When I reached Parkachik around 10:30 am on September 13, 2017, the sky flaunted its crisp shiny blue dress decorated with cute harmless white clouds. But the wind was not kind. The wind showed its true colors when I started hiking on the slopes leading to the Parkachik La from Jammu Kashmir Tourist Bungalow in Parkachik village around 12 noon. The cold unkind wind checked my speed. But I continued to hike because of enthusiasm, the sky- the kindest, and certainty of getting a clear view of peaks of the Nun Kun Massif.
Following route instructions given by Ibrahim, caretaker of the bungalow, was not at all difficult because his knowledge of the route and communication skills were good. My eyes had no problem in scanning the bare and / or grassy slopes. The trail was almost well-marked barring a few sections where connecting the trail required a little pause and judgement to pick the best connection between the two broken parts. Fresh foot prints, fresh animal crap, and the piles of stones at the pass helped me in selecting the right connections and directions.
Most of the alpine flowers had succumbed to the onslaught of the autumn that brings an army of cold winds and grey clouds. But a few late bloomers still dared to stand up against the onslaught. They did not let loneliness swallow their smiles. Inspired by them, I continued to hike towards my goal Parkachik La that rests on the slopes overlooking the bungalow, the canal under construction, and Goma Parkachik. The slopes were quiet except flutter of wind and subtle sounds of mud and loose stones slipping under my feet and my breath impacted by increase in altitude.
There was no one to question my solo hike. But I was asking myself, “Can I make it? Can I live my dream of solo hike?” Every step I took, I reviewed my stock of determination, energy, and willingness. The trail supported me by easily linking the broken sections. The weather favored me. Treeless slopes were relatively easy to hike. At one or two places, loose big and small stones tested my surefootedness. I passed in first instance, boosting my moral to reach the pass. As I approached the pass, the wind blew very fast, indicating that I have reached the pass connecting Parkachik to Panikhar. The wind even played with 2-kilogram camera and lens and shook it, making my job difficult. The wind was not body friendly either. It reduced the body temperature. But Nun wrapped in virgin snow made me smile and smile. Mount Lama Topi competed for my attention. And craggy neighboring rocky point refused to reveal its name. The Parkachik glacier sits at the foot of the mighty Nun.
A few steps further, it was surprisingly warm for a while. The wind was ineffective, almost dead. The trail descended to Panikhar, but I stood at the windy pass to gaze at the scenery. On the opposite side (Panikhar side), gray blue Suru nourished the settlements occupied by different communities as far as Sankoo. After an hour or so I followed the same route back to the bungalow without stopping.
Every step I took, I reviewed my stock of determination, energy, and willingness.
The hike can be extended to Panikhar. If you want to hike from Parkachik (approximately 3,800 meters) to Panikhar via Parkachik La, you will need a full day. Start early. Carry food and water.
This is a do-it-yourself hike. But if you want a guide, the rate ranges from ₹600 – 800 per day.
The short hike to the pass at approximately 3,940 meters takes about one and half hour. But the track gradually ascends.
A Pictorial Review of Parkachik-Parkachik La Hike
Photography Date: September 13, 2017