Mountains

Where ice turns to water…

Nichnai glacier covered in ice, Kashmir, India

There’s a distinctive dynamic to these places, where ice turns to water up in the high mountains… as if the elements take a deep breath and all is still, a burble here and there, an avalanche or a rockfall in the distance… the elements go about their business in an eerie silence, and every small sound is accentuated… the terra firma mischievous and the weather moody, the human disposition tentative in environs a bit spooky…

Rotten ice at Kalihani pass, Himachal Pradesh, India

There’s that crunch of the boot, the sound that makes one eschew thoughtful meanders and focus on the traverse at hand… one wades cautiously, trying to measure every step that goes into the slush, but it usually ends up becoming an unintended mishmash of movements… sinking in the wet mud or skidding on a grumpy patch of ice, thrashing about ankle deep in sludge or tiptoeing across slippery rinds… one could easily melt a couple of litres of water extra by walking on the ice?… a question to be chewed upon before the next surprise that the terrain throws pulls one back out of the reverie…

Rotten ice at the mouth of the glacier as Pushpavati river emerges at Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India

Then there are those patches where the water tries to rebel against the glacier, revelling in a little pool surrounded by ice and snow, inlets none and outlets zero, just getting high on the sun before the freezing night restores parity again… the transition has two broad modus operandi… either the glacier spits out an angry dirty torrent right from its mouth, a mix of water and mud and rock, the brown hue washing over everything… or there’s that laid back lake, soaking up all that the glacier rants about and rebuking it into a moment or two of contemplation before letting out pure white cascades, a cleansing of the palette, one might say…

A glacial lake below Thamsar pass, Himachal Pradesh, India

For these are realms that only allow brief inquisitions… beneath all the imposing, seemingly unmovable nature of the geology, there is impermanence, underscored by the simple process of ice turning into water, the former apathetic to life, the latter creating it, one muses, skipping out of the tired moraines into the arms of a welcoming meadow

Saketi meadows, Tirthan valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India

Musings in the high mountains…

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving for the outdoors while suffering in a desk job...

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