Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trekking in Kashmir: Day 7

Shokhdari (Table Top), near Sonamarg.
To read about our Day 6 adventures, click here.

On the 7th and last day of our trek, we relaxed in Shokhdari, before heading out to Sonamarg to be picked up by our car - for the drive back to Srinagar.

I went near the edge of Shokhdari, which provides a panoramic view of Sonamarg. The morning was misty and cloudy and I couldn't get any good pictures of Sonamarg from this vantage point.

View of Sonamarg as seen from Shokhdari.
Ever since we started our trek, this was the first morning where I was not greeted by blue skies and puffy clouds. Pictures that look like postcards was not going to happen today.

Sonamarg Mountain range covered in dark clouds.
The imposing Sonamarg mountain range peeping through the morning clouds.
Strangely enough, when I looked towards the north (the mountains which we had scaled the earlier days), the sky was the familiar blue with white clouds. I felt like heading back towards the mountains.

View from Shokhdari - North.
Shokhdari Forest.
We eventually packed our bags and started our trek towards Sonamarg. I estimated that it would take us around 2 hours to reach our destination. After 7 days in the mountains, I had become pretty good at estimating time required to ascend or descend a mountain!.

Getting ready to start the final leg of the trek.
Heading down towards a misty Sonamarg.
The weather up in the mountains looks its usual brilliant self.
The going downhill was very easy, but we still took frequent breaks to enjoy what would be our last day in the mountains.

Relaxing on the way down from Shokhdari to Sonamarg.
An elderly shepherd passing by.
Just as I had estimated, we reached Sonamarg after about 2 hours of trekking.

Sonamarg is a busy little place at this time of the year. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims flock to this town to start their pilgrimage to the Amarnath Temple - a holy place for Hindus.

Waiting for our car at Sonamarg. My brother seems sad to have left the mountains.
As we waited for our car to arrive at the pick-up point, we could not help but look back at the mountains that we had scaled over the last 1 week, the hardships we had gone through, and the tiredness we were feeling right now.

But there was no doubt in my mind that we would be soon visiting these magnificent mountains in the very near future.

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