Well this was my first trek. I had done a lot of bike trips before but this was going to be a new experience.
I along with a friend of mine had this in mind for some time but things could not materialize somehow. But as they say all good things happen unplannedÃ¢Â€Â¦this happened too.
We looked for package treks offered by IndiaHikes.com on internet but they told us that they would not entertain the last minute bookings. So, we knew we had to go and weÃ¢Â€Â™ll go on our own. Anyways a planned trip can never be an adventure. Both of us felt so and we were ready to take the chances. The worst that could happen was that we would have to return from Lohajung until where you can go by road.
So, now we started thinking about the stuff we needed to arrange on our own. We shopped arranged the following stuff Ã¢Â€Â“
- Good hiking shoes. My friend didn't buy and he paid the price for it.
- Good Backpacks. Mountain Camel - 80 liters each. Got a good deal indeed.
- We had a tent of our own already.
- Warm inner and jackets.
- A torch
- Canned food.
This is not everything, but pretty much of it.
All set - bikes fueled and burning rubber we headed towards the mighty Himalayas.
Riding my bike was boring until the hills started. It took us about one and a half days to reach Lohajung. By the end of the first day we were able to reach a small town where we could find an accommodation to stay. There was no electricity there and it was totally dark by then. All I could hear was the sound of the playful river flowing down the hills, which was so soothing and a totally different experience.
The next morning again we started on our bikes. Lohajung was not very far from here. We knew that even if we reach Lohajung today we will not be able to start our trek today. Therefore, we decided that we will ride easy and will enjoy the mountains and sceneries. We were on our way and we found a river flowing by so we decided to stop and have a bath. I wish if I had my girlfriend there - it would have been super romantic. Alas! I had a bad ass Mr. Pranav with me.
Day 0: Lohajung
We reached Lohajung by 1 pm.
Once there, we searched for a guest house to stay and eat something and took some rest. Next we met Arjun, the founder of IndiaHikes.com who had started this venture and converted his hobby into his profession. One of his group had already left a day before and he asked us that since we are young and if we leave quickly we would be able to join them. But, we had no intentions to do so now. Firstly, because we wanted to wander alone and secondly, we were very much prepared with all the stuff and wanted to make it as adventurous as possible.
Arjun was really a nice guy and appreciated that we too indulge in such activities. He told us the trail which we will have to follow to reach Didina Village which was supposed to be our first stop after a days trek.
Just that we warm up and there was not much to do on day zero we started to take a warm-up 45 mins trek to Arjan top. Both Pranav and I reached to top and were over joyed with the achievement. The view from the top was really amazing. Tired and thirsty we both slept there in the meadow.
We came back when it was about to get dark...had our dinner and slept early since we planned to leave as early as possible the next morning.
Day 1: Lohajung to Didina
We left our bikes and all the stuff we did not require(to keep our backpacks as light as possible) at the guest house and left for Didina. It was supposed to be a 5 hrs trek but since we were on a adventure trek and had refused a guide we had strayed and had to walk a few extra kms to reach Didina. Also, on the first day itself we realized that our back packs were quite heavy.
Once we had reached Didina, we had to arrange for a room in the home-stay there to spend our night there. Obviously, we also needed some food as we wanted to save our canned food when we camp in the coming days.
There were no roads to this village. So, every supply is shipped here on mules or is carried by the residents itself. Some of the crops are also grown but are not sufficient for all the people of the village.
Day 2: Didina to Bedini Bugyal
It was a steep climb from Didina to Bedini Bugyal. Actually we had to climb to the mountain top and then we were to walk from top to top until we reached the surreal meadows of Bedini Bugyal. The climb was pretty tough for the second day. My spend on Quecha treking shoes paid as they had a good traction and I could climb well with the load of the backpacks ( which I assume would have been more than 10 kgs). Once on the top I was over joyed. The view of other peaks which I could see from there made me feel that I had overcome the peak. But most importantly I felt that I had overcome the fears and the my will power.
My friend had started feeling tired and I felt that if get gets even a little worse at this place, it might not turn up right for us. We were almost 3 days far from any proper medical facility. Moreover, we were on the top of no-where and that too just two of us alone. It was getting dark too which was worrying me as well. Weather can change anytime at this kind of place and you do not have any shelter too.
