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Bernie Schmieding - Home Travel Kitesurfing Gallery Personal
Himalaya - Eagle



Finally I had to do it. I avoided hiking all my life because I thought that my legs were too skinny and I would not even be able to do it for one hour. This may have worked for me so far, but now that I am in the Himalayas it would be silly not to. So I gave it a go - and I can tell you, it was beautiful. Staying at the Everest Cafe in Dharamkot, a cozy place not far from the start to the 8km trek to Triund (2827m) I was tempted since my arrival to get a better view of the surrounding mountains. I could always see one peak but considered this not enough.

So I started with a travel companion Wednesday morning at eight o' clock after enjoying a descent muesli curd with honey. We haven't really had a plan where to go but I took the leadership and so we ended up doing the slightly longer trek. We started at the reservoir and the first stop was a temple above Dharamkot. It was still possible to drive up to this spot with a car or Rickshaw. The morning was warm and the views magnificent. We thought that it is a 2 hour walk and were a bit surprised when we reached Triund after almost four hours. On the way we saw lots of rhododendrons and other interesting trees and bushes. Crows and eagles were circling through the blue sky. On the trek up are three places were it is possible to stop and get some more water or having a snack. I drank around three liters on the way up and was knackered when we reached the top. We stopped several times and took our time as it was the first trek for both of us. I had decent shoes and my Gore-Tex jacket, which in the end was a very good jacket to keep me warm, even at night.

Prayer flags

On top the mountains were covered in clouds and the sun got out only occasionally. Adda from Israel decided to go down after a short time and I explored the grassy plateau. Shepherds with their cows and goats, a lot of dogs chasing cows, crows, eagles and a sky that changed from minute to minute. Lots to see. The night before was clear and the previous 3 days showed off with thunderstorms in the afternoon and at night. I thought that the clear sky last night was a good indication to go up and have a lot of sunshine, but unfortunately the sun disappeared around mid-afternoon and wasn't seen again. When the first drizzle came out of the sky I headed to one of the chai shops to have some lunch and a hot ginger lemon honey. Sunil (picture below) was a very good host for many of us and he cooked good and simple indian food.

Sunil in his Chai-shop

I said to myself, that I will wait until 5 and if the sun doesn't come out, I will go down (there was another guy, thinking the same) to reach Dharamkot before darkness. At fiveish it was so dark like the day before after sunset and it got very very chilli. Suddenly it started hailing and I saw myself camping here overnight. The only problem was, me without a tent, sleeping bag, etc. and an approaching storm. Sunil was a very good host for all of us. We could sleep in his hut and so we slept all on the rocky ground, wrapped in many layers of shepherd-blankets. He cooked a decent Thali for dinner and we were a big crew of eight people around one candle. Sunil was telling great stories about the Yeti, which is a big white bear that has been seen with three goats under one arm. Five different colors of jaguars and two species of bears are living in this area. They are rarely seen. When the storm calmed down and the hail stopped we lighted a small fire until getting into bed.

View from Ilaqa (Snowline)

My first night in the mountains ended the next morning at six thirty with an awesome experience. I was the first getting up and once getting out of the hut I saw these nine magnificent eagles circling right above our place. The clouds disappeared and I could feel the sunrays warming up my skin. After a chai and scrambled-eggs made in India I started to hike up further to Ilaqa (3250m), called snowline - see the picture above. Eric accompanied me. He is going to move to this part of the world after spending five years in a Buddhist monastery in the US and living seven years in Mexico. He was a very nice guy who loves to be in the nature and he is going to spend a couple of weeks in the mountains. We were going up to Ilaqua in about one and a half hour for the 3km trip. Next to the track were steep green valleys with rivers and eagles. Purple orchids were in bloom and cows and goats fed of the green meadows. One of the dogs was coming with us and lead the way. I spent a while watching the eagles at snowline and enjoying the view. The clouds were moving faster away from the peaks (4500m) and finally disappeared.


On my way back I went to one place with plenty of Buddhist prayer-flags. I was fascinated by the colorful flags as they are a nice motive for every photographer, whether in the fore- or background. So I took some images as you can see above. The eleven km downhill to Dharamkot were much faster than going up and it was a bit tough on my knees but I finally made it. The next night I was sleeping so deep, without any dreams. In the morning I looked at the mountains and felt very keen to do my next hike. A great experience I can recommend to everybody.

View India pictures.
Watch India (Ladakh) video.





Eric @ Snowline