We had been under the weather due to drastic climate changes. It seems as if the gloom descended from the skies. It shouldn't beat us why this is happening. The protracted dry spell is the outrageous outcome of our wrong behaviours, playing foul with the nature. It is eventually going to cost us big and result in the deepening crises. The grim scenario is going to affect every walk of life and livelihood of millions. Our ecology, agriculture and tourism cannot be spared of the insidious impact of underlying factors. It's painful to witness such a sad state of affairs and sombre scenes.
After the hard fought battle of Covid-19, we had been luckiest to have survived the toughest times. We didn't have to bear its brunt unlike others. Notably, Kashmir became haven for tourists which led to an unprecedented surge in footfall. It became an opportune time for tour operators and other stake holders to capitalize on the opportunity. There was a windfall in earnings as well in eminence due to the tourism bloom in the valley. There seemed no looking back. Infrastructure expansions & exhibitions for promoting tourism in Kashmir are in full swing but snowless winter of 2024 has almost led everything to a grinding halt and casting a dark shadow over the future prospects.
The obnoxious dry spell has made it daunting task for all of us to navigate our very own complacency and climatic complexities. The unplanned urbanization, enormous emission of harmful gases, dreadful deforestation are the few man made creations those are creating havoc. Can we justify and glorify the rapid progresses we are making at the cost of Nature. Calamities and dire consequences are going to hover over unless we mend our ways. We learn our lessons. We seek refuge in the the infinite mercies of Almighty to bring end to these discomfiting trends and tensions.
In the ravishing & rugged realms of Nature, 'We' are rigorously tested & 'Souls' richly nourished to discover and transform us into calmer, wiser, resilient and responsible human beings". Seriously and sincerely, if we are determined to play our role, the different elements of Nature will eventually find their right course. We have to have step into right direction and fix our responsibilities.
The nature/adventure lovers are the right people who can understand & judge what it means when there is a quick receding of glaciers. When the gurgling of meandering streams vanishs in thin air. When deforestation becomes order of the day. When there will be no more snow covered winter wonderlands. The naked landscapes are staring at us and stirring up the qualms of our conscience to reflect on our wrongdoings. Deep down our heart- there is still a hope. Hope for mercy. Hope for better tomorrow. Hope for the swathes of snowfall. Hope to see HIS scenic marvels which we would never stop to explore.
Keeping that firmly in mind we embraced the unknown and embarked on yet another remarkable journey to the mesmerizing meadow of Rainuer located at an elevation of 3240 Mts in the vast and varied landscape of Hirapora Shopian. This bewitching meadow is famously known as Switzerland of Kashmir. It is the 2nd largest meadow after Tosamaidan. It was a collaboration trek between 'Badamwari Athletes' and All Jammu Kashmir Mountaineering Foundation (AJKMF). The enthusiastic trekkers from different parts of the valley participated in this trek. They were eagerly waiting for it to seek a refuge from the rarely seen and felt winter worries.
In a crispy cold morning of 14th January 2024, we started the trek at around 10.AM. We took a steep route from Pattan Dubjan and traversed through dense forest of Maandi. We had a tea break at Rainuer Base where we cherished ample time and shared countless past memories. The elevation gain was 1052 m. The best part of this trek was that we witnessed swathes of snow covered slopes. It was out of the world experience. The Mighty Kolohai Peak, Harmukh Peak, Brahmasakli were looking very profound and conspicuous. The scintillating Topi peak was just a half an hour trek far away wherein at its adjacent lies serene Sunder Top. The route to Dakhyar Shopian can be also taken from here. It was icing on the cake to see & feel the snow as the harshest day spell has even rendered the world famous Gulmarg snowless and ski-less destination.
Another highlight of the day was snowboarding by Syed Yawar Abass who took pains to teach others and let them enjoy the real thrill. We had our time on the glittering steep slopes. The panoramic view of the snow covered peaks and meadows gave a heavenly feel to see such grandeur and glory of Nature. We captured these lifetime memories in pictures and videos. We had a snow slides and sumptuous lunch to make our day even more memorable and meaningful.
With a heavy heart, we left this piece of paradise and took the risky route of Kaandi. Although we walked very gingerly, otherwise the frozen stream and frozen sidelines could never be trusted. The slippery surfaces are highly accident prone areas.The lessons we learnt after few members hit a patch of ice and went into a skid, are - never take a risk which can put your life at stake or the damage of injury is irreparable.
Always prefer to wear helmets. Use ropes and crampons. Don't be in a hurry and negotiate icy patches or places with utmost care and cooperation of others. Always take safest route even if it's lengthy one. The well spent and great learning day with around 10 Kms to and fro trek distance came to an end on a very high note at Gonaed where all the participants returned safely.
The writer is founding member of 'Badamwari Atheletes'.