So walking over the top of the mountains and getting higher and higher both in terms of altitude and spirit; we reached Bedini meadows. Just to make sure that we do not stray away this time we asked the way from a few students from a nearby village who had come here just to play around (the locals have amazing stamina to scale up and down the place).
Once we were there, we immediately started looking for a site where we could pitch our camp. There we could find a temporary make shift dhabha where we had our dinner.
My friend was a little apprehensive about his health and if he would be able to carry his back pack and climb. Luckily we met a group of Delhi guys while having our dinner and we made friends with them. They had a guide who had a mule too to carry their stuff. The guide and the guys agreed that we tag along with them and that the guide could carry some of my friends stuff. So, after our dinner we went and slept in our camp. The mercury must have had dropped below zero then.
Day 3: Didina to Patal Nacuhni
In the morning we quickly ramped up our tent and our stuff and had a quick breakfast - a maggie and a can of tuna and set on the journey.
Since, I was carrying my stuff and I knew that I would lack behind so I took a head start and had started waling before the rest of the guys.
The climb today was not a long one nor as difficult as the previous day. May be we had acclimatized to the terrain or may be it was really easy. Today we found a number of other trekkers too on the way who had climbed from Wan.
We reached Patal Nachuni by 2 in the afternoon. We all had the stamina to walk and go beyond but the guide compelled us to camp there. Ideally we should have had camped at Baguabassa but the guide told us that it would be all snow there and we may not be able to camp there. But we knew that if we start from here in the morning we may not be able to reach Roopkund and come back. Even after a round of heated discussion with our guide finally we decided to pitch our camps here.
The guide cooked us lunch and dinner here and we also consumed our canned food which we were carrying with us.
We also came to know that the locals come here and look for a keeda jadi when the snow starts to melt. This keeda is used to make medicines which boost sexual capabilities of men and is sold for as much as 5 Lakhs a kilogram. And also, many locals loose their life to extreme weather in the search of this keeda jadi.
Day 4: Patal Nachuni to Roopkund (via Baghuabassa) and back
We had left all our stuff here at and were travelling light today since we had to come back here again in the evening. We started as early as possible in the morning so that we could make it to Roopkund. Today we had to walk a major stretch on snow too. We reached Baghuabassa by 12 and the snow had started to melt by now, making it all the more difficult for us to walk.
The dream to reach Roopkund was almost shattered now. All of us started shouting on our guide for not planning it well. Indeed we should had had camped at Baghuabassa so that we could start from here early in the morning and could climb to Roopkund. Also, snow in the morning is pretty hard which makes it easier to walk and climb.
A fellow Delhi guy whom we had joined and I tried to go as far as possible since we were not ready to give up but could not go very far. The snow had become very slipper and it took a great effort to walk on snow and moreover, we were already tired since we were trekking since morning.
Dejected we all came back to our camp at Patal Nachuni.
Day 5: Patal Nachuni to Wan
Enough of climbing up the hill, today we had to decent back Wan. Although, even today we had to climb a little which was negligent as compared to the previous days.
It took us four days to climb up and just a day to come back. Coming back wasn't as easy cake too. I still had my back pack which made it all the more difficult to walk down on slippery mud and it was really taxing for the knees.
On the way back as usual we found a spring and despite the cold water we had to take a dip as per our ritual. All of us bathed and played in the water for an hour and again refreshed we started to reach Wan.
The delhi guys had their taxi waiting at Wan but we had our bikes parked in Lohajung. Therefore, Pranav(my friend) went along with them in the taxi (since there was a seat for just one guy) and came back on his bike to pick me up on his bike.
We took a lot of rest in Lohajung and ate and slept and again in the morning set out on our bikes to reach Gurgaon.
This return trip on our bike was an epic ride too. We rode 550kms back to Gurgaon in 14-15 hrs. Rode the entire day and the night and reached home early in the morning. Ofcourse, we took some breaks. We are no super humans.
Even though we could not reach the summit and see the Roopkund lake. Still it was a great journey.
Learnings from the first trek -
- Each gram of weight you carry matters. Bagpack phat gaya. Had to get it sewed in a village.
- Good Shoes are important.
- Fitness is very crutial.
- To be on your own is fun and adventure but get an hefty insurance too.
- Do not carry SLR's...instead take small pocket cameras.