Mukeshpuri: A place of liberation

Every single step you take to reach your goal becomes difficult with time. The path gets rough and steeper to climb but once achieved, there is no greater feeling. Every time we draft resolutions for the New Year but less than half of the list is ever accomplished. It is not the motivation that pulls us back but our lack of will that drifts us away.

A place of liberation, contentment and peace, Mukeshpuri top is located 9200 feet above sea level in the Nathiagali Hills. 90 km North of Islamabad, just above Dungagali in the Nathiagali area of Ayubia National Park. Much of it the mountain is covered with Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests.

A few hours of drive from Islamabad via Murree Expressway, we reached Dungagali and set for the hike. As soon as we started walking, the difference is temperature from Islamabad was very noticeable. The thick conifer forest surrounding the track unveils the beauty of Ayubia National Park as well as the Nathiagali and Miranjani Top.

Being the first day of a new year, this was definitely a great start. Although tough since we seldom hike and travel, it was the determination that helped us continue through the track. There are two tracks that lead to the top, the shorter one is much steeper but the longer one also passes through Lalazar Park. Since it was winters and it has not rained there was no snow either, the absence of daisies was obvious too. The trail can push you back and it gets tougher with the height, the air pressure gets thinner and breathing becomes difficult if your body is not adapted to such altitude. I could feel my heart trying to keep up with me. Getting more air in your lungs was an added problem, since you forget whether to take in air from your nose or mouth. Every few minutes of hike we took rests enough not to keep us from getting cool.

Finally, we stepped the apex of the mountain. A feeling so great it is difficult to describe. All that lactic acid and weariness washes away. You have to be selfish and ungrateful if you do not reach the top and not appreciate what is visible before your eyes. The clouds above screens the light from the sun and momentarily break it over the surrounding peaks. That short lived moment of light touching the mountains around is a heavenly sight.

You complete a journey and not have a tea there? I do not remember I have ever had tea at such height. The cold breeze was insisted that we have a tea and so we did. That tea added life to what you see around and the more you stay enjoying and complimenting the nature, the more this place has an impact over your mood. It finally becomes a memory so great not to forget. Nature has different moods to please, and none is disappointing to experience. You will gradually embrace its unpredictable behaviour.

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