Har ki Doon 2006 - Day 4 to 15 by Anoop

This is a travelogue by Anoop. 'I' refers to Anoop. and VG is me. Lachu refers to Sandeep. Dont get confused! I am using the liberty to put in on my blog without any copyright issues, because I was the one who typed his hand written 10 page document.

Day 4
The day began at 5 (:-() with bed tea. After the camp routine we were ready to leave by 7.45. Our guide for the day was Surinder alias Salman. This guy sings so well and plays the flute so well and a true entertainer. Now about the stretch. We were to climb to Juda Talao at 8500 ft. in 4 kms. The climb was reasonably steep. For most of you who know me, I am still having a good lung capacity. We did a climb with lots of break. Every time we take rest Surinder was there with his Garwahli songs. "Lachi Tero Naam" is a popular tune in this place. Btw, on our way we met Parbina's sister Bina. It would be so unfair if I dont describe the route. Nature here was expressing her beauty through the innumerable conifers. My snaps are descriptive of what we saw. At our lunch point we saw the first "Bakri fight". After lunch Surinder was in too good a mood. We listened to another Gujjar also. The next stretch was tiring. I followed a golden rule prescribed by Tensing (courtsey Gangadhar of HD13) - "Take 25 steps that u can take". We reached Juda Talao at 3.30. The talab had nearly dried, but still provided a good view with the conifers in the background. The camp leaders were Dhave and Krishnan (a birdwatcher). After a welcome drink, we went for an outing to the most beautiful site of this camp. It was amazing place. We clearly saw the peaks on the east. Chaukhamba was an amazing peak. After some bird hunting with Sanjay, we were back. Sanjay is a kid in 4th std. but with a true spirit to learn anything. One important thing for new trekkers is about attending to nature's call. If you are male there is a big jungle at your disposal, but if you are female, there are some temporary latrines. There were clouds and by 7.30 we were blessed with drops of water. Time for campfire and it started raining. Once we entered our tents there were two big spiders to welcome us. Aman and Aditya were so afraid that we couldnt sleep till 9.30. Next morning after the daily camp routine we were now ready.

Day 5
Today our trek began at 8. Our destination was Kedarkantha at 10500 ft. at a distance of 8kms from Juda Talao. Our guide for half the distance was Ranvir Singh. Definitely not as talented as Surinder, but a more sensible guide. He never let us relax too much and as a result we covered the first 4kms by 12.30. I should mention one real big tragedy that struck me today. Midway thru the first stretch, as I was filling bottles for the group from a stream, my cam fell into the water, fully drowned (:-(). Ridham cleared the water from the battery case. The display had lots of water trapped in it. Every minute I enjoyed with the group, I was personally in deep sorrow. Just hoping that it works, I put the batteries and all I found was that it had died. May Sun God help me.The next stretch was guided by Madan Singh,, a boring guy. We went smoothly thru this easy stretch. The camp leader of Kedarkantha, Pradeep Srivastava was there to welcome us. Today our welcome drink was lemon juice. The beauty of the place was unfolding. A plain stretch of grass with lovely mountains on all sides. Now the important thing, the treeline, our male sh*t and P point. It was too far. Folks we played cricket at 10500 ft. Each one got 5 balls and the pitch had some swing. After a round of soup and dinner it was time for camp fire. The camp fire was good with jokes and music. My cam is still sleeping. We slept and I was woken at 1.30 again by my bowel. Called up VG and went for a star gazing to the treeline. It was simply memorable to sit out watching stars and sh*ting. We came back to the tent and praying to lord almighty I switched on my cam. It worked!!! (Some of u can feel my happiness). The next day is going to be good.

Day 6
Bed tea at 5 and pack off at 7.00. Today the destination was Dhundha 9kms. from Kedarkantha and on our way we go to the highest point of our trek at 12500 ft. Dhairya was this boy from Maharashtra, who was unwell last night. He was finding it difficult to breathe. Our day started by 7.30 It was a 3 km uphill trek to the peak and then 6 kms down hill to Dhundha. Within half a km this guy was feeling too bad. The camp leader decided to get him back. Oh I forgot to mention our guide for this uphill stretch. Today Vir Singh took us. He was real good for his task. He commandeered us so steadily that no one felt the toughness of the stretch. I had some photography exercise today. But after a panoramic snap of the mountain from the peak point, my cam stopped to respond. THis time 'E18'. Crazy Canon. The next stretch was through a ridge. On either sides there were deep valleys. The wind was strong. The trek path was wide. After a gradual downhill stretch, there came a real steep one. I really had a tough time coming down. Now our lunch point had come. After lunch, the stretch was a real easy one. Everyone reached the camp with less trouble. As I am writing this, the rest of the camp is enjoying the nature. Continuing from where I left, I went out to enjoy the sunset. It was one rare site. The snow mountains were opening. Amavas got over last night and today there was the first sight of moon. I had light dinner and then it was time for campfire (tentfire). The second gents tent was the site. We have Sharmaji who is a king of many trades. We had an entertaining session. As soon as we came out, the stars had filled the sky. I couldnt capture it in the camrea but folks, the sky today night was a once ina lifetime sight.

