Saturday, June 20, 2015

Roopkund Trek,Uttarakhand. Day 1 (from Lohajung to Didana)

In Brief
Distance to be covered today- (~10km)
Change in Elevation-from Lohajung(2530MSL) to Didana(2600MSL)
Scenery-Through Rhododendron forests
Duration- Around 4-6 hours depending on your speed
A picturesque village

The agency
We trekked with GIO Adventures with Mr Durga and Mr Aman as our guides.There were four other people who doubled up as cooks and porters.There were also three donkeys.

The Team
Our team comprised of a total of 7 trekkers. Bhanu,Abhishek and Satya were my childhood friends.Then there was bhanu's friend Angkan.Abhisek's friend Arun and  Nitesh who had signed up independently. Only bhanu,nitesh and myself had any previous trekking experience.

Detailed account
                I woke up in the morning all excited for the day ahead.As I stepped outside of the room leaving the warm and cozy blankets, a sense of excitement grew in me as I saw the exquisite view in front of the hotel.I stood there,in the fresh morning mountain breeze and mulled about the days ahead.The thought of being in the midst of those mountains lying in front of me filled me with joy and eagerness.Whatever tiredness and sleep that I had vanished at those thoughts.I went back inside my room and got ready.Slowly one by one everyone came out of their rooms and by 8 am we all were ready.We were full of enthusiasm for the day ahead and couldn't wait to start for the trek.By 8:30 am we finished our breakfast and started off with Mr Durga in the lead.
                Today's trek was to be relatively easy compared to the days ahead.We would be covering a distance of roughly 10 km and would be gaining a height of only 70MSL. I was carrying my trusty Quechua 60L rucksack with me.I had packed it,with a lot of deliberations spanning over a period of 2 months.I had originally bought the bag 2 years back keeping in mind the Roopkund trek and used it in my Nag Tibba trek too.It was quite heavy and like it happened on my first trek( Nag tibba) I was feeling breathless after only 30 mins.We uttered a cry of relief when Mr Durga called a halt near a small stream and we sat down to calm our hearts which were working overtime.After everyone was satisfied we started off and soon we found a rhythm which was with us for the rest of the day.
                We walked among rhododendron forests and there were no views of any peaks today as we were surrounded by tall trees.As we trudged through the trail our feet made a squishing sound as we stepped on the leaves littered all over the path.Soon the sun was making its presence felt.Perspiration began to form on my face and it snaked on my skin making its journey downwards passing on my neck and onto my torso.Whenever a cool breeze blew it bought both relief and uneasiness as the sweat was evaporating making the skin cool.After an hour's walk we came across a beautiful stream.There was a bridge built across it.The water,as it fell and jumped over the boulders made a sweet sound.The kind of sound that lulls you to sleep or for the artistic kind inspire them to create a masterpiece.We stopped here for a while,took a few pics.This place was called Raun bagad Bridge.Here another group of trekkers were already taking rest when we reached.They were from 'Trek the Himalayas' agency.We had a few conversations with them.We kept running into them for the next three days.
               As bhanu,abhishek and satya were my childhood fiends I was all comfortable with them and initially talked mostly with them.But as the day wore off,I became comfortable with angkan, arun and nitesh.Angkan was also a fellow blogger and we found out we had quite a few things in common chief  among them being our love for travel and supernatural stories. Arun was of the quiet kind and didn't talk much.Once in a while he would say something funny in his distinctive style of Hindi and we all would have a hearty laugh. Nitesh was the oldest in the group but did not look the part.We all gauged his age around 10 years less than his actual age.He had done 2 treks before and looked like a 'North face' fan as everything from the cap on his head to his shoes were of  'North Face' brand.He gave us some insights about his previous treks.We had a nice variety to our group as well.Two worked in Power Plants,two in coal mining and the rest were in IT.We had good topics to talk about and this kept the trek interesting.
A small village we came across
                In the initial part of the trek we descended and after Raun bagad bridge we started our ascent.Basically we had descended to come to the foot of one hill and then climbed the second hill reaching almost the same height from where started.Now and then the forests cleared and offered some views of the adjoining hills.As the day wore on the group got divided into two parts.The front end comprised of satya,nitesh,bhanu and myself.The rear end comprised of angkan,arun and abhishek.As time passed the gap between the two grew.By 1pm the front end saw the first dwelling of the Didana village.We stopped by a small shop were we bought a few chocolates(munch) and sat down to rest.
                The rear end arrived a full 30minutes later.To our surprise they were not carrying their rucksacks.On inquiry they said that they were so tired they gave it to the porters who loaded them on the donkeys.After all were assembled here we started walking again.The camping site was still 30 minutes away after we spotted the first dwelling.When we reached the campsite we forgot all our tiredness.The location was breathtaking.Our camps were being set up at the edge of the hill with the hill gently sloping away.We went over to the site,threw our rucksacks on the ground and sat down.Some of us took off our shoes and sat barefoot on the ground.After we took rest to our hearts content we started exploring the site.Mr Durga and Mr Aman gave us a brief demonstration on how to set up a tent.One was set up by them and the other three we set up by ourselves with some help from them.We then had some delicious lunch prepared by the wonderful cook of the group. The rest of the day was spent in visiting a stream nearby and talking.In the night after a heavy downpour we had our dinner in the dining tent after which a bonfire was setup where angkan told some scary stories.The rest of the group lost interest after sometime and some retired for the night.But angkan and myself kept going for a long time.We shared some stories and by 10pm we decided to turn in for the night.Little did we know that this was to be the last comfortable night out we would have.
The view from my tent

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