During our first Indrahar Pass trek we noticed badly trashed vicinity and Lahesh Cave so decided to come back and clean up some of bit. Though our First attempt to Clean Up Lahesh Cave was success but still there were plenty of bottles stuffed around and we had planned our 2nd Lahesh Cave Clean Up drive by the end of 2013 but were barred due to sudden change in weather followed by snowstorm and hence 2nd drive was postponed till 2014.
July 15th 2014, we conceptualized our second high mountain clean up drive. On July 20th left for Lahesh Cave after our sponsored (sponsored by Manu in terms of Lunch and Mat) day halt in Triund Hill we continued for SnowLine Café and Lahesh Cave.
Since thick fog was inbound so after 1 hour trek we crossed SnowLine Café without a pause and met few returning villagers who were in Laka it was 04:30 PM and we were getting doubtful of reaching Lahesh Cave as thick fog had covered whole of Laka and the trail.
In Laka we stopped for a few minutes to decide whether to continue or not and halt our event….then in thick fog a glimpse of human presence enticed us to reach and ask for suggestion. It was the seasonal shepherd hut and we talked to the shepherd and he advised “if you can go then go as the weather will be ok and if we don’t feel ok then come back to his hut for the night stay”. Those words were kind of encouraging….so we continued slowly looking out for Red Arrow marks….but they were nowhere to be seen.
We continued and after more of 10 minutes walk we saw one Red Arrow and followed that one (it is very easy to get lost in this little stretch of 100 meters and presence of fog just makes things worse)…to our surprise the Red Arrows suddenly got lost in thick mixed blanket of Glacier and Fog as we were also trying to spot the OM mark but found that the very 7 feet boulder over which OM mark was painted was itself covered by Glacier and only its small tip was visible luckily with a Red Arrow mark on top…..fog was still strong.
So here again we lost the courage…and stopped there for 10 minutes pondering at one point again the thought of cancelling the event loomed over…but then we looked toward foggy Dhauladhar Range and decided to be on the wishes of Dhauladhar Mountain Range…and after 15 minutes we finally stepped on Glacier and trekked up taking note of single visible Red Arrow on the tip of the boulder with OM mark (OM mark was covered in Glacier) and goat droppings…and made our way to the other side, the starting climb for Lahesh Cave and from there we had a sigh of relief and after crossing over the Glacier even fog was dispersing leaving behind the crystal clear views and by 05:30 PM we were in Lahesh Cave.
We looked around and once again crossed slippery Glacier to fetch water for dinner and coffee.
It was really a relief to be in Lahesh Cave all Peaceful with the flow of Glacier Waterfall nearby and play of clouds with Dhauladhar and it was really good choice to carry fuel with us for cooking (Since it had rained few days back and the woods were damp).
The clouds and fog were changing the views like some 3D movie with True Colors that was really worth of climb and attempt. Beside the sweet sound of Glacier Waterfall there were Dhauladhar Alpine Accentors tweeting around detailing beautiful views. On the opposite distant ridge there was another seasonal hut with flock of sheep and goat herd. So we were not that alone. Though the inside of the cave was damp and bit of soaked but there was enough dry space for our sleeping bags and the sleep was sort of Cat Nap but was all good with some resident cave owner Pika constantly running around.
The morning arrived and we had once again go out to fetch water and realized the Glacier slippery and hard like stone and it proved really tricky to get to the other side of the Glacier to get water…heart pumping but it was all good.
The morning view were more of surprising like thick blanket of clouds over Triund Hill, Dharamsala and Kangra Valley and at same time Clean Blue Sky over Indrahar Pass, Lahesh Cave and Dhauladhar Mountain Range.
After breakfast we decided to do for what we had hiked up there…after some time our rucksack was full with alcohol bottles and other non-biodegradable waste.
If we ourselves can’t understand the importance of keeping our home, surroundings, rivers clean than how come we can do justice to Nature and this is aped by our children.
We take the bite of chocolate or chew in bubble gum and throw the wrapper on road or trail without a second thought…imagine billions of people acting like this around the globe in the same moment!
Our Ngo’s do clean but only in places or points where they get noticed and praised.…and if they really really get in to the real business of making and keeping places clean, we’ll have not to worry for the trash and first most we’ll be disposing off the garbage in proper and useful way. Only in Bhagsu, McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala if we wander off from public we can see plenty of corners all trashed!
Well we had collected much of garbage on our rucksack and were about to get ready for Triund Hill, from nowhere the Gaddi sun of Laesh appeared from Nag Dal…..son of Laesh!! Well here is the clarification…years ago when Chamba was not connected to road, people used to cross over to Chamba and Bharmour Valley via such mountain passes like Indrahar Pass and during such one travels and hikes a baby was born in one of the natural caves behind Lahesh Cave hence the family decided to name the new born Laesh…and we happened to meet the son of Laesh (no joke) and as we introduced ourselves he was surprised to see that we were there to collect garbage and he ended up asking us “Do you get paid for this job”!
We explained why we do that and that we don’t do it for money or anything similar to that! It is just a kind of Responsibility toward Mother Nature, who nurtures us and bestows upon her immaculate and immortal beauty.
We talked and son of Lahesh explained how hard their lifestyle is but it is more rewarding in terms of health and satisfaction as compared to our modern comfortable, egoistic and glamorous city lifestyle.
In Gaddi style he helped us organizing the rucksack on back and climbed down up to Glacier and upon touching Laka he again asked that we must be getting paid for doing that (cleaning up job) and again we explained we don’t in fact it is more than money and fame that encourages us to do that cleaning job.
In Laka we met the shepherd again…and after some chat we headed to SnowLine Café
slowly climbed the ridge and spent a good 2 hours in SnowLine Café enjoying the play of fog and greenery but were surprised to see alcohol bottles and other trash stashed inside boulder gaps….that was disappointing and even in Triund Hill there are plenty of such spots…where people stuff garbage hidden away…..if some-one really cares then they can be removed! We were all over capacity so we just memorised such spots for next time…next time because no one looks there…as there is no one to take note of 😛
We spent one more night in Triund Hill and there we overheard tourists (professional looking well educated guys) discussing about cleanliness and were saying at least “someone” should take the responsibility to Keep Nature Clean!! That was really surprising to hear and then there were some ngo guys too and they were also saying that yes we do trash collection on salaried basis full time. 😀
Next day we carried the rucksack up to McLeodganj trash bins and to the astonishing civic attitude of us the tourists, we collected plenty of trash even from trail to Triund. We were pondering when will we learn to be sensitive toward others and Nature.