Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes, an unfulfilled Odyssey

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This post is about Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes  (KGL) which is one fo the Best Treks in India that has remained unfulfilled till date. Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes cannot be called as a failure because there were some takeaways from this abortive attempt. It is a fact that the trek did not culminate by reaching the destination envisaged, but then there was something tangible which was salvaged.

Trek Stories

Trekking stories; there are few which culminate at the destination envisaged and then there are some which are aborted midway with goals changed or altered.  Best treks in India are those which have the ability to forever leave an impression on the inner soul of the trekker.

For long, I wanted to write this my attempt to Trek to the Kashmir Great Lakes. As I completed the first trek of this year, I felt that it was an apt moment to revisit and reminisce about one of the best treks in India that remains elusive. Trekking was a hobby for me which has transformed into a dedicated passion recently in the past.

To know why do I Trek, read my thoughts here

I realised that, along with photography and road trips, trekking has emerged as an outlet for my soul to feel satiated. I have never been a professional trekker neither I have the technical acumen/knowledge; however, I am a serious trekker and take each trek seriously. I have written down some of the best treks which can be done in India and KGL is definitely one of them.

If you are a passionate photographer and trekking is a hobby, read about gears on a trek out here

Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes

In 2017, I came across visuals about the  Kashmir Great Lakes. This is rated among one of the best treks in India on account of its uniqueness. For a year, I kept seeing visuals of the trek t Kashmir Great Lakes and finally, in the year 2018  embarked on this trek.

My first impression on Kashmir is portrayed in this post.

2018 was a hectic year on the professional front with hardly any time for personal physical fitness upkeep. I still remember I was on a professional work-related course until just two weeks before the trek.

Come D day, and I in August 2018 I arrived in Srinagar to commence my Trek to the Kashmir Great Lakes. The initial days of the trek were fine as the trek is not a difficult graded trek. Do see some of the visuals in this post here, click here.

The injury ….

However, on the fourth day into the trek, I suffered a rather random tear in my Right knee ACL ligament ( this is one of the four ligaments which ensure that the knee stays articulated and geometrically aligned with the movement of the leg.

The injury was so random that I did not understand how and what exactly happened. One moment I was fine and the next moment I was writhing in pain.

By next morning the knee was swollen grotesquely, this was on account of the blood accumulation, mixed with the synovial fluid. This break in the ACL made the knee unstable.

I lay in my tent two more days at the same campsite in the hope that this will subside, finally, I had to cut short my trek and return to Sonmarg on horseback. Thus Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes transformed into an unfulfilled Odyssey on a personal front.

The Aftermath ….

The ensuing months were painful as I struggled to cope with the aftermath of a knee injury, which resulted finally in me having to undergo major knee surgery to sort the issue clinically.

This was followed by months of physiotherapy, which happened alongside my professional work schedule, that was turning to be even more hectic than 2018.

I was plagued by bouts of listlessness, irritation and anger at myself for having let this happen to me. Knee injuries take a long time to heal.

To cut a long story short, I eventually recovered to a large extent; however, the knee still pains and running is something that I no more indulge in. The physiotherapy paid off, and I was able to perform normal day to day activities. I decided to take up cycling as an alternative to running.

In all the months that followed the injury, I still remember that I was never critical about my decision to take up trekking as a hobby. I was still bridled with boyish enthusiasm on the thought of attempting some of the Best Treks in India. Did suffer from extended moments of withdrawal and sullenness but the joy that trekking used to get me was never sullied or soiled by these bouts of negativity.

I do believe that I should have been more prepared for the trek, and that was the primary reason to be in the state in which I found myself in.

Going forward ….

Forward to 2019, and I was eager to pick up from where I left in the previous year and against popular opinion decided to revisit Kashmir Great Lakes Trek in July where it all stopped a year back. Once again everything remained the same, and I was a bit apprehensive as to how would it pan out.

The knees and overall physical strain was generally acceptable, and was able to complete 30% of the trek. The apprehension within as to how the knee would behave when under strain was important to quell once and for all. However, this time, the physical elements of the weather were against me. The unfulfilled odyssey of the Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes continued to haunt me.

The snowed out conditions on the Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes were of such magnitude that the horses which were carrying the load could not proceed ahead and eventually we had to abort the trek for the second consecutive time.

Takeaway from an attempt on Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes …

The take away from two aborted attempts made me realise that perseverance is the key to a lot of such activities and notwithstanding the two attempts KGL remains very much in my bucket list, and I will revisit the valleys of Kishansar once again shortly. Till such time i will keep this unfulfilled odyssey of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek close to my heart.