Day 7
The day began early as the stretch ahead was long and supposedly the toughest. After the normal rounds we bid farewell to Mangarish, our camp leader. We were to continue on the ridge. It was 10-11 kms to Talauti. The day was clear and we saw every possible mountain on the route. As we climbed the ridge it was dead end for us on either sides. But the snow cover at far end and the greenery with the bed of flowers were giving the feel of heaven. We were on "top of the world" at several points. At some points we did see some snow just enough to feel. But have to tell this stretch has several points where extra care was demanded. After lunch and tea point stoppages we reached a final strip that was a simple and downhill. We were welcomed by Sharma, our next camp leader. The camp site was not all that great compared to the previous ones. This time we had rockline (again pretty far). The next thing we did was potato bonda. The night was chilly. The campfire was again a musical one. Today, I also presented my voice. I sang a malayalam song. Today VG was slightly unwell. He had stomach pain. After a good tentfire we left for sleep.

Day 8
The day began late for the first time. We got up at 6.30 and packed off at 8.00. Today the destination was Lekha Thatch (large plain between the hills). It was 15 kms from our camp. Mostly downhill. The initial part was a gentle downhill trek through the forest. The silence of the forest was disturbing once in a while by the chirping of many unknown birds. The trek stretch reached lunch point on the banks on Shian river. All of us took bath and washed our clothes. After a reasonably long break we started teh uphill trek. The first 100 metres was damn steep. It was close to 70 degrees. Payal, 10th std kid, was trembling as she was climbing. We had a stiff climb and most people had some trouble. We were heading to village Datmir. Our camp was a couple of kms ahead of Datmir. At the entry of the village, there was a temple of Someswar. Someswar is the common deity of 22 villages. The lord himself decided which village to rest. The deity is carried around these 22 villages. It is said that if the lord is made angry he creates havoc. The localities say that there have been instances when a whole village was washed away by flood. The final 2 kms was finished at real fast pace by Aditya and me. Actually I was furious at the leisure pace of others. To welcome us was Ramesh Matre, the camp leader. We didnt have welcome drink and had a tea by 5.40. The sh*t and P point here was called "gopal bhoomi". The camp site was in front of a stream. We had dinner of khichdi and kadi. For once I had lots of food. After dinner the whole group wanted to take rest. That meant no campfire. Forgot to mention about Jyoti. Jyoti fell badly and had partially injured her right cheek. The next day's stretch was the easiest and so we were to get up late. Happy we go off to sleep. gnight.

Day 9
Fresh after a long sleep all of us freshened up and were ready to leave by 8.30. We had paratha and choley for breakfast. The second last destination was Seema 6kms from Lekha Thatch at 8500 ft. Our challenge today was to delay our trek as much as possible. So all we did was to slow down our steps. We passed through a village and were moving along Rupin river. As we moved uphill the valley was looking spectacular. The river was coming down and was furious as we went up. Our only stop point was a tea point. These guys were looting us with exorbitant rates. After lunch we climbed the last 2 kms in half an hour. The camp leader, Natraj welcomed us. After tea and soup I started my session with the diary. The river besides was growing violent. The camp leader told that the water level rose by 1 foot. The cloud were fast coveringus. The rain was on its way. The group wanted to take rest for the next day and I didnt force a campfire. After sometime ourside the tent I went to sleep.

Day 10
Our ultimate destination was beckoning us. We were to go to Har ki Doon at 11200 ft, 16 kms from Seema. This stretch is well described through my lens. I have taken snaps of the valley we left behind and the valley that unfolds ahead of us. We crossed the river Rupin and walked along the green hills further came wheat farm and the 1 km that we walked through was a very different experience. VG, Aditya and me separated from the rest and sped forward. We reached lunch point by 12.30 and quickly finished our lunch. As the rest of the group reached the "waterfall" lunch point, we left. Our attempt was to go to Maninda Tal after reaching the tent. It was like we had nitro boost and so we sped to the destination. At 3 we entered the valley and no words can describe what we saw. It was a heavenly feel. 50 metres down was our tent right in the Har ki Doon (Doon means valley). To my left as I was looking down at our tent, was Har Ki peak, then the Jaundar glacier and to right was Swargarohini peak. It is said that no one has scaled this peak so far. We rushed to the tent and were welcomed by Deepender Tokas, our camp leader. Changed to our winter gear and by 3.30 VG, Sandeep, Aditya and me left the campsite with the hope of seeing Maninda Tal. We walked till 4.45 but still were far from the first sight of the Tal. With little time left for sunset we had to return but still we were fortunate enough to see some of the farther peaks. By 5.15 we were back and the rest of the group reached. After tea, we had lots of fun. It was Ridham's birthday and we (Sandeep) did give him a feel of bumps, the IIT style. After dinner there were two separate 'tent' fires. One of the girls and one of the guys. The guys had a 'non-vveg' gathering. By 9 we all came back to our respective tents for sleep.

