Wednesday, June 13, 2012

12 years down the memory lane

Mt. Wittenberg loop trail at Point Reyes National Seashore

Canopy of the trees
While coming to USA I was actually sad because of the prevailing thought that I am gonna miss the trekking in Himalayan region which never truly happened in the 1st half of my life. Although I once felt the essence of wild North-East climbing to Sandakfu - highest peak of West Bengal with gorgeous scenic beauty and challenging trails,12 years ago, and 1 or 2 short climbing in Garhwal Himalayas. Being into an IT industry,it became even difficult to get a 15-20 days of holidays to make a complete summit in those terrains. The other unavoidable factors were finding a right like-minded experienced group of people, inconvenience of transport to even reach the base-camp of those unconventional trekking routes, inexperience and time made it a complete shut down reaching the dream destinations.

I so naively assumed that no other place on earth can be as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the Himalayan belt of North India and no other trekking route can meet my expectation of being equally rich with natural beauty and challenging at the same time. Even I had a conversation with a like-minded friend back in India who were there in our 1st 10 day backpacking hike at Sandakfu,teasing me saying we are doing only roaming around the garden and call it a trek! On that context I must say,sometime we really need to experience  ourselves certain things to believe.

Starting point of the trail
My 'mis'conception was overwritten when I came to Point Reyes National Seashore and started our day hike from Bear Valley Ranch to Mt Wittenberg loop trail. On that day we missed the parking at Mt Tamalpais State Park being late and headed for the Point Reyes which came out as a boon.The 5 mile journey was constant climb in a steep dense  and dark forest with ancient trees and wild shrubs. Only sound in that eerie awe-inspiring forest was our footsteps treading on the dried leaves,buzzing of insects and distant monologue of resident birds up above somewhere in the condensed canopy of trees. At the summit the gorgeous view of the blue ocean of the cliffs was really rewarding.

Beautiful view from the top
The entire trail reminded me of the journey back from Sandakfu in the jungle trail to Shrikhola and Rimbik, yet challenging enough of reaching the summit of Sandakfu village of Singalila National Park. 

There is no comparison though,as Himalaya will remain reverend as usual with gorgeous white peaks,glaciers,gushing streams of rivers and its sources and numerous hidden falls, a complete different set of Mountain Vegetation, open vivid green meadows and colorful flora and fauna with its most challenging trails where hardly ever had any footprints of human being...I didn't wish to be a mountaineer,only for the sake of enjoying natural beauty I love to walk,wish to explore the places where nature still remains in its most primitive form - to experience the challenges and beauty up close. But sadly those places in Northern India still not loved by the Government so much and not so much effort is going on preserving it as well as make it convenient destination for trekkers.

Jungle trail
I am happy to experience the difference here instead- the government is preserving all the natural beauties and resources in its most primitive form,creating hundreds of State Parks and National Parks and yet make it convenient to reach for all kind of people - normal tourists, day-hikers, photographers, campers and backpackers and rock climbers.Even the white peaks and glaciers in abundant in Lassen Volcanic Region, Mount Shashta even further North at Mount Rainer National Park. Skiing,snowshoeing experience and even mountaineering is open to all who wants to experience it. More stories will come in my exploration of hiking and backpacking trips in USA. Nobody knows, I definitely have chance of coming back and experience my long lived dream of backpacking those virgin terrains in Himalayan Mountain Region of Northern India.