Category : Treks
Breathtaking, Beautiful and Adventurous all at the same time….
From day one at Ukhimath it was a hide and seek of snow clad peaks and clouds… The very first morning, me and Gauri (who never stopped clicking and eventually sighted and clicked almost every type of bird there :)), ran out with cameras expecting the golden peaks shining at sunrise. It was still cloudy. However, we heard chirping of many birds nearby.. We soon realized that it was a birds’ paradise.. so many beautiful birds were dancing on trees just outside the guest house.. I was thrilled at the sight of Whistling Thrush.. on every trek in last couple of years, I was trying to locate it.. being drawn to it on the sound of it’s melodic whistle. & here it was on a bark of a tree, welcoming me to the ever inviting Himalayas.
We woke up and ran out with cameras expecting the golden peaks shining at sunrise. It was still cloudy, though we soon realized that it was a birds’ paradise, chirping of birds on nearby trees was pleasing, more pleasing was the site of variety of beautiful birds just outside the guest house.
Next day, we reached Sari base camp & started the trek to Deoriatal. It’s a uphill climb of couple of hours. The sight of colourful birds and bright red Buransh (Rhododendron) flowers made it very exciting. The climax was the location of the tents… by the side of the Tal .. Ohh! It was heaven. Rather the first level of the heavenly stay. 🙂
In the evening, the weather started changing. The clouds were slowly covering the lake. It started drizzling unexpectedly and for some time children enjoyed hail stones. The Himalayas seem to be beyond accuweather’s estimates. 😉 Even the local people were not expecting the rains.
Tent Stay Deoriatal, Relaxing young trekkers, clouds kissing the lake, snowpeaks with cloud topping and boyz busy with frisbee in rain..
The stay at Deoriatal was pleasant with orange headed woodpeckers Magpie, colourful sparrows…
On day three, we set for the 14 km route to Chopta. It was another memorable day. The walks through luscious green meadows and huge trees… uphill and downhill trails… seemed to be unending… The tranquility around me in some solo walks was mesmerising!
When we were 20 minutes away, suddenly there was mist around us. We were actually in clouds and it started raining…
Our guide and his family who were managing our stay and kitchen, served us hot food and tea, in tents in spite of the unexpected rains. I felt touched by the warmth and care in their serving… so hard working, ever smiling and energetic in such adverse condition…
Getting ready for the long walk through woods, Reaching peaks, peaks and more beautiful peaks…
After Chopta stay, we changed the itinerary every day to keep ahead of the weather. Each day the evening winds became stronger and more chilling. We were blessed to have our angels with us. The group energy was always high. Madhavi taking charge of the children to get them ready on time, made it easier for us. The children were full of enthusiasm and positivity.
Instead of resting after the long walk, we decided to climb uphill to Tungnath. This well laid path was scenic..and we had lot of company here unlike our earlier trails. The Buransh (Rhododendron) fresh juice was the hit of the walk. Weather was windy…and thanks to the winds for taking the clouds away from the mountains, giving us a clear panoramic view of the gigantic Himalayas, the entire evening as well as throughout the night in the full moon. A lifetime experience!
Day five morning, the Shiva temple Arti gave us a wakeup call. We were all charged to reach the summit – Chandrashila Peak. Everyone was in awe of the view there, everyone had a feeling of pride to reach there, as a team, as a group ; all happy faces ready to be clicked for their profile pics 😉
iXplorei Team @ Chandrashila Peak
Nilesh was the only one in the group to sight the Himalayan Monal, and to capture them in the frame.
After weather analysis, we decided to travel directly to Sari instead of Chopta. The moment we reached the comforts of the guest house, it rained heavily. Soon we heard the news of the landslides on Chopta – Sari route we had just travelled on… groups then at Deoriatal & above, faced heavy rains and next day were stuck for hours in road blocks.
Me and Nilesh preferred not to share the info with the group to avoid anxiety and panic & were constantly in touch with our local coordinator.
Next day, the clearing of road blocks was getting delayed. Both of us set on a walk to check the situation. On the way, we met an old man in the village who advised us to take a route going through Sari, walk down to Mastura and take local taxi to reach Ukhimath… one more angel in disguise…
It was an additional 30/40 minutes downhill walk to Mastura with our bags. Everyone in the group was actually in a relaxed post trek mindset.
However, hearing an encouraging story from Nilesh about a Guru telling his disciple about the persistence required in adverse conditions, they were quickly on their feet and started marching without any complaints… Hats off to the group’s spirit to cope up!
The only local taxi (Bolero), was the one waiting to pickup school teachers. Initially reluctant, after hearing our story, agreed to drop us on double payment to Ukhimath guest house. We had kept our extra luggage there.
The manager was very cooperative and the super efficient cook served us hot delicious meal, in just half an hour. They also helped us to arrange for transport back to Haridwar as our tempo traveller was still stuck at Sari road block.
Lucky we were, to see clear view of Kedarnath mountain with Kedar matha at the backdrop at Ukhimath.
This was not the end of our adventurous journey, we faced the road blocks due to the heavy traffic coming from Gangotri from opposite direction. The skilled and caring drivers managed to drop us at Haridwar station before time, to head us back home with TONS of lifetime memories.
Though it was the end of the eventful and memorable seven days it has already made an everlasting impression…. so deep that it is already an invitation to come back and begin new adventure…
I think once one starts getting tuned with the Nature, the energy starts flowing. One starts understanding the Nature’s language and signs. What is required is to shift the focus inside… I wish I could always be in so much harmony with the Nature… the journey of an Alchemist is always on..