Valley of the Flowers-India

Thunderstorms and heavy rain pounded the valley all night long. We awoke at 5am with the rattle and smoke of the generator. No more sleep for us, so we packed our daypacks after some sugared tea and started hiking towards a bridge over a lovely waterfall and into the pine trees. The trail climbed and climbed passing steep washed out sections that fell steeply to the river below. Just as the sun broke the top of the ridge we entered the mouth of the valley. A spectacular place with towering snow covered peaks and rows of waterfalls that flowed vertically from the hanging glaciers. We left the trail momentarily to a large half buried rock with an outstanding view. My trekking companion mentioned that he had left some of his father’s ashes at this spot. I looked up into the sky and the sun was highlighting the rims of the clouds. I remembered his father and his sense of humor. I had this feeling that he was happy that I was standing there with his son watching the onset of the day. The air smelled heavy of vegetation and cool as it flowed over the snow high above. We continued to hike to the end of the valley until our trail disappeared into the overgrown earth. My friend stayed and I hiked back leaving him in the distance. I reached the head of the valley and sat next to a small raging stream. I pressed my back against a large boulder and faced the sun. Waiting alone, sitting between shattered rocks, eyes closed, I listened and breathed slowly. After a few minutes my mind cleared of all intruding thoughts and a vivid picture formed of the valley. So clear that it was much more vivid than when I opened my eyes and looked. A blackbird sat perched on a rock, crooked its neck and watched me.  I stared back. Facts: Rediscovered by westerners in 1931 by lost Frank S. Smythe who stumbled upon the valley after climbing Mt. Kamet. In 1939 botanist Margaret Legge spent time documenting flora until her accidental death in the valley. Valley of the Flowers, India