns on our way to Manali. We were travelling along beautiful roads. I had a book with me and everyone was in a quiet and reflective mood.

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We took a detour to visit the beautiful Moon-Lake(Chandratal) and spend a quiet morning there.The vehicle stopped some way away from the lake. We walked the rest of the way along a narrow gravel path in the direction of the lake.

I was waiting for the lake to come into sight. The constant scanning for the blue patch on the horizon reminded me of the cycle ride to Tso Moriri in Ladakh the previous year.

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The sky in those parts can be very bright and sometimes this prevents you from really enjoying the beautiful sights once the Sun is up. But, that day, the sky was cloudy and the light was perfect.

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There were small patches of grass around the lake and flocks of sheep grazing on it with shepherd dogs running about and barking at them.
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Some of us took a dip in the icy water of the lake.

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I just lay down in the moist grass with my book and spent some time reading and gazing out at the iridescent lake shining with a furious intensity in the many reflected colors of the sky.

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As the clouds shifted in the sky the colors reflected in the lake too changed. I kept on moving around the lake to take in the sight from as many angles as possible.

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The toughest part of that whole trip was the walk on the glaciers of the Pin Bhabha pass. This year, I am going again for a winter trek in Himachal. This time more of the trek will be over glaciers and it will be interesting to find out how I cope with it.

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I am expecting it to be the toughest trekking expedition I have ever participated in and I can’t wait to see the sights and experience the adventure.

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Come Oct, I will be on my way!
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I hope that at the end of the coming trip, we will get to spend a few days roaming around and relaxing in beautiful places like this.

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Trek to Thadiyandamol

I have read a lot about Coorg(Kodagu) and it was always there on my list of places to visit. So, one weekend we(Me, Valiyettan and Nipun) decided to go there and relax for a couple of days. I did a bit of research and found a couple of home-stays. We booked ourselves a room at Reena Devaiah’s home-stay. We set off for Coorg on Friday night and arrived there by about 5 in the morning. We took an auto to get to the home-stay which was around 7 kms from the town.

After getting there we freshened up and after break-fast had a discussion on what to do that day. We decided to trek to Thadiyandamol. So, we set off on foot to the main road, and got ourselves a lift to town. On reaching the bus stand we saw the bus that we were supposed to take(yo Kakkabe village) was about to move out. So, we decided that we would have break-fast from somewhere on the way and jumped onto the bus. On the way they stopped at a place and I bought a few packets of biscuits and water. But, we didn’t eat anything proper.

On getting to the base, we realized that there were no places to eat there. I was kind of okay. But the other two guys were throwing me sour looks once in a while as they were really hungry. We also did not have any guide with us. But, we got lucky. There was a Belgian couple(Michael and Florence) who had also come by the same bus and were going to trek to the top. They had a guide with them. So, we went and talked to them and made friends with them. So, we had some one to point us the way at least.

We started on our trek. The initial part of the trail was through some coffee plantations. We could see the coffee trees and smell their fragrant flowers.

The sun was already high up and the heat was considerable. Luckily, I had bought along a lot of electrolyte and we mixed it with the water. I was in a silent mood. But, that was completely okay as Michael and Florence were very interesting company. Veliyettan was discussing the economy of Belgium, growth prospects of the technology industry here and other such very weighty matters. Nipun too was bugging the poor woman with some such talk. I was running ahead as I wanted to spend some time and learn how to use my new camera while they caught up with me.The walk was a long one. On the way the guide made a small detour and we got to a stream where we filled our water bottles and ate some of the biscuits.

After that the grade started increasing and we were gaining altitude. Very soon we started seeing more and more people. They probably had set off in the morning. We had caught up with them. The sky was clear and at every turn I could see the magnificent mountains spread out in all directions.

After a while, just when I thought that the sun was too much the trail plunged into tree cover. The air was cool and the air light and refreshing.

I walked like a machine and sped up like a rocket. As the peak neared and the crowd started to become thinner and thinner my enthusiasm and energy started peaking. Finally, in one surge of energy I got to the very top. I was awestruck by the breathtaking vistas spread out in all directions.

Usually, whenever I go trekking, there is almost always a lot of cloud cover and I never get to see anything worthwhile.This time it was different.

I just let myself fall down and lay there looking up into the sky. Just behind me a bunch of guys from BMC(Bangalore Mountaineering Club) had come up. I talked to them and spent some time discussing about previous trips and stuff with them and exchanging email ids.

With Michael and Florence

After a while Michael, Florence and their guide came up and behind them Veliyettan and Nipun.

Nipun

Renjith aka Veliyettan

We all rested for a while. We did not have any food with us and the strain was starting to show.

After some time we set off on our way down. All of us were really hungry. We had asked a guy at a home stay on the way to prepare lunch for us. By the time we got there we were nearly faint with hunger.

Almost every home we saw had coffee beans spread out in front!

I had managed to nearly starve my friends to death. But, thankfully, the lunch was worthy of our raging hunger! There was salad, rice, sambhar, moru curry, cabbage, pulavu, mulaku bhajji, bananas and more. We dug in and in no time we had decimated all the food on the table.

The home-stay(King’s Cottage) where we had lunch

Satiated we lay back and asked for some coffee.

Veliyettan relaxing after lunch

I don’t know whether this is a psychological thing or for real. But, there is something special about Coorgi coffee. We sipped it and just lay back in the easy chairs and let our eyes roam around the pleasant garden they had.

After a while, we made our way back to the road, caught a bus and got back to Coorg. We bought some “medicine” for our tired bodies and set off for the home stay. Luckily, for me, the other 2 guys were vegetarians. This meant that all that beautiful chicken prepared in the delightful Coorgi style with Pork Masala was for me alone. We ate to our heart’s fill. I, Nipun and Veliyettan had never, up until then, caught up with each other since we left college. It was a wonderful night and all of us slept fitfully after dinner. The next morning I woke up early and walked through some nearby plantation.

After that I just sat back and relaxed with a cup of coffee.

What happened that day is for another post!

The photos are available here.