Sudheer’s First-Ever Snowfall Trek: A Daydream Coming True With Thrillophilia!

Sudheer’s First-Ever Snowfall Trek: A Daydream Coming True With Thrillophilia!

All my childhood, I have pictured myself living in a tiny village in the middle of the mountains, and sitting by the window to gaze at the snowfall.

But why do I share this now?

Because last November, that old daydream came alive, for real.

I finally experienced snowfall, and the only difference between reality and my imagination was that I sat by the window of my tent to gaze at it.

And This is How it Unfolded…

I went on a trek to Pangarchula and Kuari Pass with Thrillophilia. Although my dreams of playing in the snow had disappeared over the years, the desire lurked somewhere still. When I saw the possibility of snowing on the trek, I was way too excited.  

So, I booked the trek on the same day. There was no extra hassle, I got the details of the trek and made the payment. I was no expert in judging anything, so I decided to take a leap of faith. Anyway, the trek was marked as easy-moderate, which gave me a tad bit more confidence. I also got some preparation tips (it was the most important thing for a lazy person like me).

The ‘The Day’ arrived soon, and I was too excited to even look forward to anything, I was all blank. And trust me, that is the best part of doing something absolutely new, you have no expectations, neither good nor bad.

I had booked a solo trip, but upon reaching the meeting point in Rishikesh, I saw too many people there. The representative divided the group into two, we were going to Kuari Pass and the other group was heading towards Chopta Chandrashila. Initially, I did not like that so many people got clubbed together, but on the journey, things changed.

I met many other people like me who came for a solo, some were experienced already and some were a bit more like me, inexperienced.

The Zeal. The Challenges. The Survival

The next day we were to go to Dhak Village, and from there we would start our trek to our first stop, Gulling Top. It was a 6 km trail, and we covered it within 4 hours (that's pretty fast, to be honest, not to mention it was a TASK for me).

And just at the moment when we, our guides and the staff were about to set the camps and I was about to drop my rucksack for the day, our trek leader arrived and dropped a bomb... we were to fast forward the trip due to an arriving storm at the Gulling Top.

For a moment I was shocked, and when I returned to my senses I picked up my rucksack and made up my mind to face this challenge. Some first-timers like me shared similar thoughts, but who could fight nature?

Not us, definitely not.

We had to survive.

So we started trekking for another 6 km to Khullara Top. The farther we went, the steeper the climb got. This time it took us 6 hours to complete the trek, and thank God we had started early in the morning that we could reach by dusk. After setting up the camp and cooking, we finally laid down to rest a bit and freshen up before joining again for dinner.

That night, none of us had the urge to stargaze,  but who can help a wanderlust heart? It was one of the most memorable nights of my life, watching the spectrums of the galaxy playing hide and seek with the clouds. Then the moon came up, blinding the galaxy in her glow, and we retired for the night.

After A Spectacular Night Comes A Blissful Day

We woke up to crystal clear views of the Nanda Devi Peak. I still do not know how to put that feeling into words…it was majestic and grand, the kind that calms your heart and instils humility in you.

After breakfast, we started on a 12 km trek to Kuari Pass and back to Khullara top. The Kuari Pass is a splendid destination, with views of the Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Chaukhamba, and Neelkantha Peaks. They all seemed to be painted in blue and white, and the crispy air washed off all the heaviness of the heart and mind.

After clicking a few pictures, our group started our way back. I felt like bearing a new soul in a rejuvenated body, I felt reincarnated. I was just thinking about the same, and suddenly, I saw the first flake of snow fall on my palm.

That Unexpected Climax

A quote hit my mind in that instant- "I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again?”.
            - Lewis Caroll

The snow sparkled like a million suns, just like the tears at the fold of my eyes. I knew then how it feels to have your dream come true.

Upon reaching, Khullara Top was unrecognisable. It was all covered in snow! The transformation was magical, the morning was clear and dry and by the evening it had turned into a winterland!

But, There is Always A But…

It snowed the whole night. The next morning when we were preparing for the Pangarchulla trek, we were informed that the full peak trek would not be possible as the trail got blocked. By then I had gathered up the courage to conquer the world (I was a bit too excited), and again, I found some like-minded people like me and we all asked our trek leader to at least start the trek.

There were just 4 of us, including our trek leader, and we could only complete the Mini Pangarchulla trek, covering around 3 km. It was still snowing and the road ahead seemed too dangerous (yes, the excitement faded as well).

Coming back, our trek leader informed the group about the increasing chances of heavy snowfall, and the possibility of us getting stuck. So, he suggested that we start downhill the very day. I had heard before that descending is easier, but no one told me that it was more dangerous with increased chances of slipping. So, after a few topples and tumbles, the entire group reached Dhak Village.

We completed the 5-day trek in 3 days, and it was an achievement of my life! I had never expected my first trek to be this thrilling. Since I had two more days on my hands, I decided to stay in Joshimath and explore nearby places like Kalpeshwar and Auli.

The Mind Forgets, But The Heart Remembers

I experienced my first snowfall, on my first-ever trekking adventure. This entire trip still holds a very special place in my heart, and I shall keep the memories safe forever.

Firstly, the food team. Hats off! No praise can do justice to your efforts. Secondly, the people. I know I was a bit under-prepared for such an experience, but thanks again to my blank mind, I enjoyed their company a lot!

And lastly, Thrillophilia. Their arrangement was actually good and so was their trip conduct. The trek leader was also an experienced person, who took the right call at the right moment. Thanks for saving us, Bhushan Pramanik!

No complaints, no regrets!

Finally, The Lessons Learnt on This Trek

Not all solo trips are done alone, not all trips unfold as per plan. Nature and destiny have their ways to surprise you. Just trust your guts!

So, with heartfelt gratitude, thanks for reading this blog. See you after the next trip!