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The Sar Pass trek is my second Himalayan trek and by far the toughest. To be honest, I wasn't physically prepared for this terrain. My first Himalayan trek in Dalhousie was entirely different, with the terrain changing drastically each day and presenting new challenges. This time, I brought my DSLR camera for the first time on a trek. You need to be in excellent physical condition and have your body in rhythm because climbing mountains with your equipment and backpack requires more energy than trekking without luggage. During breaks, you need to recover quickly to start taking amazing pictures; otherwise, you might feel too tired and miss the opportunity before the team leader signals it's time to move. Following the timeline is crucial due to the unpredictable mountain weather. I accepted that I might not capture all the views along the trail, aiming instead to safely reach camps and rest points to take pictures. However, sometimes the scenery is so breathtaking that you must stop, remove your gloves, take out your cold camera, find a stable stance despite your fatigue from ascending in the snow, and capture the moment. The picture below was taken under such conditions while ascending to Sar Pass Top around 6 am.

View of Moon on route to Sar Pass Top at morning 6:00 am

In addition to my regular camera bag and lens kit, I carried an extra battery. One important lesson I learned for travel and trek photographers is to plan your camera usage because you won't have the opportunity to charge your batteries, and they deplete quickly in sub-zero temperatures. Also, I preferred keeping my camera in my bag rather than hanging it on my body, allowing me to maintain better balance. It is me in the below pictures, hydrating and relaxing at Sar Pass Top (13800 feet above sea level)

The Sar Pass Trek offers a diverse array of views and terrains, each day presenting new and rewarding challenges. Day 1 began with the trek from Kasol to Grahan, allowing us to acclimatize to the weather and altitude. The serene river flowing alongside the trail instantly transported us to a different state of mind. But the weather in the mountains is unpredictable, it started raining 1 hour after we began to trekking. It was raining with hailstorms and it had become extremely difficult for me because my sack bag weight was more, and my poncho was not large enough to cover me and sack completely. I was wet from the front side because I preferred covering the bag. Also, a rookie mistake I made was to wear jeans for this trek. I did my research on what kind of terrain difficulty to expect while trekking to Grahan. Going by that I decided that since it would be easy to moderate level trek I could wear jeans for Day 1. But I was wrong, as the rain completely drenched me and it was more difficult for me to walk. I could take pictures while trekking on Day 1 due to the rains playing spoilsport. Alas, we reached our destination Grahan. It is a charming village showcasing life's simplicity and providing a peaceful end to the first day.

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