Lyoti Campsite to Kareri Lake
Today was our last leg of the trek to kareri lake which was approx four km from here. A good breakfast boosted the energy levels, tents were folded and we started onto an ascent which was moderate in gradient compared to yesterday’s relentless climb. This part of trek was mostly along the course of river, on boulders or along those boulders. When the river tumbled too dangerously, path skirted it by taking roughly hewn stone stairs and again came back to the river. So we did what we could do and river did what it could, but we kept close to each other. This gurgling Nyund was a sought after companion with its multitudes of pools, falls and small eddies. While I prefered to sit close to falls, kids loved the pools and eddies and Manish juggled between camera, kids and wife.
Eddies were small and large; sometimes only a single eddy between boulders, other times succession of eddies flowing one into another. Kids threw twigs and leaves in the eddies to see how long the twigs and leaf lasted or whose twig or leaf won.
Pools were to remain forever wet. I raised my eyebrows when they took a dip beyond their feet.
” Don’t get wet. You will fall sick.”
” Mumma. We are sweating.”
At times I myself took a half-leg dip. Water was cold but not icy cold.
Falls were always designed by Nyund differently. If one was a long, simple generous fall of water, then another was a staggered but straight fall, still other was also staggered but in a zigzag design. Then there was a gentle-flow like fall over the large and small pebbles which is mimicked by urban designers in their gated societies. The best and most intriguing was when water gushed in the form of showers from large boulders but did not flow or fall through them.
This change in mood of Nyund revealed many wild flowers to us; some which thrived in collected water between boulders, others which loved the gentle but continuous flow of river to always be in fresh and flowing water, some liking the shade and others sun, and then there was no end to the carpeted slopes of the mountains that rise along this valley.
A big herd of goats and sheep was resting on different boulders and soon we found their owners in their traditional Himachali cap resting on the boulders. These were the first living beings we met, besides birds and insects and the nocturnal Pica.
More and more of climb continued, with stops in between to play with different shapes and speeds and falls and flow of river Niyund. Trees became less and finally purple rhododendrons confirmed our being in the high altitude zone. The funnel of the valley opened into green meadows. It started drizzling. Soon the first glimpse of the glacier excited kids and they ran away, leaving behind the tired parents.
Climbing the rolling meadows, we reached the destination and forgot all the tiredness. The lake was spread below us, dazzling and dappling in sunlight. The snow line started at the other bank of the lake. Kids did not stop and off they went with Bunty and Arvind, to climb up the glacier. we, the elders, stayed behind and rested. Half an hour and we too got up and took a stroll along the entire lake. We looked up through binos and found kids having a blast in the snow. They skidded, they made balls of snow, and skid again and laughed and laughed.
When they came back, both of them shot a barrage of tales which they had to narrate twice because they were unable to stop laughing while speaking.
Younger one: Mom. “I wanted to run but I could not. I was skidding.”
Elder one: “No. He was purposely skidding. He was laughing and rolling and skidding because he was enjoying it so much.”
Younger One: “No Mom. Once Bhaiya also skidded.”
“Yes. But it was because walking on snow is not that easy. But you were holding hands of Arvind Uncle and still skidding. You were intentionally doing so.”
“Mumma. Bhaiya also did so. I am telling you the truth”
It went on and on…. the laughter still echoes in my ears, and I can still see the twinkle in their eyes.
Camping at Kareri Lake:
It was already four pm by the time we reached Kareri Lake. After paying obeisance to the temple, while the kids went further ahead to trek the Glaciers that was feeding the Kareri Lake, We chose to take a walk around the lake.
The grassy meadows around the lake were strewn with big boulders. A few Gaddi Shepherd’s houses, made of fitted stones and a thatched roof secured with a few wooden beams, confirmed it to be a pasturing zone of their ‘Dhan’, sheep and goat-herd.
The leisurely stroll gave sweeping vistas and allowed us to indulge in the interesting details that makes trekking a delightful experience. Rhododendron, which was a tree at lower altitudes, here bowed down in reverence to the might of snow peaks and kept a low status like a shrub. Its branches creeped along the base and then slightly straightened. It was laden with Purple flowers in June and covered many slopes in the shade of pink-purple, giving a tough fight to the green carpeted meadows. The placid water created interesting reflections of the boulders, clouds and the glacier. A herd of Sheeps and goats kept themselves busy grazing on the tender greens of the summer. A few figurines, some chained and other unchained under a large boulder piqued our interest and made an interesting peek into the culture and emotions of we, the people.
Our chances of a glorious sunset light were dashed by the imminent cloud gathering overhead and we made a retreat to the temple and Dharamshala. By then kids also returned from their glacial expedition. Soon the winds picked speed and howled, piercing the silence of the valley and crashing our hopes of camping beside the lake. Camps were then pitched in the open huts of Dharamshala. It started raining, putting a final stop to any adventure.
We retired to cups of hot tea followed by a sumptuous dinner and slept well, sheltered in our cosy tents, in the huts of Dharamshala.
Morning greeted us with poori-sabji breakfast and hot cup of tea. Manish woke early and went ahead in his search of Monal. When he returned, he was beaming with joy. he did see a Monal and more than that, he was rewarded with the wide-angle view of the lake itself.
Time to fold the tents and return to Kareri village. See you in the next post.