Roopkund Trek Journal

Introduction:

It is a moderately difficult trek (around 55 Km). The trek is 8 days, Kathgodam to Kathgodam. The weather in the month of June was a mix of rain and cold with beautiful sunshine in intervals. It rains heavily and it’s a zigzag which would render all your protections useless. As the altitude increases, the weather becomes very moody. The trek is famous for the bones found in the high altitude lake. Another highlight of the trek is high altitude meadows (Bedni & Ali Bugyal).

Roopkund Trek Itinerary (Himalayan Trekker Group, 24th June Onwards):
Day 1: Kathgodam to Lohajung
Day 2: Lohajung to Didna Village
Day 3: Didna Village to Bedni Bugyal
Day 4: Bedni Bugyal to Pathernachni
Day 5: Pathernachni to Bhagwabasa
Day 6: Bhagwabasa to Roopkund back to Bedni Bugyal
Day 7: Bedni to Lohajung
Day 8: Lohajung to Kathgodam

Day 1 Kathgodam to Lohajung:
Sleep deprived, excited and hungry I reached Katgodam station around 7 A.M. The weather was pleasant and adrakwali chai with Parle-G set the mood for rest of the day. Fellow trekkers started assembling near the vehicle. Most of us were working professionals who had come on parole from the corporate life. After stacking luggage atop the vehicle, we commenced our journey. We took pit stops for breakfast and lunch. We feasted on the local variety of cucumber on the way. Most of us were half asleep in the vehicle. We finally reached the Lohajung town. I was surprised to see my college friend sitting & sipping tea at a stall. Small world! He was there for the trek too! He came a week early. His intel regarding the terrain and weather was useful. In the evening, our trek guide Mahipat gave us a briefing on what to expect during the trek and how to keep ourselves fit during the trek. After a tasty dinner, we crashed for the day in anticipation of a beautiful tomorrow.

Day 2 Lohajung to Didna Village:
We woke up to a misty morning and a drizzle. Some of us were worried about trekking in the rain and some really excited by the view. We started trekking after breakfast. The next stop was in Didna village. It was a sunny morning and we started sweating. There are limited water sources on the way, so we had to fill up the bottles. Our bodies were getting used to the toil and some of the group members suffered fatigue on the steep climbs and had to take multiple stops. Huffing puffing we reached the Didna village. Homemade lunch was waiting for us. It was a quaint village with farms. The dormitory was comfortable and the view from the porch was as soothing to the tired eyes. It started drizzling in the afternoon and we retreated in dorms to play indoor games. The peaceful surroundings have a meditating effect on me and after dinner, I don’t know when I fell asleep.

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Day 3 Didna Village to Bedni Bugyal:
I woke up at 5 AM. It must have rained heavily in the night. The whole landscape was damp and misty. It was chilly but not very unpleasant if you wear proper layers. After breakfast, we packed our lunch and started trekking to camp on the high altitude meadows. None of the previous batches had clear weather on the meadows and the view was lost in the mist and rains. The nature Gods smiled on us. We had a beautiful sunshine for 4 – 5 hours. We enjoyed a game of cricket at one of the pit stops.

The first sight of Ali Bugyal reminded me of Windows wallpaper with green grass and blue sky with white clouds. Horses and mules were grazing against the blue sky. There was something very tranquil about the view. We had lunch sitting on the green grass accompanied by the sunshine and cool breeze.

After the lunch, we started trekking and the weather changed drastically. In few minutes, we were literally walking through clouds. They transformed the beautiful meadows into a mystical landscape where you only get glimpses of the beauty through the cloud cover. It started pouring down and we all covered ourselves in ponchos. We reached the campsite with wet shoes and clothes. The hot tea was like an elixir. The rain passed the sunshine came back. We started a fire to dry our shoes and socks. We could see snowclad mountains from the camping site. In the evening, herds of sheep started returning and it was a whimsical sight from a distance. The sunset was beautiful and we could see the Id ka Chand.Hot and delicious Gulabjamuns were the highlight of the dinner. The night was cold and we retreat to our tents. The sleeping bags were cozy and we fell asleep to the faint sound of ringing bells tied to the mules.

Day 4 Bedni Bugyal to Pathernachni:
It was a wonderland moment. We woke up to a rainbow over the mountains. There was cloud cover on one side and clear sky on the other. The Sun was shining on the snow-capped peaks. It was a sight you will describe from the land of the elves. Everyone was enjoying the view and leisurely getting ready to move to the next campsite. The distance was not much but the gradient was tougher. We started moving and reached the campsite with little effort. Everything was camouflaged in the cloud cover. We settled down and started with a game of frisbee after lunch. The cloud cover moved and we could see a beautiful waterfall right in front of the camping site. The view did not last long and a curtain of clouds was drawn. It started raining in the evening. It was muddy all over the place and everyone retreated to the comfort of the tents.