Day 11
Most of us got up by 5.30. The relaxation point at this camp was river side. Aman, Aditya and me set out to scale Swargarohini (:-)) for better relaxation spot. We went quite some distance. We had a closer view of the mountains. By 8.30 we were ready to pack off. VG did his Sandya Vandanam today morning. What a place to do!!! I am supposed to be a fast walker on most terrains. All my life, my amma and my friends have scolded me for this (:-() To test my patience, I decided to be the last man. All along VG and I were at the back. It must be a surprise to most of you but I did it today. All through I sang most songs I knew. It was so wonderful to walk alone singing through the Har ki Doon valley. VG and I made sure that the slower ladies of our group reached safely. The camp leader here at Seema provided juice and potato fingers. To welcome us here was HD25 who are yet to see the ultimate destination. Then we rested our tiring legs and waited for dinner. Post dinner we had a good tent fire. Due to the cold outside we failed to join HD25 for a campfire outside. The campfire was long and lasted for an hour. All of us slept by 9.

Day 12
It was time to tick fast as most of us badly wanted to get in touch with our families. The morning began with thoughts of trekking 26kms to reach base camp and leave tomorrow. But the ladies werer not in a mood. By the end of the first stretch, most of us realised how ambitious our plan was. We started by 8. Our destination was Taluka, a village 14kms downhill. On our way was Lekha Thatch. The first stretch was familiar. Again I remained the last man in this first stretch till Lekha Thatch. At lunch point we were told that we were close to out camp. But the final camp was really far. The post lunch trek was the first time we saw good rain in the day. The rain halted for sometime and resumed soon. It was ok for this route as there were decently laid stone steps. We crossed the river at the river floor and further trekked to Taluka. By 3 we reached our tea point. After tea the walk was wonderful. We had foggy jungle on one side and river moving away from us. By 4 we reached our camp. This area is land slide prone. The camp leader here was Sharukh Khan (Nickname). We had tea and peanuts as welcome snacks. Now this guy is knowledgable. He spoke about the people here, flora fauna and everything around. After dinner, for a change we decided to have our camp fire outside. We had Aman to entertain us with his mimicry of the rest of the group. Sharukh also had his share of songs. It was time for the last day of trek.

Day 13
The morning for the last time started in the usual manner. The return trek to Sankri was 9 kms of kucha road. Everyone wanted to finish it off ASAP. In 2 hrs we completed this stretch. Once we got back it was time for the big bath. VG, Ridham, Aman and my shaved before the bath. The lunch was good. In fact as soon as we arrived, most of us checked our weight. I weighed 65 and VG 60. After bath I slept for sometime. Evening time we went for shopping and the camp fire programmes were being set. At 8, we started a really big camp fire. After certificates we had programmes from the group. The group received acclaim for its discipline. At 10.15 we went off to sleep.

Day 14
At 7, we were ready for the journey to Dehradun. Got into the bus and it was a jolly trip back. We reached Damta for lunch and then by 5.30 we were at Dehradun. We followed a slightly different route back. Once back we went out for writing CDs of the photographs. Then Ridham and Hetal sponsored a dinner at Pizza Hut. We were back by 10.45. The last event still remains. The rafting in Ganga.

Day 15
At 6, we were ready to take off. We very nearly took over the whole of a bus and reached Hrishikesh by 8.15. Took a vikram to Muni Ki Reti where we werer to report at the tourist guest house. By 9.30 we were ready for the much sought event. In a jeep we reached the site. 6 of us carried the raft to the water which in itself was something to remember. Following that we saw some rafts toplle and most of the members were apprehensive. Once the rafting session started it was fun. After the first rapid, in section, we jumped out to float in ganga. There are few simple commands of rafting - All forward, all backward, hold and relax. All one has to do is to take a dip is to hold the rope of the raft. But remember to come back to the raft somebody within has to pull u in holding the life jacket. By 11.45 we were back at the room. Packed up our things and we set out to find some shop to duplicate the CDs. But all we ended up was knowing the happy news of Ridham passing his B Com. Then we had lunch and the D (Delhi) company left. We had an emotional farewell. We got into a lousy bus and it took us 9 hrs to reach delhi. The Gujju guys Sanket and Bhavin stayed back at Gujarati Samaj at ISBT. At 12.00 midnight VG, Sandeep and I were at IIT.


Anonymous said…
hey VG....really a gr8 trip man.....seriously i m thinking "kaash maine bhi yeh trip join kii hoti...."...i m remembering out manali trip.....it gives some chill feeling to me.....i m missing those days....neways....u had a gr8 time.....congrats.....
Anonymous said…
hi guys, it is really fantastic. i really impressed by reading all this i really miss hd-23. it is really really very good. keep it up!
Mukesh Agarwal said…
Tempting man! ..guess we can go another time again ..! and a nice short description ...Anoop, best was 'It was simply memorable to sit out watching stars and sh*ting'.. guess u had joy of lifetime :)

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