Waking up early morning, I looked out my window to find the clouds looking heavy with the thundering just starting up. This made me wonder if the trip was still on for the weather looked really dull and gloomy, not a great weather for any outdoor activity, let alone trekking. The thought making me anxious, as this trek to Chhaskhet, was important to me for so many reasons.
Getting to the starting point with my group I was constantly looking towards the skies and hoping that the sky gods would have mercy on us today. And thus, it was decided, a group of 10 odd students with a thirst for adventure and adrenaline running in their veins, packed their bags and with the sun starting its ascent, they too ascended to their location.
As we reached there the thunder and lighting had become more frequent and louder. Looking at the faces of my team I could sense a feeling of both excitement and fear. Lightening the mood with my sense of humor I got us all started with a positive mindset. The weather was as beautiful as dangerous it was. Checking our trekking gears and raincoats we sought the help of locals in the area. Setting forth, we decided to use our instincts and judgment to traverse the hills, a spirit of true leadership and companionship is tested at such misadventures.
The final destination: Chhaskhet – a beautiful valley of poppy flowers.
We had to pass through a couple of rest stops. Starting from Kemdi Gaon we trekked along the Nun River. The trek was moderately difficult at start and we were cruising along with ease till the clouds decided to pour down with all their grace. We took shelter under a big boulder that looked liked was placed there for us only. As soon as the downpour stopped we set out again. Trekking to Chhaskhet for the first time we had some difficulty in finding the way especially after the showers, so a couple of our friends went out to look for a way. This was the point where I realized that one must not part from the group in any case because within no time our group had split into two and both had gone different ways. Having lost our other mates we set out looking for them, with me being left behind with the group, which had stayed back while the other group had gone to find the way. We decided to descend down the hill and follow the nun river as from experience I have learned that when trekking in unknown places, if lost, always follow the river as it will always lead to a settling. Following the less trodden path along the Nun River, we descended and continued down to follow the river towards Chhaskhet till we were tired, bruised and hungry. Too tired to continue, we decided to rest up a bit.
Thankfully the other group had the same thinking and they too had descended down and were backtracking the river. As we were about to settle down to refuel ourselves, we heard cries from the way ahead. We stood up to see our friends waving up at us and closing the distance between our two groups. We couldn’t believe and were so excited that we waved and rushed towards them. The moment the group was reunited was something amazing to experience; it made me realize the essence of team spirit and comradeship. We happily and excitedly shared our experiences with each other.
After this misadventure, we set out again towards our destination. The trek to Chhaskhet was now getting more and more challenging. We trekked across a route where the track was muddy at best. Travelling across a mountain is easier folks, much easier than walking past huge river boulders without an accident. The main challenge being to avoid getting wet, which is virtually impossible when trekking a river. Those who understand this earlier are saved from numerous injuries and accidents in trying to avert water. I love taking challenges, so instead of bypassing the water, I chose to head on confront it, enjoying and embracing its presence wholeheartedly.
Each one of us fell more than once, as the showers had made the route to Chhaskhet muddy and slippery. We would trek, fall, stand up and continue. Our second stop was near a cave hidden behind forest greenery where we finally decided to stop. Tired and hungry, we all unpacked our bags to provide fodder to our unhinged muscles. After replenishing our muscles we again set out, following the route a young shepherd guided us through to the final part of the Chhaskhet Trek. Apart from a couple of twisted ankles the rest of the trek was comparably incident less.
And there finally in the early afternoon sun, we came across our beautiful valley of Chhaskhet. Our battered, bruised bodies were long forgotten, for our senses were now enchanted by the beauty of setting sun past the horizon casting a warm merry glow to the valley of exquisite poppy flowers, like little flames of nature.
Starting our return, as the sun set across the horizon I knew that something about the hills, this moment of togetherness, as I step out basking the warmth of the setting sun, feeling the wind touching my face with a puffing breath, racing heart, sweating brow, the adrenaline rush I got to live life like its meant to be, freely and with passion. And this was when I fell in love with nature’s walk, or trekking as the world calls it and my paradise was Chhaskhet Trek!
About the author –
Ayushi Singh Chhetri, a young hearted and trek enthusiast who loves to venture out on weekends to the mountains!