After another year of devastating fires, spring fights back with new green shoots.
The pine forests of Kumaon is wonderful. For those having lived in amidst the pine jungles the quote from Kipling is quite apt:
“and the last puff of the day-wind brought from the unseen villages the scent of damp wood-smoke, hot cakes, dripping undergrowth, and rotting pine-cones. That is the true smell of the Himalayas, and if once it creeps into the blood of a man, that man will at the last, forgetting all else, return to the hills to die.”
Over the last several year the climate patterns have changed to facilitate devastating forest fires. Every spring large parts of Kumaon light up with forest fires ranging from small patches to acres and acres of land.
Yet, given some leeway, nature has its way of coming back. A bit of rain with cooler winds and new growth emerges from the dead.
This picture was taken somewhere between Dwarahat and Binta.
First glows of the moon on the Panchachuli Peaks as the Milky Way stretched across the night sky.
Most people only get a view of Panchachuli from the western side i.e. Munsyari/Kausani/Choukori and similar hill stations. The eastern side, i.e., Darma Valley is untouched territory mostly for hiking parties. Till recently there was no road and it required a multi day trek from Tawaghat to get there.
This picture was taken during a bike ride I did in 2019 to Darma valley and spent two night at Dantu Village. I wasn’t expecting to see the Milky Way and was not prepared with low light lenses. As luck would have it, the band of Milky Way stretched just above the peaks of Panchachuli. And as the moon started rising, the Lunar alepenglow illuminated the top of the peak rendering them bright orange.