Imagine you and your best childhood buds at the age of 19 where you guys are lost in a dense trekking forest of Himachal Pradesh with no food, water, energy or sarcasm and with rain-gods showering in full generosity accompanying heavy hailstones. This was my situation on my first official trek. Even though this may sound clichéd at many levels, but as we all know, clichéd and grandeour goes hand in hand.
We were going to Lake Parashar near Mandi in Himachal. The lake is a height of 2900 ft. from the sea level and thus, provided a perfect platform to get-set-go our first trekking expedition. Our destination was this lake and our journey consisted of big and dense trees, steep and zig zag paths. Our journey started with having a delicious scoop of Maggi which in the only shop near the start of the trek. We filled our bottles full of water and head full of dreams and started to meander in the pebbly first path. Presumably, we had to go on broader stretches of looking like trails for about a mile or two. Then came the steepness but somehow we missed that small point where we had to go up. The great thing till then was that it was autumn which presented bright sunshine over many trees bringing out a rare smell more aromatic than a petrichor. At the same time, all four of us were at our comfort chattering about the childhood we shared.
The sheer happiness was swiftly paving way to a rough time. As we had gone ahead from where we had to start our real trek, we had detoured a long way and had used all our resources before its real need started. Asking the locals and following them, we finally got to know the real path. By dense, I mean really dense as the visibility was only about 5-10 metres. Heavy rains made slippery a common feature of the remaining trek. By the time we had consumed our resources, we still had to cover 3 hours to reach the lake. The bars of our energy and hope were really diminishing faster. The only thing which proved to have saved us was the randomness in our enthusiasm that made sure that at any time, at least one of us was optimistic. At one point we had started to follow the electric poles when the weather went complete chill and we were soaked head to toe with fresh cloudy water. Fog was substituting the dense nature of the forest when we had a chance to trek on the plains. With constant questions having “if” on every point, we somehow made to a hut. The aunt there gave us water looking like elixir and we drank the stomach out it! From there, our guest house was visible.
We were the only people on the guest house that evening welcoming the eeriness. But we were far too tired to give any reactions to ghosts. Next morning, the sunshine again came to us projecting a picturesque view of the Lake Parashar which was only at a walking distance from our guest house.