Kashmir Great Lakes : Romancing the rains at Nichnai Pass
Trekking in rain might seem however romantic but it is quite challenging when you are up in Himalayas constantly over altitude of 11K ft and you have to cross a pass in chilling wind. In last almost two and half decades have trekked in rain at numerous occasions. However beautiful it might look in the beginning, but if it prolongs than it is certainly going to trouble. It does more to all those who are ill-prepared for the happening.
Well, continuing with the Kashmiri Great Lakes trek, second day trek was from Nichnai camp to Vishansar camp. Rain had started the previous evening even before we reached Nichnai camp from Sonamarg. It kept raining the whole night continuously. It was quite damp and chilly. It was quite certain that we won’t be having an early departure in the morning but on YHAI treks, likelihood of group overstaying is almost impossible as there is another group approaching the camp from down, hence earlier group have to vacate the camp and go ahead, until weather is so drastically poor to make further trekking virtually impossible. It wasn’t so, it was just rain and hence we had to leave the camp. We did that at 9.30 in the morning.
It was like moving through the clouds. It wasn’t raining heavily but still enough to give you the damp feeling, walking with raincoats and using sticks to be safe from slipping. But it was so chilling that you had to were the gloves, otherwise fingers were getting numb with freeze.
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Misty mornings! Its raining around and clouds have covered the whole stretch of the tiny valley at an altitude of over 11K feet. But rain is no excuse for trekkers. Breakfasts done, packed lunches ready… its time to move to the next camp, even when it is bit misty with continuous drizzle, good enough to freeze your fingers. Than this too has its own charm and lot of adventure!! #travel #adventure #photography #photooftheday #picoftheday #MyPhotos #InstaPics #Kashmir #GreatLakes #Sonamarg #Nichnai #trekking #trekkers #KashmirGreatLakes #JammuKashmir
Nichnai camp is at an altitude of 11,500 ft and Vishansar camp is at an altitude of 12,000 ft but on the way we have to cross Nichnai pass at an altitude of 13,500 ft. So a steep ascent followed by a steep descend.
Normally the ascent to the pass should take around two and a half hours but surely not in rains. Than, in a trekking group, normally speed and stamina differs from trekker to trekker. It is imperative to remain close and let nobody be left too far behind. Climbing in the rain got so difficult that some of the trekkers had to wait for some ponies to unload their backpacks and send them to the next camp.
While looking from the Nichnai side, pass looks quite close but it isn’t so as looks are quite deceptive because what we see is actually the ridge quite below the pass. Initial climb after Nichnai camp is through the rocks until the river. After crossing the river, the boulders continue for a while and then path gets smoother as we get close to meadows.
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Slice of paradise! Trekking in Kashmir is fun and more so on the Great Lakes trek. Every moment is a treasure, like this one while ascending to the Nichnai pass at an altitude of 13,500 feet on way to Vishansar camp. Looks so serene!! #travel #adventure #Kashmir #Sonamarg #Nichnai #photography #lakes #photooftheday #picoftheday #Instapics #MyPhotos #Himalayas #HimalayanGeographic #NatGeoTravel #GreatLakes #camping #trekking #Vishansar
Ascent is along the stream and no amount of rain was capable of hiding the beauty of nature around us. Streams, snow and small carpets of pink flowers here and there are good enough to mesmerise anybody.
Moving ahead, you can see some small glacial ponds. There is another lake at the foot of the mountain. It was first sight of any lake formation on Great Lakes trek, thus building the expectations of things to come.
It took more than four and half hours for the last batch to cross the pass. It was still raining and in between there were also hails making there way down to us.
Interestingly, I was able to get network on my mobile phone at the Nichnai Pass, last time till reaching Naranag on the last day. On the left of the pass are peaks covered with freshly fallen snow. Reaching from 7,800 feet to 13,500 feet in just one and half days of trek was no mean task.
Also read: Naranag – Kashmir we know less about
Trek descends after the pass. And it gets more and more beautiful. Initial descend is through rocks but eases down gradually. You can even see a large waterfall towards your left.
Once the descend is complete, we reach to the river formed by the same waterfall and adjoining other streams.
We have to cross the stream and go to the other side to move ahead towards the Vishansar. Just after crossing the river is a dhaba offering some hot Kehwa and maggi, very refreshing after a tough trek.
After that, trek to Vishansar camp is beautiful through the wide green meadows and along the river. Its a pleasant walk between mountain ranges on the both side. Luckily, rain had also stopped by now, making the rest of day’s trek more beautiful.
It was a beautiful but tough day of trekking as most part of the day was covered in rain and hail fall. Otherwise moderate trek of 12 kms was made difficult by rains. Hence what could have been covered in six to seven hours was completed in eight to nine hours. But it was as if weather’s way to test our will. Here onwards, weather turned out to be good for the rest of the trek. Luckily all the charm of the trek was about to come our way from the next day.
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Nature's playground! Deeper you go, prettier it becomes!! Trekking at an altitude of over 11K feet, all of a sudden you find a big, lush green plateau, decorated with flowers of various colours, a stream flowing calmly on a side, surrounded by mountains on all sides as if to protect this miracle of the nature, so far from mere mortals!! #travel #adventure #photography #Photooftheday #picoftheday #InstaPics #MyPhotos #Himalayas #Kashmir #GreatLakes #Vishansar #Krishnasar #Sonamarg #trekking #treks #IncredibleIndia
You can watch the video of highlights of this trek from Nichnai to Vishansar on my YouTube channel by clicking on the link below-
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Have you done this trek? Share your views in the comment section below.