Kareri Chronicles : Kareri Lake trek, Dharamsala – For beginners

HELLO HELLO HELLO!

I know it’s been AGES since I last updated my blog, and I also apologize for being very ignorant with replying to comments too, but this post is my way of saying that I’m back and I won’t be missing in action again!

Now that this mandatory and much-needed apology is out of the way, let’s skip to the topic I’ve been dying to discuss! My very recent trek to Kareri Lake in Dharamsala!

Mornings like these 🙂

I want to start by saying that this was the first trek I’ve done in the last 2 years (third trek overall – after the Living Root Bridges & Triund). Now, you might wonder why I am emphasizing so much on my inexperience as a trekker. That’s because if there is anyone out there who is keen on taking this trek, but feels demotivated because it sounds difficult / taxing, don’t give it a second thought and just go for it. Like I always say – if a tiny, petite girl like me can do it, so can you, and lucky for us, so did some of my friends from Bombay & Chandigarh (some had never been on a trek before)

 

The happy Kareri crew!

 

Having said that, yes – the trek is taxing (if not difficult), mainly because the terrain is quite rough and wild including a lot of heavy climbing (STEPS!!!) for a very steep part of the way. If I am being honest, I did try to turn around and return once during the trek, but like all the best tour guides out there, mine too did not let me give up, and I willingly agreed to fall for the “just a little more” trap laid out before me. Was  it worth it? Why don’t you take a look at the pictures and decide for yourself 🙂

All pictures in this post have been shot using Google Pixel XL 2! It’s the first time I traveled without a DSLR, and I swear, I did not miss it for a second!

You will find the details of the trek (relevant contacts, itinerary etc) below the pictures.

Views enroute the scenic drive to Kareri Village

 

I swear I could’ve stayed back at the village and not regretted it at all! Such a beautiful place 🙂

 

Touchdown: Kareri Village, Dharamsala

 

My room with a view on the first night in Kareri village

 

And we’re ready to go!

 

Scenes from the start of the trek!

 

Still on the road to the trail. I have a thing for tree canopies <3

 

The first dhaba you encounter on the trail, right next to a beautiful stream. You can also get in touch with the dhaba owner for paid assistance for the trek (guide / tents/ food etc).
If treks did not have steps, I’d go for one everyday!

 

Shameless Wildcraft plug cuz free shoes!

 

Gorgeous ancient tree on the trail. I fell in love with this one! Look at the roots.

 

Manan of the Jungle 😉 Isn’t this tree just marvelous? We all took turns to climb this one.

 

Monkey’ing around! That’s our tour guide Amit, who is also a bouldering enthusiast.

 

Mera Highway wala ghar <3

 

When you can finally see your destination after 5 hrs of trekking. First view of the site.

 

Pic after trek fateh toh banta hai, boss! With Latha and Manan <3

 

First view: Panorama of the lake!

 

Panorama – Part 2! (With Arjun spoiling it)

 

Abhi captured this beautiful moment on our return from the lake. In the picture – me, Arjun and Manan 🙂 Picture credits: Abhinav Chandel

 

DETAILS:

Trek level: Beginners
Start from: Kareri Village, Dharamsala (1.5 hours from Dharamsala main market)
Trek duration: 5-6 hours (Going up) 4-5 hours (Coming down)
Brief Itinerary:
Day 1 (suggested, can be done without this too):  Instead of traveling to Kareri early in the morning and starting the trek immediately, we chose to reach Kareri village a day early, and stayed at a village homestay for the night. The homestay had 3 rooms, and we were 9 people, so Arjun and I ended up setting a tent in the verandah for ourselves. This (in my opinion) turned out to be a good prep for the camping we had to do the next day.

Day 2: Wake up at the crack of dawn to see a very beautiful sunrise right outside our tents. If I can be honest, with Arjun snoring next to me, and Abhinav and Stuart snoring from the rooms behind me, I hardly caught a peaceful shut-eye throughout the night, and so the idea of it becoming brighter outside really came as a welcome escape for me. While everyone started segregating their essentials into trail backpacks and night bags (to be loaded on the khachchars), our house hosts busied themselves in preparing our breakfasts, enabling us to to start the trek on the right note! We left our homestay at approximately 8 am, and reached the lake at 1 PM. Whatever happened in-between can be seen in the pictures below.

Day 3: Another early start and this time we divided our group into two – 1) the ones who wanted to stick back and do some photography and 2) the ones who wanted to reach the toilet first! I was in the first group, and on leaving around 11 AM, we reached the village at 4 PM. It shouldn’t ideally take this long, but this was partially my fault, as I wandered off on the wrong path and that was an easy 1 hour penalty. I also tend to stop a lot on the way, talking to trees and soaking in the views, as opposed to most friends who can just run back to the destination.

If you need a tour operator to organize your trek (relieves you of the tension of carrying your own tents, food etc), you can contact Amit: 85797 20373

We were a group of 9 people, and we each Rs. 3,000 per person – this included the cab pickup and drop (ex-Dharamsala), the dinner + accommodation at the village, breakfast, trail food, and dinner the next day, and a simple breakfast on day 3, payment for the animals, tents & sleeping bags.

Trying to soak it all in!
Picture Credits: Fatima Sana Shaikh

City girl in the mountains!

If you’ve read my older posts you will know, I’m a girl from Mumbai who has always dreamed of living in the mountains, like every other city girl! After years of dreaming and feeling absolutely jealous of the people who made it happen, I finally took the great leap of faith and have moved to Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh!

I chose the wonderful city of McLeod Ganj as my soulmate because this is where it all started. Exactly this time, last year, I took my first ever solo trip to McLeod Ganj, and have ever since been so fascinated by the owerpowering grandeur of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges that I never really felt at home when I returned to Mumbai. Moving back here now feels like a completion of my karmic circle, and though the thought of living alone in a strange city seems daunting at times, I’m confident this move will lead me towards a harmonious union with myself, with my self mandala!

This morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn to the sounds of chirping birds! I stepped into the balcony to this gorgeous view of the sun peeping out of the mountains. It took me back to the days of primary school, where our drawing class assignments would include “A Scenery”, and like most kids with not a single bone of creativity in their body, I always chose to draw the simple mountains, with half the sun peeping between the peaks colored yellowish orange, and straight rays like cat whiskers colored yellow, a tree on the right corner of the page, and a small slope-roofed hut on the left corner with a ugly looking stick figure standing next to his humble abode. I couldn’t have imagined it then, but today staring at this incredible sunrise, I realized how lucky I am to witness the sight of my childhood imagination in flesh!

Sunrise and the Dhauladhar ranges!
Sunrise and the Dhauladhar ranges!

 

Here’s to a new life in the mountains, I hope to take you through my journey through regular pics and blogposts! Stay with me 🙂