Name: Bhrigu Lake Trek
Approx elevation: 4,100 m
Starting Point: Gulaba or Vashisht, near Manali
Since childhood I longed for camping and treks, finally, when I was 13 I went camping in Mt. Abu for the first time. No doubt that was like a booster, it increased my confidence, my esteem and it was a step towards being independent. Later I went to various adventure camps in Himalayas and Maharashtra but the Himalayas are my all-time favorite. My first camp in the Himalayas was Dalhousie and that experience made me fall in love with the Himalayas. After that year I wished to visit the Himalayas every year but my dreary routines in concrete jungles do not give that scope. Nevertheless, I managed to make a few more adventure trips to Shimla, Dharamshala before I got my first actual trekking experience which was life-changing. I waited for this trek for years as I wanted to be physically fit before I could go here. Finally, in 2017 I made up mind to go for this trek in 2018 no matter what. That energy, that motivation was so different than all other times, I started running, doing strength exercises, ate healthy and low-calorie products; and all this happened so easily that it kept me wondering is it me only?
My plan of Brighu lake trekking was long desired so I wanted to make it perfect, I started researching about trekking companies and all other requirements 2-4 months before I was planning to go. Finally, In March I made my bookings with Kailashrath as my friend shared her great trekking experience with them. Soon after that train, flight, bus, hotel for my extra two days were booked. Just these steps were also making me feel closer and closer to my destination, there was marvelous inner energy in me. When the month of June began it gave me mixed emotions as my dates to dream destination were coming closure, I felt excited, curious, as well as nervous. I was prepared for this but my biggest fear was cold, I was afraid that if I start feeling extremely cold I will not be able to go ahead in the trek and my dream will remain a dream. But every day I kept assuring myself that this was what you waited for, this is what you want to do in 2018, you can do it if you keep your will strong. Every time I said this to myself it made me stronger, it increased my confidence, and this was the time when I most appreciated the power of self-talking.
Finally, the day came and I began my journey from Ahmedabad to Brighu, it was a journey in steps, Ahmedabad to Delhi, Delhi to Patlikuhal, Patlikuhal to Rumsu (Base camp), Rumsu to Gulaba, Gulaba to Rohalikohli and finally Brighu. The day one at Rumsu was a relaxing day with some acclimatization walk and orientation for the trek to begin on the next day. We were ten people in the batch and it was a very homogeneous group in the context of age. The next day we started early morning around 5 am, it was a silent and dark morning. Jeeps dropped us till Gulaba and here onwards we had to put our steps strong to reach ahead. We started walking with our rucksacks and other trekking gears, and that started making me very much tired, I just could not walk further due to my rucksack but in no time we found a small makeshift shop where we took our first halt. Fortunately, we got a good deal of porters there who would carry our luggage further till next campsite. That was a heavenly relief and refreshed me for a further trek. It was a beautiful trek in green meadows with patches of tiny colorful flowers. The sky looked clear, the air felt fresh, the voice of wind and streams flowing were soothing to my ears while they touched my soul too, and this kept us moving ahead. The most interesting part of trekking is that it makes you tired, it drains all your physical energy but nature’s beauty never lets you stop from going further. The way we move ahead the more beauty is witnessed. It’s like our efforts are rewarded by the mesmerizing and jaw-dropping natural beauty around. After almost 5-6 hours of trekking finally, we reached our campsite at Rohlikohli. The alpine tents and makeshift toilets were already there for us. We were so tired and hungry that as soon as we reached we opened our packed lunch given from base camp and satiated our tummy. The time we reached here I was completely out of energy and had no strength in my legs to do anymore trekking while fear and self-doubt about the next day climb to Brighu wrapped me.
In a few hours it started raining and the rains in the Himalayas that too when you are in tents are too bad especially for me. But soon after the rain stopped it was slightly sunny that made me feel warm and energized. We had rested enough and so we decided to go around the campsite to explore the nature where we found a small region covered with snow, and then there was no limit to the fun we had in the snow. On the way back to our tents we go to have an interaction with few other trekkers from another group who had just returned from Brighu. Looking at them, all tired and drained to zero energy, few were not even able to walk without any support, some just looked like will faint at any time and the way they described that it was extremely difficult, there will be breathing problem at the top, and few spots are very steep gave a wave of fright to me. I started feeling that it’s impossible for me, I am not that capable and questions like what if I cannot move ahead from a point where I cannot come back, what if I feel extremely cold and cannot go ahead?, what if my dream to reach Brighu lake remains a dream? My enthusiasm to reach Brighu was going down and I was feeling very scared. But my friend kept saying that I will do it, I have come so far and now I cannot stop here, I need to go with all of them and see the Brighu Lake from my own eyes. He and our instructor Romil constantly kept giving me affirmations and motivated me for the next day. I made up mind, asked myself not to step back and assured my self that nothing will go wrong as this is what I have waited for, this is the day for which I came so far, no I cannot miss it. Abhi nai kiya to kabhi nai hoga! I had a good night’s sleep so that I can be fresh and energetic for next day.
