There are days when you are surrounded by so much beauty that you feel privileged, blessed even, to witness it. You walk with a spring in your step, a big grin on your face and the world just feels right again. It is like being in love, maybe even better, because you have none of that ‘delicious torment’ (to quote Emerson) that comes with it. 

This was one of those days.

I had just started trekking that day. Alone as usual, hoping to make up for time lost the previous day when i had to stop early due to rains. The valley was narrow where i camped and the raging Pare Chu river below me was a menacing reminder of what was in store for me that day. Another uncomfortable river crossing to get to the base camp of the Parang La pass.

I was brooding about all this when suddenly the valley opened up and i had this incredible view of snow capped mountains all around me. The sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue (it was overcast and grey the last couple of days), the mountains looked inviting and the river looked much less menacing, now that it was flowing down the wide valley divided into numerous small channels.

My spirits rose. The weather, the mountains, the greenery, everything seemed to conspire together to gift me a perfect day and i dared not refuse it. So i just stopped for the day, barely 2 hours after starting and just basked in the glory of what was around me.

I dropped off my backpack by a stream and spent the next few hours exploring the surroundings. I dipped my feet in the Pare Chu river, walked up to the nearby terraced meadows, climbed a few scree slopes, searched for Bharals & Snow Leopards (my favorite past-time), plotted routes up the nearby peaks and wondered what new wonders the side valleys held. I felt like a kid again. Light and free of all the burdens that we adults carry around with us all the time.

This was as perfect as a day could possibly get, trekking in the mountains and i had it all to myself.

People ask me why I trek alone. Is it not difficult, tiring, scary, dangerous even to trek alone? Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.

There are so many reasons not to trek alone but it is days like this that make it all worth while.

To have this freedom. To be unhurried. To decide at 9:30 in the morning that you’ve had enough for the day and that you don’t want to go any further. To not be bothered by the fact that a 6-day trek is turning into a 8 maybe even a 9 day trek. To just be. And to do whatever i feel like in the moment.