By Jai (written for Kissan’s Nature’s Friend Contest)
The trek to the Valley of flowers is an experience you can enjoy with your family as the trek is along a well laid. Till Ghangaria the trek route is the same for the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. So, if you want to do this trek with kids you will get porters on the way who can carry them in a Palki(a sort of Palanquin). Your kids can sit in them or you can put your daypack and other supplies in them.
The second batch of Valley of flowers batch was a special one for me. There were two families who were joining us and they were bringing their kids along with them.
One family was from Gurgaon and were bringing their 8-year-old daughter Gauri and the other family from Nashik were bringing their son Avadhut who was 6 years old. Initially I was a little skeptical because this was the first time I would take kids for the Valley of Flowers trek. But I soon realized that my skepticism was ill-founded as the kids, to my surprise slowly but surely fell in love with the beauty of the Valley of flowers.
We started our trek early and hired Palki’s for the children. Throughout our trek both of them were very talkative and kept telling me stories about their friends and school. But after we crossed the first village,Bhuyandar, on the trek they started telling us that they wanted to get off the Palki’s and wanted to trek. So we relented as you so often have to with kids and they started the trek to the valley of flowers. But soon they realised that the trek was beyond their limits and we put them back in their Palkis again. After some time we stopped at a safe point where you can feel the river water. This was the time where I became acquainted with the exploratory traits of Avadhut. As soon as he was out of the palki he was unstoppable. He was jumping from one rock to another.
Through the trek I became very protective of him and always kept an eye on him. Generally I have seen that kids are afraid of ice cold water but Avadhut was enjoying getting wet in the ice-cold water of the Laxman Ganga River. After spending about half an hour resting we continued on our trek to the Valley of Flowers. Avadhut was sitting comfortably in his palki while Gauri was walking slowly with her Mom and Dad during this phase of the trek.
The next day we continued on our trek to the Valley Of Flowers and after a short trek reached the starting of the national park(a big boulder and a stream marks the starting point of the Valley Of Flowers National Park). At the starting point Avadhut and Guari quickly got off their palkis in excitement. Their faces were blooming like all the flowers around us.The children one moment were dancing and playing in the drizzle in their ponchos and another moment were staring at the beautiful flowers in the park..They were so enamored with this Himalayan version of the Garden of Eden that they threw a fuss when we were leaving.
This was a memorable trek to the Valley Of Flowers for all of us but especially for me as I had always been skeptical about kids that age being able to really appreciate nature. I was wrong.