Day 5 Pathernachni to Bagwabasa:
After a gloomy evening, we woke up to a brilliant sunrise. The sun came up from behind the mountains and we could see the grand view lazily sitting in our tents with a cup of tea. This was a tricky stretch, as the altitude was going to increase. Few of us were suffering from AMS and were really struggling to keep up. We were helping with their backpacks and motivating them to keep moving. One person had to return to Bedni Bugyal due acute AMS. We started around 8 am and the target was to reach as soon as possible. The day was chilly with hardly any sunshine. After a while, we started walking through clouds. Now, the temperature had dipped sharply and the road was getting lost in the fog. We could make out the mules coming from the sound of the bells tied to them and would make way before they get too close. The trick is to always move to the mountainside and not the valley side. The increase in altitude was taking a toll. We could see a lot of members sitting to catch their breath. My group also split into two or three divisions. I was the first to reach Kalu Vinayak temple and surprisingly met a group from Maharashtra. The Bhagwabasa campsite is stony and it’s a tough experience to sleep on the uneven floor. We spent the stormy afternoon in the tents. The evening was sheer bliss. The sky was crystal clear and we could see 360 deg. clear view. The mobile network is available in Bhagwabasa at certain points and you can charge your camera batteries for 100 bucks on a diesel generator. Next day we had to start at 2 AM and so we called the day early.

Day 6 Bagwabasa to Roopkund to Bedni Bugyal:
I was told, the night was crazy and tents were completely squashed under the wind pressure with the roof almost touching us. I was fast asleep and frankly, I don’t remember anything. When I woke up around 2 o’clock, my fellow trekkers congratulated me for sleeping through the storm. We were told one of the kitchen tents was wrecked by the winds. We all were worried if we are going to the Roopkund lake or not. Finally, we were told that we were. It was exciting. Everyone got ready super fast. We started climbing in gleam torch lights. We were slow and steady, circumspect of the dark and terrain. The dawn broke and we could see how far from the camp we had come. Now we could see the valley and the beautiful mountain ranges. There was slight drizzle. We reached to a spot where we saw first snow on the trek. This trek has few stretches that are tricky to cross. The fresh snow from last night had made the path even more slippery. Finally, we reached the lake around 6 AM. It was ecstatic movement. The lake looked dreamy with a thin layer of ice floating on top. After clicking the landscapes and group photos, it was time to climb down. Climbing down was tricky and we had to use crampons to get grip on the slippery portions. We came down and a light lunch at the base. There was a short time to gather our strength and we started going back towards Bedni. We had the luxury of avoiding the rain till this point but not on this stretch. Heavy rains lashed us and the path was also lost in the fog. The group also got scattered and we stuck with the person who was near, motivating each other to finish the trek. Ponchos were useless and we were completely wet. We reached the camp late afternoon and it was a relief. Everyone was tired and wanted to rest. The day ended quietly.

Day 7 Bedni Bugyal to Neelganga to Lohajung:
It was the last day of the trek. After breakfast, we all started. The group again split as people found it difficult to trek downhill. I wore my raincoat pants and shamelessly started to slide through the mud. It was fun. We had our lunch at Neelganga river and spent some time soaking our tired feet. We got our pick to Lohajung and reached the civilized world. Everyone was back to receiving calls from office and home, checking emails to see what conspired at work. Evening meal was chicken, rice, and whiskey. We shared our experiences and laughed at the funny moments. Exchanged email addresses to share photos. We all knew it was a wonderful week but it was time to get back to real world.

Essentials for Trek:

  • Heavy woolen might be required depending on your tolerance for the cold. A good pair of trekking shoes and raincoat are a must.
  • Carry torch or headlamp with spare batteries.
  • Keep additional batteries for the camera as the cold makes them drain faster. Keep the batteries warm by keeping near to your body.
  • A good pair of trekking shoes and raincoat are a must. Carry torch or headlamp with spare batteries.
  • Take water purifier bottle with you. It is useful to avoid stomach upsets.
  • Medicines (Stomach, Painkillers, ORS, Cold, First Aid, Pain relief spray)
  • Eyewear and hat
  • Power bank
  • Toiletries

You can do your booking with Himalayan trekker.
The trek costs approx 10K plus the travel to Kathgodam.

One comment

  1. Your post reminded me of my Trek to roopkund. I remember making friends with fellow trekkers from Himalayan trekkers who also traveled in same train compartment. 😃

    Like

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