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Roopkund Day 7: WAN and the end of the trek

Today would be the final day of the trek as we would descend to wan a small village in the foothills and from there we would be picked by vehicles which would be waiting for us and transport us back to loharjung thus completing the trek.

As usual the weather was misty when we began the trek and it had not started to rain. The beginnning was a descent and everyone were walking quite fast and many of us took the wrong turn at one place only to hear shouts from those the fork asking us to come back. Soon we were on the right track and we were heading towards wan

The route we took was through a oak forest. Overnight rains had made the ground slippery and slushy.

The slush made walking difficult and there were places where the route wasnt clear. Luckily for us the guys who had gone ahead had marked the path, which made it easier for us to follow

The downhill descent continued for some more time, and as usual it was raining intermittently. Soon we reached a river and the ascent started again

The River

An hour of ascending and we could see the signboards to wan.  Another couple of hours of walking and we could see houses.

We went past a big temple and reached a tea shop. A short break and we reached the road where the jeep was waiting. After a rickety ride we were back at loharjung thus completing an exciting trek.

Things however werent so smooth for those who were behing me, srusthi, sam and harsha who had just got in the jeep. We were promised 3 vehicles so that everyone would reach the basecamp together, however this wasnt provided.The others had to wait quite a long time before they were picked up and no doubt they were upset by the time they reached the camp.

We voiced our concerns to the organizers during the small party we had and the organizers promised to look into this as this was a major goofup. Apart from this the entire trek was well organized.

Snaps from my cam

Consolidated snaps

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Roopkund Day 6: Roopkund

We woke up early morning only to find it still raining. It took a couple more hours for the rain to stop before we could start the climb to roopkund.

The staff from indiahikes were ahead and were cutting steps in the ice with others following them. We were told to place to foot exactly where they had placed theirs in order to avaoid slipping.

On the way to roopkund

The climb was slow as everyone were wary about not slipping. The higher we climbed the more snow we could see.

Miles and Miles of snow

It began to drizzle in between, however with no shelter anywhere we continued the climb,with breaks in between.

The climb was proceeding smoothly when all of  a sudden nutty slipped and slid down a long way. Though it looked great he was up on his feet and and was climbing already.

Nutty Sliding Down

He was given a huge applause when he rejoined us as it looked a bit scary from where we were.  Another couple of hours of climbing and we finally reached roopkund lake. Everyone were glad to have reached the lake and there was celebrations all round.

Roopkund Lake

Everyone were busy with taking snaps and soon it was time to headback as we had reached roopkund at 10.30. After bidding goodbye to the lake.

The gang at the lake

The descent was even more more tricky than climbing up as we were told to dig in our heels first before keeping the rest of the foot. We had to tread carefully else it was again a downhill journey for us. Arun for some reason was slipping continously as he couldnt maintain his balance on the ice.

Finally after seeing arun slip and slide quite a few times, lokesh began yelling at arun asking him to concentrate on walking and not to let his mind wander.

There were a couple of descents where everyone got to slid down the ice and it was kind a fun doing it.

We reached baguwasa by lunch time and we had to pack our bags to get back to Bedni. There was still a long way to go. The rain had started again and after lunch it was time to head back to bedni. A few of us started while the rest of group were still packing.

The wind was blowing very hard by the time we reached kalu vinayak and after a short stop it was a downhill descent all the way. It was raining intermittently as we continued the downhill journey.

The rain had stopped for sometime and when the mist cleared we could see the bugyal’s in all its glory. The vast expanse of greenary in front of our eyes ws mind blowing. Quickly snapped a couple of snaps before the mist could cover the place again

The bugyals in all its glory

We still had a long way to go and myself and srusthi who were walking together had to pick up the pace as we had to reach the camp before nightfall. With the rain continuing, we could finally pick our pace after reaching the fork in the road. A few more hours of walking and we could see bedni kund.

However we didnt know how to reach the kund. After shouting a couple of times, we found a IH staff running towards us. We followed him and he showed us the route to get to the kund.  He asked us if anyone else had gone ahead of us as the path would go all the way to ali bugyal and its quite easy to get lost here. We replied in negative and headed to the kund. It was already 7.30 by the time we reached the camp. Benji, Suhas and few others and few others had already reached and were relaxing. It could another hour for the rest of them to arrive.

Everyone were too tired to even move out of their tents and as a result dinner was served in the tents itself. It was a welcome relief hitting the sleeping bags after a hard day of trekking.

