Delhi, Feb. 22 -- It has been a long, long walk in the mountains of Kashmir for me, and every trek has brought heaps of happiness. While people count the years of their lives, I count the lakes I trek each year. 2015 was the most gratifying year for me. That summer I was able to trek to my 100th high-altitude lake.

Kashmir has seen its share of misfortune. For over two decades, turmoil and strife have remained unrelenting, but they have left me undeterred in my mad pursuit into the mountains of Kashmir. For an ordinary countryman, Kashmir epitomises a place of conflict where venturing out invites trouble and going into the mountains is scary. But to me, these misunderstood mountains are like a mother's lap where I have always found solac...