“The adventure is not in getting somewhere, it’s the on-the-way experience. It is not the expected: it’s the surprise.” ~ Ruskin Bond.
Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities and most probably I got inspired by reading Ruskin Bond’s beautiful anecdotes of his life in the mountains; the visually inspiring descriptions of pretty walks in the valleys, hikes in the mountains, flowers and trees. So when I was in Tirthan valley on a long weekend getaway at Tirthan Anglers’ Retreat (in Himachal Pradesh, India), hiking in the villages was my choice of activity. While most of my fellow travelers in the group took a day tour to Jalori Pass, I went off on a leisurely hike with Tirthan resident & travel blogger Medhavi.
It was almost noon when we started off, because of a heavy rain that kept us indoors from morning (in a way it was good as the weather post noon, for a hike became quite pleasant even if the ground was but slippery). We walked up from our Resort to the main road and started walking in one direction, not particularly going anywhere, but rather my friend was interested to go up till a wooden bridge she had noticed the previous day. The rains had increased the river Phalachan’s flow and we could see & hear the roaring sounds of the river as it rushed past on the wooden bridge. While we crossed the bridge, we spotted another bridge a few meters away. Curious, we crossed that too.
Now what lay before was lust greenery, delicate ferns, towering alpine trees and wild variety of flora in between. There was a small muddy path leading upwards and we decided to walk up as much as we felt like. My friend has an interest in birds and I have an interest in plants, so it made for an interesting hike as we kept stopping to take photos of a bird or a plant or flower.
After an hour of hiking, we were joined by some villagers who were walking up to their village Shil (on google search it showed up as Shilin) and offered to take us there. We were not too sure about hiking all the way up as it was already late afternoon but told them we would walk up as much as possible.
It was interesting conversation with the village ladies and we were able to walk up to the first hut of the village. We were super thirsty (having not thought of bringing water along as this was unplanned hike) and the residents offered us some. It was heavenly to drink the mountain water!
We chit chatted with the ladies, who were very curious about the DSLR cameras we were carrying. Referenced and energized by the mountain water, it was time to head back.
It was a much shorter hike downwards to the wooden bridge and back to our resort. We were famished and ready for a huge meal!!
The memory of the sights and sounds of this beautiful day hiking will be a constant balm for those stressful city moments when I feel under the weather or completely down & out.