My mountains were calling and I had to go… As my readers know, I’m very close to nature and always keen to feel it in its originality. It had been more than a year since we last visited any hill station. To bridge this gap and to explore various shades of nature, I was looking for an opportunity. Last time we went on a road trip to Binsar, Chaukori and Munsiyari. (Give it a read by clicking here). This time I decided to encounter the mighty mountains in some different way. So, I decided to go on a trek.
I never had been on a trek before, so, for my maiden trek, I chose Indiahikes as my travel partner. This time I had to go solo as my wife was not finding herself fit for this strenuous adventure. Selecting the right trek wasn’t an easy job for me. When deciding on a destination, I usually choose a theme and try to capture the basic essence of the trip. Going through the website of Indiahikes and reading carefully the details of various treks, I realized that Ali Bedni Bugyal trek is the trek I was looking for. It has all the ingredients of a complete nature experience, river crossing, meadows, ridge walk, jungle camping, grand mountain views and what else can one expect from a single trek…
I reached Rishikesh by sleeper bus from Kanpur on Sunday morning, a day before our scheduled departure for the base camp. I booked the room at the same hotel which was our assembling point in Rishikesh and spent the entire day roaming in the temples and on the banks of Ganges.
The duration of Ali Bedni Bugyal trek was 6 days (29 March – 3 April), including two travel days from Rishikesh to the base camp at Lohajung and back. There were altogether 22 trekkers in the group.
The day started early in the morning. We left our assembling point at Livefree Hostel in Rishikesh around 5 AM. The usual route to Lohajung was closed due to construction on NH-94 so we had to take a longer route via Tehri Dam (the tallest dam in India). We stopped for a while at the dam for some clicks, although the dam was not clearly visible due to mist.
En route, we took a halt at some point on the banks of the Pindar river which originates from Pindar Glacier. We spent some good time before resuming our journey.
We reached the base camp at Lohajung in the evening around 5. Lohajung is a small village, located in the Chamoli district in Garhwal Himalayas. It is the base camp for Roopkund Trek, Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek, Brahamtal Trek, and many more. Hot tea, snacks and our wonderful TL (trek leader) Gourab Nandy were waiting for us. After taking some rest, we all assembled in a gazebo tent where everyone introduced himself/ herself to everyone else.
Later on, Gourab narrated to us about the trek, the protocols to be followed and the ideology of Indiahikes. We then had dinner and slept soon as the next day was going to be tough.
We woke up early in the morning. I think many of us couldn’t sleep well because of the excitement. By 8’o clock, we all got ready. Routine health checkups (monitoring blood pressure and blood oxygen level) of all the trekkers were done by Gourab and Siddharth (our Assistant Trek Leader).
We enjoyed the tasty breakfast served in the open area and were provided packed lunch for the day. Gourab gave us some basic tips about trekking, conducted a stretching session and introduced Bhagat Chacha and Narendra (our local guides).
Now was the time to test our endurance. When we started, it was a smooth concrete road that soon disappeared and a trail took over it.
Gourab left no stone unturned to make our trek memorable and full of fun. One such challenge he gave us, was to drink water from the stream without using any pot/ glass or even palms.
After descending for a while, we reached a flat ground and took a short break. It was followed by a bit tricky descent. The soil became loose and muddy as we approached a rivulet. We then crossed a small landslide zone, which was a little difficult for some of us.
Enjoying the views, chit-chatting, enquiring Bhagat chacha about the flora and fauna of the region and listening to his interesting stories, we reached a rivulet. The water of the stream was so chilled that just by putting our feet in it, all our tiredness and fatigue disappeared within no time. We took a much-needed break, had our lunch, and refilled our water bottles from the fresh stream water itself.
None of us, except our TL/ATL and guides, knew that the actual test of our stamina and endurance had not even begun yet. Just after finishing the lunch and crossing the bridge, we started uphill, and I must admit that it was not a piece of cake for me, if not for all of us, but in words of our TL, Gourab, “Makhan hai Makhan” (It is smooth like butter) 😀 .
We kept on ascending for almost 2-3 hrs, gaining a height of around 1500-1600 ft, taking pause at every turn, panting, motivating each other, sometimes rendering help to others, sometimes with the help of others. It was the time when I realized that how much potential we all possess, what’s required is only self-realization.
Finally, we reached beautiful Didna village at an elevation of 8135 ft. The weather was cold, the sky was very clean, without even a trace of pollution and our Bhagat Chacha was ready with a smile and lemonade for us. Since, it was the first day of the trek, all our tents were already pitched (thanks to the supporting staff). After the stretching session, we collected our sleeping bags and arranged our camps. Although we all were very tired but assembled within minutes for tea and of course never-ending stories of Bhagat Chacha.
After dinner, it was time for another activity which was meticulously curated by Gourab. Many of us went for a night village walk and stargazing. I was very tired and feeling somewhat unwell so I decided to take a rest and hence couldn’t join them and thus missed all the fun. 😦 . This marked the end of a long day 2.