Trekking remains my pure love, and I still hold on to it for the days ahead. So what did I learn over 24 months and two attempts

Physical preparation is essential
Analysing weather conditions using online tools is essential.
Exhaustive discussion with guide before trek commencement to discuss all possibilities.
Commitment of the trek team is of paramount importance.
Medical support in case something goes wrong is so important.
Apt gear in terms of shoes and clothing is beneficial.
HOPE is what has to be by one’s side at all times even if all the cards are down
Keep negativity at Bay and think on what moves you the most. Start planning once again. This helps to get a GOAL

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19 Replies to “Trek to Kashmir Great Lakes, an unfulfilled Odyssey”

  1. I have seen many NBA superstars get their ACL torn and some even are career ending. Good thing that you have recovered well. Anyway, Kashmir Great Lakes looks stunning. The pictures you took was so captivating. Adding this to my bucket list!

  2. I have seen many NBA supertars get their ACL torn and some even are carrer ending. Good thing that you have recovered well. Anyway, Kashmir Great Lakes looks stunning. The pictures you took was so captivating. Adding this to mu bucket list!

    1. hi
      glad that you found the post interesting . Yes i hope the knee recovers well enough for me to undertake strenus treks , lets see 🙂

  3. Oh, gosh, I’m so sorry to hear you had to cut your trek short because of that painful ACL injury! And then poor weather on the second attempt? Sheesh! Well, I must say, your pictures are absolutely gorgeous – really top notch! So at least you’ve been able to do part of the trip and share the immense beauty you’ve seen! I hope you’ll be able to one day finish your odyssey of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek! (And, hey, now I’m hoping to be able to do so too someday!) 🙂

    1. hi stefanie ,
      thanks for the concern, yup was looking forward to finishing the trek in the second attempt but then i am sure there will be another opportunity soon enough 🙂 . You should definitely look at this trek if u are into the Lower Himalayas

  4. We are a hiker family and would hike as often as we can and right now we are dreaming of a hike vacation somewhere. Now I know to where! The Kashmir great lakes trail is just really wow! Amazing trekking trail, could be on any hikers dream list! Now it is on our list!

    I am so sorry to hear about your injury, and also about the bad weather on your second attempt. Perhaps there will be a third try and I really hope you will complete it!

    1. hi glad you found this trek trail interesting, it is indeed a picturesque trail and in google maps once can see the lakes spread out .. it is quite an interesting trek , rustic to the core

  5. I have always had Great Lakes walk on my list. Last year when I was there I wanted to do it but couldn’t because of all the tensions that existed. Hopefully I do it next year. And I am sure you will finish it in your second attempt. Some treks do call some people for multiple times.

  6. Perseverance is definitely the key to success and there is no shame in not achieving a destination in one or two attempts. I am sure you would achieve your goal next time. But whatever you experienced and have showcased here,itself is just fabulous. Beautiful landscapes through wonderful photographs. The mountains, blue sky and the blue water lake are absolutely mind blowing. Kashmir,our pride and one of my favorite destinations within India.

  7. So sorry to hear about your injury and unfulfilled journey but you know never say never, and I hope you are able to fulfil this dream soon. But gosh how much ever you showcased in here is just so gorgeous. Kashmir is stunning and saying that it is breathtakingly beautiful is also an understatement. Can’t wait to see it with my own eyes someday! Thank you for sharing these vistas with us specially in a time of a lockdown.

    1. hi
      so glad that the post was interesting , yes the region is amazing in its own way and thanks a lot for the warm words . I hope you do the trek soonest

  8. Way to be tenacious, brave, and positive! I actually love to trek and fear exactly what happened to you. While I’ve hiked to Annapurna Base Camp, I’m afraid to do treks of that magnitude again because my knee has become so unpredictable. That said, views like this are sooo motivating and there is nothing more rewarding than reaching the top of butt-kicking hike. I wish you the best of luck in your future treks!!!

    1. hi anne ,

      so glad for the words of encouragemnt. I am so happy to hear that you have done ABC which is one of my dream treks

  9. I also love to trek and your post just made me miss doing it since we’ve been quarantined at home for almost 3 months already. Thank you for sharing about your adventure at Kashmire. I would like to thank you for inspiring us to continue with our passion. No injury can stop us from doing what we love.

  10. kashmir has my soul. I am not sure whether I will be able to do Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, as I don’t consider myself that fit, but seeing your photos, I should at least try. Some fantastic shots. I hope that You will be finish the entire trek. May be it is the indication that you should come back again.

    1. hi Parnashree
      Glad that you liked the article . I am sure you will accomplish the KGL trek. Just go for it keeping in mind some points that i had mentioned .
      I sure hope to see the trek once again the near future
      regards

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