Today is my first day of serious trekking or hill-walking in India. Starting early, I leave McLeod Ganj (~1700m) and ascend along a 10km path through the pine and rhododendron forests up to Triund (~2830m) then up further to the snowline, where snow underfoot makes the path a little too hazardous to continue. The trek up, stopping for Chai a couple of times, takes me the best part of 5 hours, breaking in my walking boots (as well as feet, heart and lungs).
In the morning, the warmth of the sun makes it seem like summer. Some of the rhododendrons are in bloom, perhaps believing that Spring has arrived already. The snow above is ominously sparse for this time of year, for the villages below depend to some degree on the melt-water during the spring and into the summer months.