This is the day 2 of Kashmir Great Lakes trekking and this is where the actual trekking starts from Sonamarg all the way to Nichnai. On Day 1 it was more of travelling by Sumo/Jeep all the way from Srinagar airport to Sonamarg via Srinagar-Leh Highway. Check out Day 1 details here: Journey from Srinagar to Sonamarg. Once you are at Sonamarg, enjoy the beautiful scenery. Check out my previous post on Sonamarg.
The actual trekking starts somewhere close to Sonamarg city. Just before reaching the Sonamarg city there is an iron bridge. Before crossing the bridge take a left turn and walk a bit for about 10 mins and the meadow starts. It’s a very peaceful and relaxing place and is an ideal place to camp next to the Sindh river. This is the last place to charge your electronic gadgets or if you want to buy anything, as of this writing.
Start trekking after your breakfast and it’s a steep climb for about an hour. Don’t forget to turn back and see the most beautiful early morning scenery of Sonamarg valley. A photograph taken here at this time will look like a post card or something that you can keep it in your showcase. Keep walking up in the meadows and you will enter lovely dense forest of maple and pine. On the way you will find many unique huts of local shepherds. The view from this place is beautiful. On one side its the Sonamarg valley and to the right you will find the three hanging glaciers on top of the mountain. Once you climb uphill for about an hour, take rest near Shekdur. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to reach this place from Sonamarg camp site.
— Ravindra Joisa (@ravindrajoisa) October 12, 2014
Walk along the Shekdur meadows and a gradual climb again through the Silver Birch trees. Just follow the trail and you will reach the end of Birch forest and this is where the river valley of Nichnai starts. Trek upstream along the bank of the river and continue walking for the next two hours till you find a flat ground to pitch in your tent.
There is a hidden lake here, check with your trek leader. They may not recommend as its another one hour climb to the left from campsite. Only a small waterfall is visible from this campsite, but the source of this waterfall is from the lake above which is not visible from your campsite. The climb is a bit risky. There is no trail to go up and is full of rocks, formed by minor landslides. You may try this if you have enough time in the evening as it might take not less than 2 hours and is not easy to climb. This lake is rarely visited and is believed to be one of the most beautiful lakes. You may try this if you are going solo.
Nichnai camp site is at an altitude of 11,500 feet and is an ideal place to experiment with low light photography and long exposure shots. The sky may be clear soon after the rain and expect thunderstorm at night. If you have a tripod and a remote trigger then this is where you can try some star trail shots. Checkout this virtual video below of my second day trek to Kashmir Great Lakes.