Sunday, September 28, 2014

Roopkund Trek With India Hikes - Day 1


Today was the first day of our Trek. Needless to say we were excited about it. 

Wake Up To The View

After an extremely long and tiring journey from Kathgodam to Lohajung, it was certainly an effort to wake up early in the morning. However, I would love to wake up early any day to the view we were presented.



Oximeter Reading

The first thing we did was the oximeter reading. I got a reading of 97 and that was all thanks to the Diamox we were taking.



The dinner last night was pretty good. And the same trend continued. Day started with a cup of black tea, which in my opinion was more of a herbal infusion, but it did taste amazing. There was regular tea with breakfast. The breakfast spread was huge. There was bread-butter, bread-jam, honey, porridge, cereal and milk.



Guys Fall In




After the headcount we had general instructions and tips. And then our trek lead - Saranbir Singh, showed us how to pack our rucksack. Some of them being

  • Rucksack should have good back support and be right length for your back. 
  • It should not be more than 65 liters as, we never carry more than that. 
  • Ranger roll cloths and put them in the rucksack.
  • Always carry a dry sock in the bag to wear when you sleep. Its ok to trek in wet socks but not ok to sleep in them 
  • Cut toe nails before the trek 
  • Do not use perfume as it dehydrates, use deodrant. 
  • Tea bags placed in shoes kills the stink. Helpful at night.

We also learnt that the trek lead carries a oxygen cylinder and med kit, so that was reassuring. We were given fleece inner for sleeping bags. I bought a poncho of India Hikes for 400 bucks. It was actually pretty good. 

There was an option to offload the rucksacks and carry a small bag instead. I did not choose that, however those who did had their bags put on mules. There was also this neat option to leave things in a trunk at the base camp. 

Eco bags

Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra happens every year through the same route we were going to trek. And this causes a lot of littering on the trail. India Hikes had this amazing concept of cleaning up the trail as we trek. We were given eco-bags to keep the trash we collect and then we could dispose them at camps.

Start Trekking

We started on our trek with dry ration of biscuit and bananas that India Hikes gave us. It was a rather sunny day and that is what made me feel tired rather than the general difficulty of the terrain. The trail was rather easy actually. It wasn't very steep or difficult.

We filled water from a stream and it was a pleasure drinking pure Himalayan water for free.

Soon we crossed Neelganga. We also saw a waterfall named Sona-Jharna. we were warned there might be leeches after that, but we didn't encounter any. We crossed a number of bridges and streams. We halted at one point where there was a platform made in the middle of a small flat land. It is used for placing some deity during festivals.
Every one was experiencing some discomfort but things were usually fine after sometime. Drinking water and breathing helps a lot. The trekking pole we were carrying was really helpful too.

Towards the end of our trek there were clouds approaching, it started raining. And when we reached Didina, it started to rain heavily. Soon the weather changed and it was sunny. By evening it was cold.
















I couldn't see more than 10-15 houses in Didina but we were told there are more. We went for an acclimatization walk in Didina . There were a couple of stories that we were told. While people wanted to hear ghost stories, there were none, as this place is known as the land of gods.

When Shiv and Parvati were going past this place, Parvati lost some jewelry. They searched a lot but didn't find them. So they went to some locals and told them if they find it then to "de dena" which means "give" in Hindi and that became Didina.

Parvati and Shiva were going to Kailash, they reached Ali Bugyal. Parvati had a Pitara(Box). It was lost. So Shiva came and asked for help. The lid of the box fell at Sona-Jharna and the place was named Tala-Sona and the place where the Jharna(Waterfall) starts was named Mala Sona.

Shiva was doing meditation at this place . Parvati decided to carry on . She had her jewels in a box and she didn't realize when she lost it. She kept looking for it. Shiva was all knowing, so he knew where it fell. The villagers saw Parvati searching and were worried. So they went to Shiva and worshiped him and requested him to - "de dena" and so the place was named after that.

Himalayan griffon is a huge vulture. It gets the biggest prey and stays at one place for 6-8 months. It pricks out all its feathers and hits claws against rocks. The first flight it takes with the new feathers is flight of rebirth.

While we did see Himalayan griffons, I couldn't find anything to substantiate this story though. Looks like its a myth









Gharwali is the local language spoken here.

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