The trek would come to and end tomorrow as we would go to wan and then back to loharjung via cabs

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Roopkund Day 5: Bhaguabasa and the first look at icy himalayas

It was misty morning when we woke up and the sun was just peeping out of the clouds. We were expecting the sun gods to be smiling today as we headed to bhaguabasa with varun, surya sir and few others who were slow left early while the rest of us started a little late

Lokesh was leading the way and myself and benji following him, with others following us closely. The weather was good and we were racing ahead. Soon myself, sam, benji were quite far ahead. Lokesh who had caught us by then asked us to slow down as the guides asked us to stop at the intersection where the route divides into two

We reached the intersection soon and took a longish break waiting for others to catch

With nothing much to do , a few of them decide to spend their time playing thepli while waiting for others

High altitude game

With others catching up with us, we continued on our way again. The weather had become misty again and we soon reached a couple of large dome type tents where we had a break and had our lunch. The misty weather had turned worse as it was raining by the time we headed out.

The climb to Bhaguabasa began from the tents and it was a steep climb all the way. My pace which was good till then had slowed down dramatically. We were inching our way towards the top when sam showed me ice formations a short distance from where we were

First look at ice

The ice made us to climb even faster and soon we were at kalu vinyak temple.

Kalu Vinayak Temple

It was ice,ice all the way and we had a great time taking snaps. Soon we reached the campsite which was admist beautiful snow capped mountains. The rain had temporarily stopped by the time we reached the camp

Camp admist snow capped mountains

The rain which had stopped temporarily had started again. We were relaxing in our tents, when lokesh came to have a breifing with us. Roopkund looked very difficult in the rain and several theories were discussed. After lot of discussions and deliberations it was finally decided that depending on the weather conditions the next day we would climb till 11 in the morning and then return back, even if it means not being able to see the lake

The weather had made all our plans go haywire and finally after lot of discussions we agreed to the plan.Dinner was soon served and we hit the sleeping bags, with hopes of a clear weather the next day

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Roopkund Day 4: Ali and Bedni Bugyal

The weather which was clear turned bad at night and it began to rain heavily. The rain had not subsided in the morning when we got up, and this was the sign of things to come for the rest of the trek. It was initially decided we would leave at 6 in the morning was postponed to 7 and by the time we left didna it was 7.45

The initial climb was easy and as we entered the forest the steepness increased. As usual myself and benji were ahead with the rest of the guys following us. The trail was pretty straight forward and we continued the climb with short breaks in between.

A couple of hours of climbing and we reached a place where the trail came to an end. We were looking around for the continuation and soon found it. The steepness increased as we climbed further up and soon we could find the clearing from where we could see the vast expanse of the grasslands

Finally around 10.10 me, benji and poonam reached ali bugyal. We had noticed mist covering the area and we were hoping we could get a clear view once we reached the top

Ali Bugyal Covered in Mist

The guide who had reached ahead of the rest of the group asked us to go to the pond a little further up and wait for the rest of the group to arrive. We were also asked to have our packed lunch while waiting

The pond and the mist

The mist had played spoilsport and we were deprived of the magnificient view everyone were expecting from the bugyals

We waited for the others to join us and after they finished their lunch we started towards bedni bugyal which would be our camp for the day. The mist would clear occasionally revealing the greenary everywhere. Those who were in front were happy to pose of a few shots

Greenary everywhere and happy faces amongst mist

3 more hours of trekking and finally we reached our camp site which was situated admist mountains. As usual we got hot pakoras, soup and tea upon reaching the camp. It was drizzling intermittently when we arrived at the camp and the place as usual was clouded in mist.

Lokesh told us since we had already gained sufficient altittude, there was no need to go for an acclimatization walk. However those who were interested in venturing out, bedni kund and the tea shop were the attractions nearby

With nothing much to a few of us headed out to bedni kund which was covered in mist. The kund is a fresh water expanse of water which was surrounded by a wall with mountains on either side. There is a saraswathi temple near the pond, which people visit during the nanda devi raj jat which happens every 12 years

Bedini Kund and the temples

Having spent some time there taking snaps we headed for the tea shop to have some tea before going back to the camp.

Dinner was served and it was nap time. With the ascent to baguwasa starting the next day

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Roopkund Day 3: The ascent to Didna

With a good night sleep, everyone were up early the next day as we would start the trek from today.

However before the we started the trek, we had to complete a few formalities such as handing over our medical cert and disclaimers and getting our trek passes. Once this was done, we were put through a few stretching exercises to help us loosen our body before the start of the trek. We spent about half hour doing the exercises and then we were all set for the trek.

