The descent from the Dzukou Valley.


“Mohit, I don’t think I can trek back to our campsite today” I told him the next morning, when he came outside the dorm where I was already sitting for the past 1 hour. It was 6:30 in the morning and the valley had a thin layer of frost over it; it felt as if the cold night had silently made love to it when all of us were busy sleeping. The sun was rising and the layer of frost was melting. I was watching the whole process snuggled up in a blanket with a cup of the famous north-eastern lal chai in my hand.

At 6:30 in the morning
The meadows when the sun was rising

When the cold winter night was silently making love to the meadows, I was hoping that winter night died while I lay cold feet in my dorm. The 8 of us were huddled up together so that the warmth of everyone would help us sleep better. I was up all night in my blanket wondering about how amazing the sun is and how the sun should be there with us for 24 hours.  I was just not able to think rationally.

The lal chai was cold now and the dogs of the dorm were also awake! We all lay around in the field with our biscuits and chai to soak in the sun. Sunbathing in mountains surely seems more calming than beaches. Soon, Mohit asked us if we wanted to hike down and see what more this valley had. I readily agreed, regretting it as soon as we started walking.

My feet were wobbly and my head was not clear, I was breathing heavy and my stomach was burning, that clearly was not a good state for me to trek back.

“Mohit, I don’t think I can trek back to our campsite today”  I told him this explaining the reasons. I was afraid I might slip, lose balance and get terribly sick again! I felt weak. Everybody else wanted to go back to the campsite and surely for one person we couldn’t stop. I did not really have an option but to descent back down.

After resting for 1 hour and eating something, we started our trek. I was still afraid. For the first 30 minutes I wanted to tell Mohit to go back but for some reason I was not able to. We all rested again, I ate something and drank water. The descent was easy than I thought it would be, and soon I was less fearful, the colours of the leaves started making me excited again! I was enjoying the forest and the freshness of it.

After about an hour, my knees started paining,  I then realised that the speed and the wrong technique had caused a jerk in my knees. That did not really bother me though; I wore the knee caps and started descending yet again. I did reduce my speed to be more careful and thus soon I was all alone. The best thing about trekking is that you get a great chance to spend quality time with yourself. I remember telling myself how I was proud of myself. I was fearful of the way the month old sickness had taken a toll on my physical health. But these 2 days just proved how my mental strength was important and that I was strong to handle such challenges. Suddenly I was enjoying the trek even more! I took out my earplugs from my bag and was singing loudly, enjoying myself and the freedom. All those self doubts had ended and I was finally feeling happy about whatever I am. (YOU CAN READ ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE OF THE SICKNESS AND STRUGGLES HERE)

The trek ended, we returned to our campsite and that night I slept peacefully dreaming about the next trip and challenges ahead.


P.S. – A big thank you to insanetraveller.com and trekmunk.com for making this backpacking to Nagaland possible!



Manasvi Shah

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