Story By: Ujjwal Silwal
Destination: Way to Dhumba Lake, Jomsom (Annapurna Circuit Trek)
It was like a scene from some movie or we felt it that way because it was so distant from reality. I, along with two of my friends, after reaching Jomsom, decided to climb to Dhumba Lake. We were on our way to Muktinath and had reached Jomsom on the third day of our trip. We were so excited to be in the mountains, see them up close and were filled with fervor and immense zeal that we could not simply stay in our hotels for the remaining part of the day. It is then we found out about the lake after inquiring the locals if there were any side trips we could go. Despite the fact that we did not have any maps with us and only knew it’s whereabouts as per the description given to us by the locals, we were eager to follow the call of the mountain and tread our souls to the playground of mother nature (Maybe it was not that poetic when we started the trip but we were truly excited).
We reached a small village on a nearby hill above Jomsom after walking for a couple of hours and we could see the snow, and not only see but touch it and feel it (Well, you see I had never played with snow all my life and neither did my friends). We could not contain our excitement and jumped and cried at its sight. We fooled around for some good time (we had forgotten all about the lake by now).
Later, we realized that it was getting dark and knew we had to descend lest we would be in trouble. We thought there must be a shorter route back so we entered the village we had crossed earlier to enquire about the way. But, the village was strange! We could not see a single being there and all the doors and windows were closed. Suddenly, a man appeared out of nowhere on a horse with a crossbow on his arm. We were so darn scared and curious all at the same time. Just as the man galloped out of nowhere, the windows and doors started to open and people peeked out from those openings. We thought this is how it must have been in movies. But, we had to make it to our hotel before dark and so my friend conjured up all the courage he had and asked one of the persons from that village about the way back (He was a real human and not some figment of our imagination, we found out). He told us the way back and how we needed to be careful since it was a confusing trail back to Jomsom and we could get lost. He also offered to send a guide with us all the way down but we were kind of paranoid about the whole rendezvous with the villagers that we turned down his offer. We were rushing downhill as the last shimmer of sunlight was fading away. We could not find the way back and lost the trail and were jumping terrain to terrain. One of my friends was cursing and shouting at us, telling how he would never go on a trek with us ever! (It is really funny to think of it now as we went to many treks together after that). Finally, we reached a place where the landmarks were familiar and breathed a sigh of relief. It was one of the most memorable times of my life as there the mountains were shining brighter than the moon in the sky and even our legs were tired, our souls were soaring high up along the mountain breeze. It then took us an hour to reach our hotel and the hour hands of the clock had pointed to 11. Although we could not reach Dhumba lake that day, we made to our happy place!
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