A Monsoon Trek has materialised out of thin air!
Sadanand Kamath (SK, with whom I did the Roopkund last year), had been asking me to go on a trek in the month of June. I was tied up with some personal family matters, and so I had told him no trek is possible this summer. But by end-June the family matters got resolved and everything fell into place. So, I asked SK if he was still interested to do a Trek in July, risking the uncertainities and landslides of a trek in the monsoon rains? Coincidentally, for SK too some consulting-work comittments ended on 30th June ... and he was more than happy to come for any Trek!
We quickly decided on the Darma Valley trek (in North-East corner of Kumaon, Uttarakhand (on which a IndiaMike poster, Rajkumar, has made several posts in the trekking forums). We called Debu (my regular Guide) to see if he was free and had experience on this route. Debu said, he has not done this trek, but knows a guide named "Chamu" who lives in Waacham village, near Khati and he will bring him along as Route Guide. So it was agreed we meet in Bageshwar on 8th July, and from there move on to Dharchula and then to Dar and start our trek from there.
If you have Google Earth installed in your computer, you can see the entire route waypoints by downloading the KMZ file "KS-SK Darma Valley Panchachuli Base Camp Trek" from my Files D/L Page.
If you don't have Goggle Earth installed, you can see the Darma Valley in Wikimapia (in your regular browser), click here: Darma Valley
A tentative Plan was drawn up by Sadanand (SK) as under:
22-July-2009: We are back from Darma and in Mumbai now, earlier than planned! We hardly got wet in the rain during this so-called Monsoon Trek! Though it rained most nights, during daytime when we were walking there was no rain! This year, the monsoon is delayed everywhere in India, including Darma Valley.
Our schedule was maintained without any problem though we went upto Tidang and dropped Sipu. We did go to Panchachuli Base Camp but did not get clear views of the 5-Peaks due to clouds. However we did see the Meola Glacier entirely, from the upper slopes of Panchachuli to the snout just below our feet (just some 3 Kms from Dagtu-Son Village).
Sadananad (R) and me (L) at Panchachuli Base Camp near Meola Glacier
On the way back we cancelled our visit to Narayan Ashram (due to rains and landslides near Tawaghat). So we ended up cutting down 4 days from our original schedule. Day-to-day descriptions follow .... but first a summary of Actual Trek Schedule:
Actual Tour - Daily Summary:
06/07/09 Dep: Mumbai (Borivali) 18.15 by A K Rajdhani Express
09/07/09 Dep: Bageshwar 07.15 Arr:Dharchula 14.30 by Maxx-Jeep of 144 kms @ Rs 3300 stay in KMVN, Dharchula @ 700/-
10/07/09 Dep: Dharchula 10.45 hrs Reach: Dar (2134m) 14.00hrs 40 kms by Share Jeep Arr: Bongling 16.30 - 6 kms by Trek [With change of Jeep at Chouturdhar landside, 1 km before Tawaghat, and lunch at New Sobla and 1 km of trek to Dar village from the landslide point] Stay in Sher Singh’s house at Bongling
11/07/09 Dep: Bongling 08.00 hrs Reach: Sela (2440m) 12.45 hrs 5 kms Trek [Bongling-Urthing (2 kms) Urthing–Sela (3 kms)] and stay at Dev Singh Selal’s Guest House at lower Sela
12/07/09 Dep: Sela 07.00 hrs Reach: Baling (3105M) 13.00 hrs 09 kms Trek [Sela-Nangling (5 kms), Nangling–Baling (4 kms) ] Homestay in Baling (1 km before the village)
13/07/09 Dep: Baling 6.45 hrs Arr : Son (3220m) 10.15 hrs 6 kms Trek. Stay at Son in Dharam Singh Sonal’s house
14/07/09 Dep: Son 10.15 hrs Arr: PCBC (3470M) 12.15 hrs 3kms Trek Dep: PCBC 13.15 hrs Arr: Son 14.30 hrs 3 kms Trek. Stay at Son in Dharam Singh Sonal’s house
15/07/09 Dep: Son 07.30 hrs Arr: Tidang 11.00 hrs 7 kms Trek. On the way Rest-stop and Tea at Dayal Singh Datal. Stay at Tidang in Lato Singh Titial’s house.
16/07/09 Dep: Tidang 7.00 hrs Arr: Nangling (2840m) 13.30 hrs 17 kms Trek. Stay at Nangling in Phool Singh’s Nanyal’s house
17/07/09 Dep: Nangling 6.45 hrs Arr: Bongling 13.00 hrs 12 kms Trek. Homestay in Bongling at Shersingh’s house
18/07/09 Dep: Bongling 7.30hrs arr: Dar (2 kms after Dar) 10.15hrs 5km Trek and Arr: Dharchula 12.30hrs - 24 kms by Share Jeep [changed jeep at Tawaghat on account of landslide]. Stay in Dharchula at KMVN
Darma Valley Trek : Total 67 kms.
19/07/09 Dep: Dharchula 06.00 hrs Arr: Almora 14.30hrs 205kms Share Jeep Rs 300/- per head. Stay in KMVN-Almora Rs 375/- per head
20/07/09 Dep: Almora 13.30 hrs Arr: Kathgodam 16.00 hrs 75 kms by Alto 800/- Dep: Kathgodam 20.40 by Ranikhet Exp
21/07/09 Arr: Delhi 4.00 hrs Dep: Nizamuddin 16.55 hrs by AK Rajdhani
Darma Valley Trek Pictures - Slideshow
34 Darma Valley
Darma Valley Trek (34 Darma-Trek)
A Monsoon trek in Darma Valley of Eastern Kumaon in July 2009.