Monday, August 17, 2009

Roopkund -Tales from a Distant Land..

Aug 16
Wan --> Bedni Bugyal

The trees are Vanquished..Grass Everywhere!

The climb begins .. Towards Roopkund.
We wake up , sip on tea and talk about the day ahead. Its cold and rainy. Stand outside GMKV and look at Wan. Such a pretty village. Well spaced houses on terraced hilltops. No litter anywhere.

To get to Bedni , we trek uphill through coniferous forests .. The entire stretch is about 10-12 kms. The sooner we get started the better as the weather around these parts is unpredictable and tends to worsen as the day wanes.
After a quick warm up, we breakfast on honeyed Cornflakes, buttered toast , omelets and leave. Its still raining outside. Hoping for some sunshine. Chandan leads the way this time... He has to be the fastest trekker I've seen, Effortlessly negotiating the trail.
He sets the pace and the group follows. Its a steep steep climb. Little more adventurous with my camera this time around. Get some good shots.
Learnt two very important things about breathing. Never breathe with your mouth something I was unconsciously tending to do. Pace your steps with your breathing so that you don't stop.
Once I got the knack of this it got so much easier.

We stopped at Garhoni Pathal and had some lunch. Though I was hungry wasn't able to eat much. Munched on an apple and half a sandwich..
We resume the trek.. Now comes the steepest part of the climb.. Breathless by the time we reach the top... We see the end of the treeline.. The kingdom of Grass emerges into view.. the trees are vanquished.. As green as green can get!!

Chandan points to the Himalayan Blue poppy, pretty little flower found in these altitudes.
The Japanese mountaineers are said to have a tradition of breaking into song and dance every time they spot one of them..

The walk is beautiful..Bedni Bugyal emerges into view.. We walk past the first camping ground..
Bugyal am told means meadow in Hindi..
Finally we reach our camping ground.. A stone house which am told is GMKV emerges into view.
Its still drizzling and our mules haven't arrived. So we sit here and have some hot tea. Theres a satellite phone installed, so make some calls home..

The regular chimes from the bells signal that our mules are close.. Once they get here we go about pitching tents.. First time for me! Our Kitchen tent comes up first.. Then the four man tent which doubled up as a dining area during our stay ..And then the two man tent for the girls..
Neat work!

We are now more than 3000 m above sea level.. 3354 m to be precise..
We will stay here another day to acclimatize.. I love the sights and sounds of this place..
Nature is always in harmony with itself. We can now see the peaks Trishuli and Nangagundi in a distance..
Well only for a short time, then the clouds decide we've had enough for the day and we have a white out!
Walk around taking pics and the cold wears off..
An early dinner and we retire to our tents.. Feels a little odd sleeping in such a small space. The sleeping bag requires getting used to.. But Exhaustion from the steep climb plays its part and am asleep.


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