By: Nahid Ahmed
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller. A famous saying by Helen Keller reminds me of my journey to Dzukou valley with my friends. I am always fond of taking part in all sorts of adventurous activities like camping, para-sailing, hiking, trekking, rock climbing and many more. After I joined Assam Mountaineering Association I started to do the things that I have listed in my bucket list. Then during the training course I met some of my buddies (Subham, Kaustav, Ankit and Jintu) who also have same sort of adventurous bug in them like me.
Planning and best time to visit Dzuko valley: Then the plan to visit Dzukou Valley started brewing in our minds. After lots of rescheduling due to our work, we undertook this adventurous journey in the month of July, disregarding the well intended advice of the people who have never been to Dzukou, that we were very foolish to go trekking during this time of the year. However, as someone who actually has been to Dzukou Valley, I could guarantee that June to August is one of the best seasons for climbing. One of the benefits of trekking during summer is to witness the magical performance that the mist puts up.
The experience: Almost as if following an orchestra, the joy rises and falls, proceeds and recedes as waves after waves of purest white mesmerizes you with the most graceful dance. If you are looking for a place which is far away from civilization, carpeted with exotic wildflowers, covered by emerald curvy green hills and a couple of silent streams flowing through it, then Dzukou Valley is the place to be in. The Valley which is known as the “Valley of Flowers of the North East India” is one of the best-kept secrets among Indian hikers. It is rare to find a valley with so much greenery and the strangest part is not its grass but short bamboos of a different variety which hardly grow more than 4 feet tall.
Walking through the valley seems like a walk in the heaven. The Valley is situated at the height of 8000ft over the sea level. The nearest villages from the valley are Jakhama and Viswema. We took the latter. We hired a taxi from our hotel in Kohima upto Dzukou foothills which was a drive of nearly 55 minutes. From the Dzukou foothills we started the trek, which is a step climb. This must be the hardest and most challenging part of the entire trek! It really tests your endurance level to the limits – you will find doubting yourself and cursing the moment you came up with grand idea of visiting Dzukou; talking to yourself or hallucinating into believing that it’s better to admit defeat and quietly walk back home. But the encouraging quotes along the trekking trail keeps you motivated and you climb and climb and climb. It took about 90 minutes to reach the starting point of the valley area. From this point on, the trek becomes relatively easy. So with new found zest and vigour and after numerous selfies and groupies, we started towards the main valley following zig zag course that cuts through the valley. It took about 3-4 hours to negotiate through the zig zag path to reach the base camp where you can either hold for the night or resume the trek after resting for sometime, like we did. We were totally tired but the mesmerizing view of the Valley of Burnt Woods keeps us motivating all the time. We were eating up chocolates and energy bars that we carried with us to keep boosting us with energy. After almost hours of walk from the base camp, the majestic Valley in all its divine glory manifests itself to you. In retrospect you will be reminded of the saying repeated by everyone who has been to Dzukou, “Once you reach the main valley, you will forget hard climb and all your sorrows and pains”.
As the valley is filled with beautiful top hill edges and caves you’re spoilt for choices. We found a perfect one located at the guest house area, where we pitched our own tents. Then we had a good dinner of “Masaledar Maggie” that we made and then went to peaceful sleep. Next morning, as I stood up there trying to take in the beauty of the valley, I imagined the valley holding a secret magic of its own. After breakfast we packed our bags to explore the valley. It was even better under the morning sunrise. Though the sky was not clear and it was raining heavily, the valley blossomed with flowers and everything felt right.
The conclusion: At last I would specially like to say that a company of people you choose to trek makes all the difference. Trekking to Dzukou can be very exhausting and in such a situation it is the spirit of your friends that will determine the kind of time you will have there. As of our gang, we had a blast. We returned after a night’s stay with tons of memories to cherish and a promise to return back to valley someday!