We took an early start from the the beautiful lake Saif-ul-Malook, where we camped overnight..We left the lake around 8- 8:30 am (well may be not that early a start)…I had heard the trek is about 5 hours long… for some reason, it had skipped my mind that 5 hours trek would mean 10 hours in total going back and forth…. And guess what I was not even mentally and physically prepared for a 5 hours steep trek… :p
Nonetheless I was fresh and excited… taking my energy from the beauty that surrounded me on each side. The lake, the mountains, the beautiful blue sky and the sun.
The first two photographs are of lake Saif-ul-Malook. The next two are the sceneries that one viewed as they trekked to the base camp… This was an easy trek, not steep at all..mostly walking on irregular surface, of rocks, snow/ ice, water streams, and easy glaciers etc. I was looking around the whole time and marveling at wonderful nature that I came across during the trek to base camp that lasted about 2 to 2 and a half hours.
The real trek started after this point, after only the first 10 minutes of which I began to get tired. But never mind, some biscuits, energy bars, and a sip of water every now and then worked well for me.
Right after the base camp, we had to climb a mountain, that was green from places and rocky from others…there was some land slide going on there too that had small rocks falling… Anyway, the initial climb was very steep and we had to very carefully step on small rocks, so they don,t slide from beneath our feet…after some half an hour , we reached a point from where on there was proper muddy track that we followed for about an hour… Photograph 5 and 6 are from this particular part of the trek.
After this I had to climb very steep green areas for about 15 to 20 minutes, or may be even less, but each 5 secs of this short span was hurting my feet. I was gasping for breath now… We did take short breaks, but it was getting cold… And there came a point after climbing where all that I saw ahead was snowy mountains. The seventh photograph shows this point.
Now there was this very gradual descent on the snow that took about forty minutes … at the end of which was a very steep snowy slippery mountain that we had to climb, which one can see on the left of that same photograph, not immediate left, but after going straight ahead, then left. This ascend took about an hour or may be more.
But now even the very thought of taking only half a step forward was killing me.. The guide had been fooling us for a long time telling us half an more to go, each time we asked him.
The group-members ahead of us, were way ahead, I could see them (ant-size) on the last ascend, when I myself and another fellow were on the second last. While the ones who were following us couldnt be seen anywhere in the horizon. We assumed they had taken the decision to not go further. That made me and my friend pretty much the last two people in line… which by the way is very demoralizing at a point when you want to go ahead but you can not erase the distance between you and the next ones in line even if you put in all efforts.
With my feet aching, my legs heavy, breath not siding with me, and my energy dying, I looked ahead from where I stood, I estimated I had to walk straight for about 45 minutes, and then came the final ascend which was steep as a wall, and then deep inside I was just praying somebody tells me to stop right here, “I’ll take rest here while the rest of them reached ansu lake and back”. But there was only snow there, I couldnt sit anywhere and fall sick.
About Ansu lake by the way… Ansu (an urdu word) means tear-drop; its given this name because of its shape, as can be seen in photograph #8. It was half frozen by this time of the year. They say by late july, august/September, the trek is not snowy, and the lake does not look this frozen. You can only see aansu lake from above the last peak, you can not descend to go near the lake, there is no way you can climb back up, there is no route.
The trek back to saif-ul-malook, on the snow was full of fun and adventure. sliding down those steeeeeep ones gave all the energy I needed to go those 4-5 hours back.
Crossing the freezing cold waters on the way back was also fun. It felt I am going to flow away with the water too, with my feet numb and frozen the second I put them in the glacial water. (photograph 11).
Finally after hours and hours of walking, we reached back to lake saif-ul-malook… had dinner and dried our clothes at the bonfire, and slept in partly-cozy-partly-cold camp..