Kashmir great lakes trek: At Sonamarg

12th August 2012

I never thought that I would be going for back to back treks in Himalayas!! Having never done any serious trekking in Himalayas (Expect for the short ones at Yamunothri and Kedarnath), the sudden splurge on Himalayas was surprising.Lot of people thought that I was insane and crazy. Even sometimes I was thinking so!!

While the trip to Manasa Sarovar was the result of long cherished dream and extensive planning, the trek to Kashmir was completely in contrast. It was during our “Kaveri river trek” that I, Subbu and Srikanth decided on this trek.  All that I was looking was for a way to spend the long weekend during August.  I had no ideas about this trek but the word “Kashmir” itself was convincing. Within couple of days Aishwarya, Naveen and Sharath joined us.

What is this trek?
As the name suggests, this trek is about some of the most beautiful lakes nested in the higher reaches of Kashmir region of Himalayas. It starts from Sonamarg, which is at the base of Zozila and goes though Kishansar, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar, Gangabal and Nundkol lakes not to mention about few unknown lakes that dot the beautiful landscape. The route ends at the village of Naranag. Beauty of the trek is that you will never walk on the same path twice!!

Deviation to the base camp at Sonamarg

Day 1
We were the first ones to reach the basecamp at Sonamarg.  It was an exhilarating experience to see the camp next to the pristine Indus River.

We spent some time photo shooting the meadows near the camp. Other team members had arrived by the time we came back. We spent time in getting to know each other.

A large glacier seen from the camp. I had to use a zoom lens to get a closer shot.

Day 2
Today is the starting day of the trek. As the sun rose, our spirits were high.

Initial climb from the basecamp.

It was a continuous climb on the meadows.

As we climbed higher, Sonamarg and Baltal was visible.

A lone tree that has passed its prime.

After steep climb of two and a half hours, we reached the top of the meadow. It was a plain land with some huts.

The difference in speed between the first group and the last was enormous. Hence we had to wait for nearly an hour before everyone reached the place.

The trek was then downhill passing through forests which finally led us to the base of the valley.

This was Nichnai stream and the rest of the day’s trek was along the stream.

It was a gradual ascent on the left side of the stream. Looks easy but it was the most difficult part of the day. We were already tired and hungry and looking for a place to rest and relax.

Few ice patches were still left on the river.

Finally, we reached the campsite at 2PM. It was taken us about 6 hours from Sonamarg. The altimeter showed 11,000 ft.

Nichnai stream was next to our camp site. On the other side was a waterfall.

Unfortunately, the ponies carrying our food and tents had not arrived. So we had to wait for some time before everyone and everything turned up!!

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