ROOPKUND: A SERENDIPITOUS JOURNEY… PART – III

Tale of 2 Backpackers

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The first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise.

Day 4: To Roopkund and Junargali and back to Pathar Nachauni – The Climax

The summit day started quite early at 4:00 am. It was dark and cold and we were wearing several layers of clothing.  Dinesh announced that the temperature was -5 degrees. The entire team started moving in a single line.

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Moving towards Roopkund….

The ascending path was narrow and rocky with patches of snow.  After some time, we could see the first rays of light. It was an exhilarating moment to see the first rays of sun kissing the majestic mountain tops. The snow capped mountains radiated gods and the skies played with orange, red and yellow colours. You have to see it to feel it.

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First rays of sun over the mountain ranges….

After an hour of walk, we could see a board saying “Roopkund  – 500 metres”. The excitement in all was palpable and everyone forgot their fatigue and moved with renewed zeal. After a few more narrow and difficult crossings, we were finally in front of the mysterious lakeRoopkund at 14500 ft .

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The mysterious lake – Roopkund

We were happy, excited and no words could describe what we were feeling. Our trek leader then announced that we would climb to the Junargali pass. Some wanted to stay back, but we were too excited to miss anything. This began our trek towards Junargali which was 300 ft above Roopkund through complete snow. Trekking in snow was never easy, and I was doing it for the first time!  After about 30 minutes of scaling the snow. We reached the top of Junargali. It gave us a 360 degree view of all the ranges – Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Chaukhamba ranges. The view was anything to die for. I felt that all the pains taken for were worthwhile.  Unfortunately our camera played spoilsport and simply refused to work at -7 degrees. I could not capture the memories on my lens, but definitely captured them in a more prominent place!

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Faith at the highest…At Junargali
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View from Junargali

As the sun was rising, we were told to descend quickly as the snow would start melting and then trekking would be difficult. We started our descent towards Roopkund Lake and I understood trekking down in snow can be very difficult. I fell down a couple of times and then I was pushed by our guide Kundan Chacha towards down and I glided gleefully on the snow towards the base.  Soon others were seen gliding through the snow.

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Sliding down the snow….
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Temple at Roopkund

After staying for sometime at the Roopkund Lake, we started our journey back towards Bhagwabasa. We reached the camp and had our lunch there. In the afternoon the weather changed dramatically and hailstorm started in full force. We were all inside our dinner tent waiting for the storm to subside. The hailstorm continued strongly for long and so we wore our raincoats and ponchos and started towards Pathar Nachauni campsite. It was now a downhill trek with clouds all over us. We descended down at brisk pace but the path never seems to end. After about 2 hours of downhill trek we reached the campsite. It was cold and chilly and we were all lucky to get inside the warmth of our sleeping bags and tents!!!

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Campsite at Pathar Nachauni

It was the longest day of walking, nearly 14 hours. All of us were naturally tired and very few responded to the soup time whistle. It rained heavily that evening and night, and the weather was biting cold.

Day 5: Pathar Nachauni to Gehroli Patal

We left Pathar Nachauni at about 8.30 in the morning and took the same route back to Bedni Bugyal. We stopped there for lunch and then started our journey towards Gehroli Patal. The way to Gehroli Patal is through beautiful rhododendron forests. The forest had an incredibly dreamy atmosphere and I felt as if I was in some gothic movie. As we descended down for about an hour or so, the yellow tents were suddenly visible to us through the trees. We had finally reached our campsite.

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Campsite at Gehroli Patal

It was a campsite in the midst of the forest, and by far, the most romantic one. Just imagine the feeling of staying in tents under the canopy of large trees in the middle of dense forest!!!

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We… At the Gehroli Patal campsite

We roamed about our campsite. The trek has almost come to an end. Some of us rested in our tents while many others started exchanging phone numbers and email ids. We had a match of volley ball here!! In the evening, Salwat had organized a camp fire where we all had to participate in some activities. Doctor set the tempo with a beautiful shayari, while others performed songs. Salwat was his ever effervescent self keeping the momentum intact.  It was totally a fun filled evening which we enjoyed the fullest.

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Fun at Camp Fire

Day 6: Gehroli Patal to Lohajung via Wan:

We started off a little late this day. It was an easy downhill trek. We descended down and reached the Neel Ganga again. We crossed the stream and went towards Wan. Till now the weather was sunny, suddenly clouds began to form and in no time it started raining heavily. We put on our raincoats and started walking at a fast pace, but the rain proved mightier. We were totally drenched when we reached Wan. We had hot tea and Maggi at Wan and after that left for Lohajung in the cab provided by the Indiahikes team. We reached Lohajung in the afternoon.

That evening was spent socializing with the others, exchanging phone numbers, reminiscing the experiences we shared.

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Celebrating the success of Roopkund

The next morning greeted us with a new surprise. We viewed twin rainbows from the base camp. I had never seen such clear and beautiful rainbow, leave alone two together. The rainbow seemed to tell me to live my life fully and spread colours.

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The two rainbows….At Lohajung

The Roopkund trek has been an overwhelming experience for me. Earlier I had done the Buxa trek and the Amarnath Yatra. Trekking to Roopkund was altogether a different game. I was totally humbled before the huge mountains. The golden rays of sun on snow clad mountain tops raised my spirits. The trek had actually made me face my fears and made me realise my limits. I realised that I can be much more than what I was at that time. I learnt a lot from the people I met during these six days. Roopkund made me fall in love with the Himalayas all over again. Presently, I am just too crazy about the Himalayas and I have to visit them at least once a year. The Himalayas acts as an elixir to me and reminds me of all the dreams that I still have to achieve.  I come back to the Himalayas just to be me…..

This was our experiences shared with all. Please feel free to comment and help us improve.

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On the Way to Conquer Junargali – PC/Santosh
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