| Editor’s Note: Here’s an experience shared by our trekkers, Rupali and Arka on their trek to Roopkund with Indiahikes in June 2018. Catch up with their journey on their website — The Exploring Eyes — and on Instagram.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon of June when our Indigo flight from Bengaluru to Delhi was delayed by 2.5 hours, we thought that was it. That was the end of our trek before it even begun.
We had our train leaving New Delhi station at 10:00 pm and our 4:00 pm flight from Bengaluru finally took off at 6:00 pm. We swear never in our life we waited for a flight landing that eagerly.
We rushed from airport, took the airport metro and finally reached New Delhi station at 10:45 pm. To our “luckiest” of luck, the train was delayed by 50 mins and finally we boarded the train 5 minutes before it started moving.
After such a dramatic start which followed by a 9-hour long road journey next day from Kathgodam station to Lohajung, we had enough adventure before the trek even started.
Little did we know what was in store for us over the next one week.
And it starts…(email protected) Base Camp. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Day 1: A Foresty Trail
“Let’s offload the backpack and enjoy the trek, since it is my first High Altitude Trek” , he said!
“No let’s do it with the backpack on”, she said!
And oh my god! Standing at my first ever campsite at 10,000 feet, couldn’t thank her enough for pushing me.
Climbing the secluded Oak and Rhododendron forest for more than 4 hours after crossing gurgling Neel Ganga, tents at Ghairoli Patal gave me the most homely feeling.
We swear we have stayed at better campsites, but miles away from city nestled amidst forest among chirping birds, the experience of my first night at a tent is something that will be forever with us!
Resting on the way to Ghairoli Patal. Picture by The Exploring EyesGhairoli Patal, the first campsite. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Day 2: Green, Green And More Green
“Remove your shoes and walk, you may not get a chance like this ever in your life“, Gautam, our trek leader said.
If you ask us one thing we remember from Roopkund, it would be that barefoot walk on the meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal! As we left our camp at Ghairoli, the forest started becoming thinner finally opening up to the mesmerising, breathtaking, mind-blowing alpine meadows.
Standing at more than 11,000 feet, it is the largest and greenest carpet you will ever walk on!
View from Ali Bugyal. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Day 3: A Sunset To Remember
A beach, a desert or a mountain; we have seen sunsets everywhere. But THIS was different, totally different! No words can describe the sight of the most amazing sunset at 12,000 ft over Mt Trishul.
We were walking back to our tent and in utmost excitement I turned back to call my friend when I saw this amazing shade of orange over the snowy peaks!!!
It glued our feet to the ground as we just couldn’t take away our eyes off.
A simple sunset looked magical that day. And even though no picture can define what the eyes saw, after enjoying nature’s magnificence for some time we clicked this for our memory.
It is those little moments when you expect the least and mountains take you by surprise. We live for these moments, we run to mountain for these surprises!
Sunset over Mt Trishul at Bedni Bugyal campsite. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Day 4: A Test Of Character
“Have you seen that top? That is Kalu Vinayak, you have to climb that first thing tomorrow!”
Standing at Pathar Nachauni, the windiest campsite on the entire trek, a trekker who summited Roopkund Lake same day morning told us.
And that near 45 degree uphill peak looked seriously daunting. The first time on the trek we started thinking offloading might have been a good idea.
These are the moments that truly define a trek. When it goes beyond scenic, breathtaking landscapes and start testing your mental rigidity. When it starts giving you an opportunity to feel “Yes, I also can!”
On the way to Bhagwabasa. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Day 5: Something Big Is Coming
While words like “Black Ice”, “spikes”, “summit push” were flying all over — “Am I ready for it?” — was the first thought that popped in our minds as soon as we reached our last campsite at 14,000 ft.
Bhagwabasa was by far the most active campsite where more than admiring the landscape around, everyone was busy trying out their ice gears, fixing spikes with the shoes, packing the daypack before the midnight summit push! In a very small and rocky section, the tents were anything but comfortable. But that is what trekking teaches you. Not to complain and be thankful for the resources you get.
Tents pitched at Bhagwabasa campsite. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Day 6: The D-Day
As my tent mate Vivek nudged me, I managed to pop my half sleepy eyes out of the sleeping bag to check the time and charge left on my mobile. It was 1:10 a.m.!
I somehow dragged myself out of the sleeping bag, put my balaclava and scarf on, tied my frosty shoe laces, placed the gaiters and spikes and came out to see the entire camp is so active at that odd hour. The clear starry sky reminded me, this is the day!
We started at 2:45 am sharp with our headlamp on, one step at a time, maintaining the line, 19 exquisite souls began their summit push.
The next 4 hours were the most thrilling, grueling, physically demanding 4 hours of my life. Climb, climb and climb — Slippery ice, narrow ridges, near vertical slopes, we did it all!
After couple of hours the morning rays started rising from the horizon and god knows why but we felt better. Last one hour was absolutely mental, after every 3-4 steps we had to stop for breath, bone chilling wind and -10° C temperature forced us to question ourselves — “why have we even signed up for this?!”
But yes, we got our answer after one last climb, it was the majestic Roopkund Lake right there down the slope in front of our eyes.
WE MADE IT! And we did it in style. In that godly hours of dawn, the lake, surrounding snowfields and the mountains were creating an unearthly ambiance!
Standing there at 16,470 ft, I can’t stop thanking my trek leader Gautam, the last six days would had never been possible without a motivator like him!
And we did it together! Picture by The Exploring EyesThank you Gautam and Indiahikes team. Picture by The Exploring Eyes
Finally, after a week back to the base camp we felt something fundamentally changed in us. 7 days without smartphone, up in the mountains, having deep conversations amidst raw nature, it was truly special.
Not all trekking is easy. Specially the high altitude ones. It takes good amount of climbing, walking, precautions and a lot of other things to be able to do it. More than anything else, the will power to summit plays the most important role. The point is, unless you push yourself and test your limits, you don’t know how far you can go.
Read 10 reasons why you must trek in Himalayas at least once in your life!
What you should do know
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