A customary photo at the start and we were off to didna which would be our camp for the firs day

All set to conquer roopkund

  The initial part of the trek was through a jeep track which connects loharjung to wan. Since everyone were charged up, we were moving at a good pace. The scenary was beautiful and we proceeded along taking snaps along the way. We could see didna which looked quite far away from where we were

Didna at a distance

We soon reached a place which had a couple of houses and we had to take a detour through the village.  Our next stop would be a river which was passing below where we would have our packed lunch and then move ahead.

It was downhill descent and we reached the river soon. A short break for lunch and we started the climb to didna

The ascent was slow in the beginning as we had to navigate our way through the stony steps. Benji, me and couple others were in the lead following lokesh, while the others were behind us. A couple of breaks and we continued our climbing

Finally after 2-3 hrs of climbing me and benji reached didna village with the rest following closely

Didna Village and the scenic beauty

We were welcomed to the camp with rose juice followed by hot soup. While resting our tired bodies, pakodas was served which was went down everyone’s throat the moment it came from the kitchen.

After taking sufficient rest lokesh asked us to get ready for an acclimatization walk which will help us later on when we have to trek to junargali. The walk would be for 10-15 min and we would ascend another 200mts or so. Soon everyone got ready and left for the walk. We climbed for 10 min and reached a small clearing where we could see loharjung and the lush green mountains as far as the eye can see.

We spent some time there before heading back to the camp.

At Camp @Didna

Soon it was time for dinner and time to hit the sack as we had to climb to ali/bedni bugyal the next day, which are the two highest meadows in asia

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Roopkund Day2: The drive to loharjung

After a relaxing overnight journey the gang reached kathgodam station and were ready to head to the basecamp in loharjung.

The Gang

It was a pleasant day when we started the ride, however upon inquiry we came to know it had rained heavily the previous night. Every one were in good spirits and soon the long drive to loharjung which was 270 kms from khatgodam had began

After driving for a short distance we had our first stop for breakfast. The mist on the far away mountains made the place ideal for a photoshoot and everyone were busy clicking away after ordering breakfast

The green mountains

The journey continued with a couple of breaks and soon it was time for lunch. The weather had turned cloudy and it was drizzling. The valley from the hotel where we had stopped had a panaromic view which just had to be clicked

The valley

It was back to the road after lunch and the journey continued.

A few hrs of driving and we had a last stop of tea and then it was all the way to loharjung. The drizzle was continous as we headed to the basecamp. Finally we reached the camp around 7 in the evening.

We were welcomed there by Ayan Bramha who was the camp manager there. Tea and refreshments were served and we had a discussion about the trek where Bramha introduced our trek leader Lokesh who would be accompanying us for the trek.

Soon it was time to hit the sack as the march to roopkund would begin the next day

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Roopkund – Day 1: Delhi

Roopkund a skeletal lake located in uttarachal was the destination for this year’s himalayan trek.  This trek was in pipeline for a long time and when checking my FB account, I saw my friend benji posting an update saying he would be going to roopkund in june. The trek was organized Indiahikes and I immediately joined.

With the bookings done we were all set to conquer roopkund along with the rest of the 15 member gang.

We landed in delhi at 11 on fri and we had more than 10 hrs to spare as our train to khatgodam was at 10.40 at night. With srusthi heading to her uncle’s house and poonam going to her college, me, benji and sam had enough time to roam around delhi

We decided to first visit Red fort, which was nearest to the airport. It was already hot when we landed in delhi and it soon became even hotter

Red Fort

We went to red fort first and roamed around for a while and by the time we finished the tour it was time for lunch. Sam wanted to go to karim’s which is very popular non-veg resturant in delhi. Asking for directions we proceeded and we found we had to go via jumia masjid to reach the hotel. A couple of snaps of the majsid and we were on our way to the hotel

Jumia Masjid and old delhi

Asking a couple more people, we finally reached karim’s which was just in the alley next to the masjid and after having a sumptuous lunch we then left for qutub minar, which is a masterpiece of mughal architecture

View from outside of the qutub minar complex

I spent some time taking snaps of the monument and the complex, while benji and sam decided to cool off in the shade outside.

Qutub Minar and the complex

By the time I finished the photoshoot it was 4 in the afternoon. With the temperatures soaring, any plans of going to jantar mantar had to be shelved. Instead we headed to the railway station and spent the rest of the time there waiting for the clock to strike 10.40. Dinner was at mcd where we met the rest of the guys and boarded the train to khatgodam

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