Path leading to Lake Dodipit.
It had taken us 4 hours to reach the hamlet. The height of the place soon started to affect our system as lack of oxygen was more than evident. I felt butterflies in my stomach. A constant nausea lingered throughout and the head remained heavy. Lighters had already given up working and matches were the only source of making fire. We decided to stay in “mulla ki basti” for the night and head straight to the lake early next morning. There was also a group of four friends from Lahore who had just been back from the lake with booty of four golden trout that they have managed to catch despite strict laws against fishing. I had my supper made out of dried meat that I provided to the local cook. The night turned out to be the coldest of all nights that I have encountered in my years of travelling. I had camped at a distance from the hamlet. I was first offered a blanket from the hotel owner but I declined. The temperatures dropped with each passing minute and a dense fog started to settle over the area. I kept fighting the cold in my sleeping bag but soon gave up and sheepishly asked for the blanket that I was offered earlier, although much to my disappointment – it barely helped. The next morning I woke up to find that the blanket was completely soaked with the moisture that has somehow managed to sneak into my tent. My breakfast was a chocolate chip cookie that I washed down with a hot cup of tea before I and mussadiq took off to our final hike to Dodipit. I dumped most of my baggage inside the tent and carried over only the camera and the binoculars.
The frozen Lake Dodipit.
Dodipit lies at the base of a snow capped mountain and the passage to it leads through a vast valley that resembled more to a giant’s playground. Standing at some height and starring down at the valley, the grazing herds appeared like miniatures. The valley often echoed with the hoot of the golden marmet which is found in abundance in the valley. The only source of food that it probably relied on was the trout from the Dodipit. I starred at it in envy for all the delicious food that it cherishes everyday and that too with several courses. We reached Dodipit in about two hours. It was like falling in love at first sight. Although it was the end of June but most of the lake was frozen and only at the discharge end there was water flowing from down below the ice. Dodipit, undoubtedly, is the most magnificent jewel in the crown of Kaghan valley. I sat there for almost an hour trying to absorb the silence all around it and engraving the invaluable sights and sounds in my memory. It was most definitely an arduous task to reach the lake but it surely was worth every step taken towards it.