The Best trek of my life (at least till now)
08.10.2008 - 18.10.2008
By the time we reached Song it was around 12.30 and it was time for trek.
But first, there was something to be dealt with. We already had had over lunch, so it was the Forrest Officials. Well Indian govt has something big for hidden or indirect income. So, in my own country to enter a govt owned place and just to trek it they took 60 Bucks per head.
In Uttranchal to trek the govt levies 60 INR per head for trekking and 50 INR per night if you have tents. I have heard that in Kumaon region its 50 INR and in Gharwal its 100 INR .
Yes, the govt takes money from you for the tent you carried all the way from home and that to on a per nigh basis. But we didn't know this. We let Balwant do the talking and then we started the hike. That's when Balwant told me this. My Cousin was trying to keep pace with me and i was trying to keep pace with Balwant forgetting that he was a local guy. In 15 mins Jana (my cousin) made the first halt. Then for the next 20-25 mins we were halting ever now and then. I was also stopping here and there, bitching myself for not being able get into the groove. Balwant was telling us not to push ourselves. I was asking my cousin not to drink too much water.
Generally, its is perceived that having too much food or water while on the move weighs u down.
Well Day 1 of trek ended without much more events, except that i had an over ambitious target of covering 14 kms on but could do only 3 kms. We ended the trek very early (around 3 o clock) and that was a good decision. We got some time to acclimatize also as Balwant predicted, it rained that day around 5 and it was damn heavy. We had just put up our tent for the night and rain came with strong winds. Strong winds at that heights(Loharket is at around 1600 mts height) i did not think my Alaska all wheather tent of Rs. 8000 /- would last. But to my pleasant surprise it did. We had dinner delivered from Balwant's brother Pyarelal's house which was right next to the tent. We met his cute little daughter Laxmi. She must be 12 or smtng. She was our delivery girl. Anything we want, Laxmi was here. lol.
Actually its possible to skip Song- Loharket trek by taking a jeep, its quite costly, time wasting and most importantly, this distance is a very good primer for the trek. Its better to take this part than skip
Day 2 of trek was planned to start very early, around 6' in the morning. It started a little late but with some shock. We paid the heftiest bill of something close to 200 bucks for the dinner, and breakfast to Pyarelal. Balwant had promised to carry jana's bag till after noon as he was heading for Dhakuri to meet some friend. Dhakuri was the next halt point. Some where around 11 Kms. The PWD (govt body) had done its part of making the trek difficult by spoiling the route in the name of making it better. Then my shoes, that had served me for last 4 years gave way as their soles started coming off. The trek was too tough but the small waterfalls, great scenery and Balwant's pep talk kept us moving. I can't put pics or words to define the beauty of this place. No man made monument, palace or bridge could compete with this. Still, we didn't know it was gonna get better.
Just before reaching Dhakuri, we came to a tomb. It was of german Peter Korst. He was there trekking with his family when he got a heart attack. We stopped for moment to pay our respects to him, then had a tea in the nearby tea shop and started for the last 1 km to Dhakuri. We had our lunch there, Balwant introduced us to his friends, gave us info on further route, we said goodbyes to him a big hug and Rs 1500 (which he did not ask for). The lunch Balwant got us at the PWD guest house at Dhakuri also i felt was costly. We were now all alone and started for Khati. I was happy and sad. Happy because now there was no guide so we were our masters, could bargain with anybody(in India bargaining should be an Undergraduate Program). Sad because my shoe was dead meat, now i was trekking in sandals. We also dumped Jana's bag, we put all those cant avoid things into my bag and Balwant took Jana's bag with him back. The agreement with Jana was that i would carry the bag uphill and he when ever we go down hill.
actually in this trek, Song to Dhakuri is the toughest, so u get here u should be out of your mind to stop. Dhakuri is at a height of 2680 mts, but on the way from Loharkhet to Dhakuri u gain a lot of height in the first 10 kms and drop a lot of height in hte last 1 km. The last 1 km is smtng like u can just roll down.
Trek to khati was quite simple, mostly downhill, around an hour before reaching Khati we met a little girl standing on the trek route. She said "Namsate , Mitayi". [Hello, chocolate]. I didn't have any chocolates, so i said sorry, she kept repeating and i felt too sad. I gave her some glucose and then i heard smtng like a war cry. I turned to find, some 10-15 kids running in for glucose. hahaha! Poor things they had to eat glucose instead of Choclates and were still happy. We reached kahti and there in a open space near Tara Hotel we set our tent up. There were some foreigners and a Indian family there for the night. I did my round of bargain with Tara, the hotel owner for food and we fixed the price at 30 bugs for a plate of Roti, 2 side dishes , rice and dal.
As we were setting up the tent a big gang of kids were there to see us as if we were some circus touring the country. All wanted sweets, we taught them to shake hands and say hello . They saw the camera in Jana's hand and wanted their pics to be taken. There was this little girl Meena, with a head load of grass. She was looking just beautiful for a solo pic. We obliged and the kids were happy. Still everybody was hanging around to see us set the tent up. I was feeling as if i was writing an exam with 10-15 invigilators just to watch on me. We set the tent up and then the Indian guy joined us for a chat, pretty talkative, a Bengali doctor, he virtually didn't give much time for the Italian to speak. Still we obliged both and it was fun. Night at Tara's kitchen , where food was being cooked with forest wood and twigs we met a German. Some software related guy. These days, software guys are everywhere , lol. Our conversation went from software, labor laws, cricket to Bundisliga.
The next day morning as soon as i got up and opened the tent, i got a shock of my life, right ahead of me, there was this snow capped mountain. Damn, yesterday the clouds had covered it and we knew that there was mountain to the left of out tent and small hill right ahead, but such a clear view, damn! I was jumping up and down as if Bugs Bunny got the last carrot on earth. It was 5.45 in the morning and i thought i woke up the whole of the neighborhood.
One thing for ppl trekking to Pindari, the local ppl are really good irrespective of what the ppl on the bus and Bageshwar tell you. If a local is involved in tourism he/she will be trying to make some money out of ya. So better not encourage such people . While trekking carry some biscuits or bread as halt points are too far from each other for a beginner. Also don't worry about water, there a lot of these small water falls across the route. Every local related to tourism will ask you if he can guide you. This trek to Pindari glacier is one i believe you can easily do without a guide