One lonely trail, bordered by trees
It’s face covered with green
Led straight into alluring woods
And beyond to the unseen
I write these lines as I stand at the starting point of the trek to Cheena Peak, near Pangot. The trek to the summit is a moderate 3 kms, scalable within an hour or two, tells a local vendor while making his pitch for a sale. I humbly decline. At the starting point of the trek stands a billboard with the map of the trek, showing what we could see along our way to the top. Probable locations of Deer, Leopard, Black Bear, Wild Boar, and many exotic birds are pinned on the map. We have chosen the Cheer nature trail hoping we wouldn’t encounter any bears. “Ready to go?”, asks Deepak, my naturalist guide and we’re off.
I’ve been on plenty of treks before but this one is right there at the top. No, literally. Cheena Peak is the highest point in the Nainital region and famous for its panoramic views of the looming Himalayan chain. The path to the top is lined with stones and covered by dried Autumn leaves, making it look even more magical. Note to self – always go trekking in the fall.
Thanks to Deepak’s keen eyes, I get to spot a lot of birds including the majestic White-rumped Vulture and the rare Cheer Pheasant.
After nearly one and a half hour, we finally reach the top, and what we see is nothing short of magical. Surrounded by big and small hills, the picturesque city of Nainital appears to be a piece of Eden. Luckily the weather is clear and we get to see the massive Himalayan chain looming in the background. Deepak identifies the different peaks as I marvel at the unearthly sight, hypnotized. Spellbound, I finish my poetry with these lines.
And now that I stand at the top,
I thank my blessed fate.
But I have no time to rest my feet
Higher mountains wait.