Thursday, August 21, 2014

.. Mountain Love...

I am sure that most of you know that I am still battling with my mountain hangover.
I guess this post is just going to be about my love for the mountains and will be long.. 

The last weekend was slightly longer with four days. It was a good enough temptation to head out and travel.
After much deliberation, discussion and research we settled for Coorg. As luck would have it we didn't get any bookings. We kept hunting for places and it felt as if the whole world was out there planning for vacations. Finally we zeroed in on Ranikhet. I have been to many places in Kumaon (Where I belong) and somehow always missed Ranikhet by a whisker. I was quite excited.

We left early morning and the weather just fine. The Sun was nice, bright and shiny and the moment we entered in Uttranchal we were greeted with mist.
Uttranchal Border
The weather just changed 180 degrees from then on. It started raining heavily. We were just in time to cross certain areas. 2 hours later those areas were blocked because of heavy rainfall leading to floods.

There is something about returning to your roots. We all love to travel and the experience is overwhelming but there is something about going back to your roots. The feeling that I am carrying some part of it in my DNA was different. Just Different. In that moment I realized that there is something different between me and the other tourists on those roads (Non Kumaoni). That feeling was divine. There was a sense of belonging. There was a sense of pride every time I looked at the spell binding views of Himalayas. There was a sense of excitement every time I looked at the impatient rivers. It was all beautiful and it was my moment!

We reached Ranikhet and it was beautiful weather. It rained constantly and it was just beautiful. Mist all over, flowers, old British bungalows. We stayed in the most beautiful place ever. I screamed in joy after looking at the fireplace. It was a beautiful cottage situated slightly higher (elevation) in Ranikhet.
Doesn't it look comfortable?

Ever since I started running seriously I harbored this secret ambition of running in the hills. I couldn't manage it in my previous trips. This time it was different and I had a strong feeling. Very promptly I packed my shoes.
The next day I headed out for a run. Uphill - Killed me. The weather couldn't have been better. Sun shining through the huge and mighty Pine and Oak trees.
It was one of those times where nature truly humbles you and 5 kms feel like 10kms..

The fellow tourist looked at me with amusement. To be honest I wasn't sure who was more amused them or me?

At least, I managed to strike off one item from my bucket list for this year.
Beautiful Tall Trees
My moment - After a deadly run

We went around sight seeing and the atmosphere was just terrific. Everything was looking fresh and shiny - after effects of a good rain. The food was great and the evenings were terrific with an odd brandy here and there and lots of conversations. We discussed too many things esp about our favorite topic - Indian Politics.

Old Bungalows in full glory

An old church converted in to a Crafts factory

We also went to the famous temple of JhulaDevi where the believers tie bells when they make a wish..

O Come, all ye faithful..
No trip is complete without my shopping and with that spirit we went to the local shops which were selling herbs - I normally use for my continental cooking.
There were lots of berry jams, flours (Gluten Free variety), squash and juices. I shopped for all these things. They were organically grown, fresh and good value for money - A good enough reason?

Any idea what it is? - My money is on Prickly pear
I liked being in the moment there. Everything was calm and quiet. It was a much needed break from my mad hectic routine. I also kept on thinking about how little do we actually need to be happy.

To finish our trip in style we stayed over at a family friends farmhouse for a night. They are in to organic farming on a large scale. They moved from Delhi to become full time farmers. As farmers they have a tough and disciplined life - A lot of hard work. We discussed over drinks how the youth is turning away from farming.
How we need more of young blood.
I want to have my own kitchen garden someday. With concrete replacing open spaces even this feels like a dream. They have the most beautiful fireplace in the world and hopefully I will be there in the winters to enjoy it. I have a thing for beautiful fireplaces. They make you feel warm and fuzzy..

I am back and now battling my mountain hangover. Dying to head back to the mountains. I just can't wait to plan my next trip which might happen sooner-ish.

One thing is for sure that you really don't need to climb up a mountain to feel its greatness. Just standing there and staring did it for me. I can look at them for hours. Oceans are wild, impatient and unpredictable, Deserts are stormy, restless and scattered but Mountains are solitary, predictable and calm - enough to mesmerize me.

The retirement home - Somewhere in the mountains with a kitchen garden


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