Himalaya Trek: Mcleod and Proud

Mcleod through flagsTibetan prayer flags flutter colorfully on a light breeze, while an eerie mist shrouds the trail as we leave behind the bustling main square of Mcleod Ganj. It’s the beginning of a two day, one night trek high into the Himalayan foothills, and early impressions are fabulous. The small town tucks neatly into the folds of the Kangra Ranges and already offered spectacular vistas in the early morning light, but with every uphill step the views got more and more special. My hiking partner Amanda, on her first jaunt beyond the U.S, just couldn’t contain her superlatives, and time and again I heard, “I’m just blowin’ my own mind, Steve, blowin’ my own mind.” I think she liked it.

Monkeys on road Edge of the world Donkeys on the edge of nothing Cloudy scene Blowin my own mind

After around 2 hours our guide Satish led us to a small tin and tarpaulin tea hut known as Magic View, where we rested and took in the panorama…or at least that was the plan; the clouds had rolled up the mountain so quickly that the view was invisible beneath the chilly blanket of mist. Nevertheless, it was still magic, especially with hot chai to warm the cockles.

Magic view General view Me in B & W

The mist cleared, and onwards and upwards we went, snaking around narrow ledges and dodging pack mules carrying supplies to camp at Triund. The sun was back, and under blue skies the scenery was truly fantastic. A little over 2 hours later, and after a steep final push, we arrived at the Triund Plateau into a genuine ‘wow’ moment. On every side, valleys plummeted 2000 meters, only to rise impossibly again into the Dhauladhar Range, tipped by snow and glistening like diamonds. It was a beautiful sight.

Purple flower Ram on a rock Simpson clouds Snow Line Panorama Dog at Triund Cloudy scene Clouds

I found myself a cosy rock and read for an hour until dinner was served in camp, where over dahl and rice, tales were told between fellow trekkers who all agreed that we were in a special place. Once darkness enveloped the plateau we were treated to the clearest starry night, the silence only punctuated by distant rumbles of thunder and the occasional cries of a lost sheep.

Camp B & W mist 2 sheep best Clouds on pond Sunrise Welcome to Dharamsala sign

With a 6:00 a.m rise ahead for our push onto the 3,500m snow line, it was an early and chilly night in my tent. But what a sunrise. Waking above the clouds is always an exciting moment, and when the dazzling orange sun peeked above the nearby ridge it was ‘wow’ all over again. “Just blowin’ my own mind, blowin’ my own mind,’ I heard from somewhere behind a big rock.

sunrise 1 Sun through trees Chai time camp panorama B & W mist

We made it to the snow line and spent 30 minutes savoring the serenity, as massive eagles effortlessly rode the thermals while searching for lost sheep. We were first up from camp, and had the mountain to ourselves. I chatted to Satish as Amanda wandered off and out of view. After a little while the young guide began to look concerned. A month ago 2 tourists disappeared from this exact area and despite the best efforts of the Mountain Rescue unit and the Indian Army, they have not been seen again. It doesn’t look good for them, but fingers crossed for a safe return. With worry edging his face, I scanned the hill side, and spotted Amanda some distance further up, cross-legged on a rock, meditating, or so she said. Looked to me as if she was taking a nap.

With Satish assured, the hike down was leisurely but no less inspiring, and around 2 p.m our weary party of 3 strolled proudly into Mcleod Ganj, well in need of a hard earned Kingfisher or three.It was a beautiful hike with spectacular scenery that will live long in the memory, where even the ‘Magic non-Views’ are magic.

Me on edge of the world

Where have been your best hiking moments? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Cheers, Steve.

All images by the Nomad, except those by the one ‘blowin’ her own mind’ and Satish. Thanks guys.

Coming very soon: Hanging With The Dalai Lama and Other Cool Monks

22 thoughts on “Himalaya Trek: Mcleod and Proud

  1. Beautiful photos, and great tale of the hike. This is once-in-a-lifetime stuff, and I congratulate you. I especially enjoyed the troop of baboons (or whatever type of primates they are). Good on ya! ~ James


    • Not sure on the species, but they were fascinating, cute and scary all at once. Yes, it was a spectacular hike, and a gorgeous place. Watch out for my next post detailing my visit with the Dalai lama…coming up in about 2 hours. Thanks for the support, Steve.


  2. Thanks James. It was very spectacular up there at Mcleod Ganj, and the pictures, as is usual, don’t do it justice. I do love to be in the mountains, and I had a great time. Cheers as always for the nice comments. By the way…I would love to write a post about you guys by way of an interview sometime, so let me know if you’d agree. Just a simple q and a about the how’s and why’s of your nomadic awesomeness. Thanks, Steve,


      • Thanks James. It’s our pleasure to be your fans and followers, and to write about you will be inspiring for us and many others I’m sure. I’ll put together a question e-mail, it won’t be too many, and will get it over to you. Then in your own time, just share some answers. It will probably be in a couple of weeks when I finally put my feet down in one place for a couple of months. Loving the trip, but looking forward to a little break. Cheers, Steve.


  3. Pingback: His Holiness The Dalai Lama | Twenty First Century Nomad

  4. Pingback: His Holiness The Dalai Lama

    • Thanks Lesley. Hiking has become my new passion, not in the ‘why not summit Everest?’ league, but just being out in beautiful scenery and away from real life, if just for a few hours or a couple of days. So, where ya gonna go hiking next?


  5. no words can describe the beauty of Nature and sure the photographic collections is amazing…got the link to your blog from facebook page for Triund and we invite you to share your pics in the page for other to enjoy and understand the importance of keeping Nature Clean and Green 🙂 so that everyone can enjoy!


  6. Ahh Mcleod and Dharamsala…!! I was there this July.. one of the best trips ever and I miss those street side momos (dimsums). We didn’t trek much though… it was raining and not very safe. You can check out my stories from Himachal here http://goo.gl/QOKm27 and tell me what you think..?


    • Hey Tommy, thanks for stopping by. It’s such a beautiful part of the world, and taking pictures is easy there. Hope you have a great time mate, and feel free to ask any questions…I’ll be glad to help. Also, check out my girlfriend’s blog, she’s written some great stuff too, though not as positive as mine. India is a love hate destination, and we have vastly different opinions about it too. Cut and paste this link: chicadventures.wordpress.com
      Cheers mate.


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  8. Pingback: His Holiness the Dali Lama | 72&Rising Magazine72&Rising Magazine

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