Conquering Dzukou Valley! — Michelle Sumi Hesso
Hosting my friends – Anoosha from Mumbai and Trilokesh from Chennai – visiting Nagaland for the first time for the Hornbill Festival, 2014; I had planned a daily itinerary for their stay and a trek to Dzukou Valley was one of them. Although I hail from the state of Nagaland, I had never trekked to Dzukou myself, and took this as an opportunity to do something new with my friends.
Even as the plan for this trek was being discussed, I had no idea how to get there and how to plan this trek! So I got in touch with Rohan from The India Trail, who was extremely helpful (of course), and he arranged for one of their guides to accompany us. Initial communication with the guide was established and the much-awaited trek was scheduled for the 6th of December, 2014. The guide had advised us to opt for a gypsy for the trek as the initial distance had to be covered on a vehicle till Viswema Village.
On the morning of 6th December, we woke up at 5:00 am, prepared a meal and packed it for the trek later. As advised, we carried sufficient supply of food, water, some emergency medicines and glucose. In the midst of getting ready, we were running a little late and the guide called to confirm the trek (which was actually very sweet). Finally, we moved out of the house by 5:45 am. As communicated, the guide was already waiting for us at the Kisama Heritage village gate and once we picked him up, we were on our way to explore the valley.
Once at Viswema, we got our stuff and began the climb. Let me warn you that I felt that the initial 1 km is the most difficult! The sudden change in altitude could very well pose a problem for people with weak respiratory systems. We had to stop after every few steps to catch our breath and it took a good 1 hour, or little more to cover it. The steps are made by roughly laid stones and one has to be careful; I would recommend wearing shoes with a good grip, a backpack to have your hands free for support and a walking stick, if really necessary. But, once we reached the top after the grueling 1 km climb, the view just made up for it!
And there’s us spoiling the view.
After a good rest to catch our breath, hydration and lots of photos, we began the trek for the base camp which was about 5 kms away. And this was a lot easier than the first 1 km because the surface was relatively more even. The trek to base camp was covered in about 2 and a half hours and there we met some other trekkers too. Though the day was very sunny, the wind blowing was quite cold and consequently one should be properly dressed; preferably light but warm clothes. Personally, I would recommend a good sunscreen as well, because one tends to forget about burns due to the cold weather. Also, when trekking, don’t forget to stop, enjoy the view and take photographs for the travel diaries.
The perks of trekking early morning was getting hold of frozen thread-like dewdrops
Once at the base camp, we all sat down for our lunch that we had carried along with us. Although there is a ‘shop’ at the base camp, there really was nothing of use available so it is advisable to carry sufficient supply of food and water, and whatever else you might need. The base camp is a quaint little cottage and though it is sadly vandalized, the view of the valley from there is amazing!
The base camp
Feeling accomplished: outside the base camp
From the base camp, one can also walk to the helipad for a better view of the valley, which is breath taking, I must say.
Trilokesh and Kevi, our guide
The hike back was a lot easier and since the trek is a sort of a whole day affair, it is better to start early and return before sunset.
All in all, the whole experience of the trek to Dzukou Valley was amazing!
And a big thank you to Rohan for arranging this for us! We look forward to conquering the other hills in the near future with The India Trail!
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