It was a beautiful early morning, a morning like I had never seen before, an extremely calm with just a soothing voice of river flowing by our campsite. The beautiful campsite of Rohlikohli where the natural music of flowing river water silenced all other noises around felt so meditative, that I could only hear my inner voice and nothing else. I was all positive and ready for the trek to begin, we had our tea and garma garam breakfast, packed our lunch, recalled all instructions, and began to walk. After climbing the first mountain I started feeling tired, my legs were aching but I did not think of going back. I kept walking with everyone, I was feeling short of breath because of exhaustion but the camphor in my pouch helped me with it. The group members were so friendly and supported each other which is one of the reasons why this trek is special for me. As I said nature always rewards us for moving ahead, I was able to see beautiful mountain tops all with snow and now the snow was not just on faraway mountains but we were walking through snow. Wherever my eyes gazed all could see was white mountains, as if there is this only white colour in the universe. As it was a month of June, the snow had started melting hence it was more slippery and fragile. I was not able to hold my steps in the snow and there were whiteouts in between which feared me of getting slipped and lost. After lots of climbs and descends we reached our destination the Brighu Lake, and when our instructor told this I just could not believe him. He said ye dekho aa gaya Brighu, and I was like what? How? I am not even that tired and how we reached so easily? I was sure that there will come a point that I will feel so tired and I will give up by saying bas I cannot go any further but before I could feel anything like that I was already at the top. That feeling of reaching the Brighu lake was so overwhelming that I didn’t know either to cry, shout out of joy or just feel the pleasure silently within me. I choose to just calmly sit by the lake, gazed at, and silently appreciated myself for making it effortlessly and thanked God and everyone in the group as well as my parents at home, as this was not possible without everyone’s support and motivation. That was such a divine feeling which is beyond any description through words, one can only feel it by themselves. The lake at a height of 14,100 ft., the snowy mountains, and the cold breeze everything together was so heavenly that all my pain, regrets, anger, frustration vanished and all I felt was more and more positive, this time I realized the strength of my willpower and my trekking capacity was also tested.
Once we were fully content by clicking photos and enjoying the feeling of being on top we started descending. The descend was a bit difficult as the weather was getting worse and a lot of other trekkers from different groups had started climbing so there was kind of traffic at some points. The best part of descending was snow slide, it was the most thrilling experience till now. By the time we were near our campsite, it started raining and that added danger to our descend as it was getting slippery which was making extremely difficult to hold our feet on the slope. It was afternoon when we reached so that was very surprising that we made it so soon, thanks to our guide Romil. When I called my mom to tell her that I made it to Brighu, she was equally surprised as she was quite skeptical about my trekking ability. After resting for a while we were served with tea and Maggi and believe me that was the best Maggi I ever had, it was raining outside, we were in tents having hot delicious Maggi what a magical feeling it was! This was the last night of our camp so all 10 of us were awake till late playing cards and few other games. When I stepped out of the tent at night what I saw was the most memorable moment of those 4 days. The sky was full of amazingly beautiful tiny sparkling stars just like a bedsheet of stars was spread in the sky. Being from an urban region I had never seen so many stars at a time, I really wanted to capture it in my camera but that coldness did not allow me to do. I just captured that beauty through my eyes, stored in my memory, and slipped into the cozy tent for some warmness.
On the next day, with lifetime memories and a heavy heart as none of us wanted to leave that beautiful place we started descending towards Gulaba, it was a very tiring day as the descend was very steep and we had no more excitement to reach anywhere. Finally, after reaching Gulaba we were transferred to jeeps and dropped in Manali city from where we were free to go on our paths. The trek to Brighu will always stay special for me as it made me feel closer to myself, I got liberated of my negative feeling towards myself, it was not just a journey into the Himalayas but a journey within; I realized my strengths and capacities which I will always appreciate. I understood that there is no bigger happiness than fighting your fears and reaching where you wanted to. This was a lifetime experience, although I plan to do many more treks this will always stay special and closest to my soul.