Prashar Lake - My first snow trek

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June 23rd 2015
Published: June 25th 2015
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This was one of those random treks which just happened thanks to SpiceJet 😊

One day few of us noticed that SpiceJet was offering pretty good discounts on flight tickets to Delhi. We just booked it during the Republic Day weekend as we would be getting 3 days of holidays together. Apart from Vivek and Aayush (my usual trek partners), Yash decided to join this time. The plan initially was to go to Vaishno Devi when Aayush suggested this trek of 2 days duration. We anyway had Roopkund on our radar for the year and thought this would be a great as a mini Roopkund-ish trek. So it was decided that we shall conquer Prashar and in the process test our trekking skills in a cold climate.

We reached Delhi one day early and roamed around the Red Fort in the morning. It being very close to Republic day, the roads were closed at various places and was swamped by people. We decided to give the famous Paratha Gali a try where we tried various weird flavours (Cashew, almond, Khoa). They seemed to be ok but our main complaint was that the parathas were fried. Not very impressed with the Parathas we tried the Kachoris which proved to be much better. The Kachoris brought tears in our eyes (Na we were not so moved by food, it was spicy but still pretty tasty). With our stomachs full, we went to Lodi Gardens to laze around. It was a really peaceful, beautifully maintained garden with some architecture dating back to the Lodi dynasty. It was a great place for photography with abundant flora and fauna (squirrels, birds) though as with most gardens in the afternoon it had its share of PDA. I got a lot of good photographs (strictly us and wildlife, C'mon I am not a guy to invade others privacy) including one filmy pic of Vivek and Aayush running through a flock of pigeons. By evening, we went to a market to buy some stuff where Aaysuh took aeons to decide which Wildcraft jacket to buy (pretty sure Yash would have bought it faster). All the shopping done, we proceeded to board the bus to Mandi after our dinner. Vivek met his classmate in our bus and in an instant had forgotten that the rest of us even existed. He ditched our seats and went to occupy the back seats and spend quality time with his friend (A friend in need indeed).

The next morning we reached Mandi by around 0430 hrs when we truly realized how cold cold can be. We wore our jackets, gloves and went in an auto to a diner which we were supposed to gather. We met the IndiaHikes team there along with the rest of our group and had our breakfast. Among them were Aayush's flatmate, Hitesh, his brother, Subhash, his wife, Sneha, her brother, Pratik and Anurag (Now that's what you call a network). Because of such a huge group, this became one of those treks where we did not interact much with the rest of the group. We were then asked to board a mini-van to Baggi. On the way, we got to see some beautiful landscapes of which I particularly loved the one where we saw the clouds forming a layer below us over a valley and covering it. We reached Baggi when our trek lead, Shankaran gave us the instructions for the trek along with microspikes and gators for protection from snow.

The trek started off from a rocky terrain with a very small stream nearby. We were also joined by a young local guide. The ascent was a bit steep but pretty easy overall and we took our time taking photographs all the way up. We initially moved through a dense forest area where there were a lot of shrubs and a mix of alpine and deciduous trees. The sun shone brightly but we had shade thanks to the canopy formed by the thick cover of trees. As we went up, we started finding traces of snow in between the path. Out came the microspikes and gators at the point where our path was completely snow. This being my first trek in snow, I enjoyed walking on snow a lot (not that much without microspikes). It actually feels pretty werid when you wear the microspikes after walking on the snow without it. You would be slipping consistently, struggling to gain control and moving like a snail but with microspikes on, you suddenly become "The Flash" on snow. You get such a good grip on the soft snow that you can easily run, slide and play on it. We continued further with our newly found enthusiasm for snow trek and witnessed some extraordinarily scenic views. The crystal blue sky with the lush green trees on the copper brown mountains capped with milky white snow formed a picturesque view. We waded through the snow and finally reached our guest house where we were supposed to spend the night. We quickly ate our lunch, cleaned our vessels with snow (yes, you read that right) and got ready to go to visit the frozen Prashar Lake. We all felt the reduction of temperate at the top but Yash felt it a bit too much and decided to stay warm indoors rather than chill out at the lake.

It was about a km walk to the lake and with the fresh snow, every step kept going in deeper into the snow (a bit lower than our knees). The lake was one of its kind, with a Monastery beside it. It was completely frozen and with the monastery on the side and peaks behind, a sight to behold. We spent some time there enjoying the scenery and taking photographs. We also had maggi at a shack near the monastery. As the sun began to fade, we set back to our guest house and by the time we reached it, it was completely pitch dark. Once in, we tried to warm ourselves as the temperature had dipped further and got ready for our dinner. Shankaran shared with us some of his experiences and some gyan on treks of which I felt how to pack for treks was pretty useful. It was also Vivek's birthday and he got his share of birthday bumps from our group. We made an snow/ice cake for him and after the celebrations he and Anurag were in pretty high spirits. So high that they listened to 1970s music loudly and sang along with it which kept us up for a while. But with the cold, we somehow managed to sleep even with all the noise.

The next morning, we were woken up (lots and lots of times) by Sneha's alarm (which she did not realize was hers). By the time we all got ready, the sun was up with all its splendour. We again marveled at the view and got our group photo before starting our trek down. The trek down was much simpler and quicker. We stopped near a house where few of us tried to jump from its roof with random poses. Anurag excelled at that and got some great pics. We slowly chatted our way down with Vivek playing music in his long lasting Nokia mobile. We reached down, spent time at Baggi waiting for everyone, had lunch and then left back to Mandi. On reaching back, we bid farewell to the rest of the group. Aayush and his gang (the same network of people) had plans of going to Kasol. Vivek was faced with a dilemma as to whether join them or come back with us (he had booked his ticket back to Hyderabad). He tried a lot to postpone his ticket but was having issues in doing so because of which the rest of the gang left to Kasol. While we were having our dinner at Mandi, he was successful in postponing his ticket and thus, immediately left to Kasol ditching me and Yash yet again (Twice in the same trip).

I and Yash caught the bus back to Delhi and reached there the next day. We spent some time with Yash's friend who was very welcoming. Our flight was in the evening and to avoid going shopping with Yash, I was trying to advance our flights which to my surprise worked. The flight got advanced to the afternoon which we caught and returned to Hyderabad thus, ending this short but eventful trek. Yash decided that this was going to be his first and last trekking experience (he preferred eating and shopping in metros to trekking at serene heavenly locations).

This was in general a pretty easy trek where you get to see greenery, beautiful landscapes, snow, forest, snow capped mountains in a very short period of time. It is perfect as a training experience for Roopkund or any other such high altitude treks and it lasting for just 2 days is a very economic getaway for a weekend. As I already mentioned, we went in January and the weather was great (by great I mean great for the snow to be available and to trek combined). You would need thermals and jackets for the night with temperatures around 0 degrees or less. Only downside was that being such a big group, we didn't really get to know each other well after trekking most of the time for 2 days (compared to other treks). Do go there at least once as it is sure to leave you impressed with its fascinating landscapes.

Additional photos below
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11th July 2018

Simply magnificent!! The photos are amazing and goes well with your blog. Everest Base Camp Trekking

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