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Memories from the Dzukou Valley Trek

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Magic doesn’t happen every day.

We read stories and blogs of travellers, their adventures and wish we could have similar tales.What we don’t see is that in a traveller’s life too, these stories don’t happen daily, they happen once in a while. They just choose to write about the exciting tales, not the boring ones.

Shrimayi and I went to Nagaland in May. It was all decided late one night, when I saw pictures of the Mon tribe and Dzukou Valley.

A week later, we found ourselves in this cute homestay resort in Kohima. There, we met Leland and Mia, a couple from Canada. They wanted to do the Dzukou trek as well, so we decided to go together.

Its not the trek or the valley I want to talk about. It’s the couple. Lee and Mia had just come from Sikkim where they had done the Kanchenjunga – Dzongri trek. In my head, I felt it was fantastic that a couple in their fifties would do such a gruelling trek.

Over the course of the two days we trekked together and the next couple of days, we stayed in Kohima, we fell for Lee and Mia. I haven’t really seen two people love each other so much, especially after so many years of marriage. Every time reserved, pretty Mia would say anything Lee would look at her like a teenage boy who had just started dating the most wonderful girl in school. And it wasn’t love, just in the physical expression of it. It was much more than that, a love in the eyes, of respect, of pride in the other person,of listening to them, and most importantly of a lot of, lot of care. We froze that night, but while we did, we held each other with all the warmth in the world.

Those three four days, Lee and I spoke a lot to each other. About books, about mountains, about Sikkim, the West, about Canadian lakes and kayaking, we even spoke about some specific sect of Christianity. Good days.

When Lee and Mia left Nagaland, I didn’t really think we would stay in touch. God knows how much I suck at the art. But surprisingly, we are. And every time either of them drops in a small comment on one of the FB posts or a little joke at my expense, I feel like a happy kid , excited that they wrote to me. Every time we talk, we ask them to come back to India and get asked to go over to Canada.

I love this picture. It was somewhere on the trek, on a weekday afternoon , where none of us had a care in the world.

Magic doesn’t happen every day. But when it does, you better share the story with the world.

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Fact file:

If you are interested in the Dzukou Trek and want to do it, reach Kohima. The best way to do it is take a cab to Viswema village (about 1.5 hours from Kohima) and this place serves as the base for the trek

The first half of the trek (about an hour if you walk up fast or 1.5 hours if you are slow) is a steep ascent and might leave you a little breathless. The remaining bit takes about 1.5 hours and since you are just walking on level ground now, its more like a walk in the park, just that the park is stunningly unique

There are two resthouses (each can hold 30 people) at the top, but no beds, no furniture. And it’s freezing cold at the top. So either get your own tents and camping gear, or carry warm jackets and blankets.

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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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