AliBugyal - an alpine meadow, above the treeline ....... as we approach Ali zero-point from North ...... coming from Bedni Bugyal
Bedni Bugyal & Bedni-Kund .... looking back down at the camp-site from the higher level trail going to Pathar Nachani and Roopkund
Some Background information:
I had been thinking of a Combo Roopkund-Kuari Pass Trek ever since Debu (my trek Guide) suggested that, during our Milam Glacier trek in May 2007. But, as I was planning this in July-07, many veteran trekkers on IndiaMike (IM) forum advised me not to do this trek in the monsoon.
Later, during an IM Mumbai Meet-up, I met another experienced trekker, Sadanand Kamath (SK) who showed interest in doing the Roopkund Trek with me, in summer. He wanted to do Roopkund (not Kuari pass) as his 2-week leave will be just enough for that and he had already done Kuari Pass.
Sadanand & I, planned the Roopkund trip together and decided to start around 15th June, so we get the best window of opportunity with minimum snow and minimum monsoon rains. We consulted Arjun, a veteran trekker from Bangalore, who had done Roopkund trek, successfully, in June-07. Read Arjun's blog at: The Roopkund Adventure
I called Debu (my usual Guide for Uttarakhand treks) and asked him to meet me in Deval-GMVN on 16th June and bring along all the tent & equipment and rations required for a 10-day trek to Roopkund for the two of us.
BTW: After completing the trek and returning to Mumbai, Sadanand Kamath (SK) posted a detailed and awesome Trip Report on IndiaMike. You can read that article at: Roopkund India Trek Report
With that introduction over, my usual diary style account of the Roopkund Trek starts:
14-15th June 2008 : Mumbai-Delhi-Kathgodam-Gwaldam We flew from Mumbai to Delhi on June 14th and took the overnight Ranikhet Express to Kathgodam, arriving at 6:3oAM on 15th. We immediately booked an Alto taxi to Gwaldam (Rs 2500/-) and started a scenic drive through the Himalayas. The route was: Bhimtal, Bhowali, Kainchi, Khairna, Kakrighat, Almora, Kosi, Someshwar, Kausani, Garur, Baijnath, Gwaldam. There was a bit of (early) monsoon rains along the way; but we reached Gwaldam well in time (12:30PM) and checked into the comfortable 4-bedded family-suite, for Rs 400/- per night.
16th June 2008: Gwaldam - Deval: In the morning, we walked around Gwaldam and its various ridge roads. The weather was crisp and pleasantly cool with light misty clouds floating around. At 8:00AM Debu called to say he has already reached Deval. So immediately after lunch, we booked a maxi-jeep for Rs 800/- to take us to Deval. We reached the GMVN in Deval in two hours by 2:00PM.
Very beautiful flowers ....... in the Deval GMVN garden
Around 3:00PM we walked to the Deval Market (about 1KM) and located Debu, his son Bhupendar and a porter-cook Mahendra in a hotel near the taxi-stand. We spent that evening discussing and finalising a package deal with Debu to take care of all food, cooking, stay, transport etc. for a 10-day trek - Deval-to-Deval. With such an arrangement we knew Debu could maximise his net-profit and we need not be involved in any aspect of the arrangements and thus enjoy the trek fully! A win-in situation!!
17th June 2008 - 10:00AM: Deval-Mundoli-Lohajung-Wan: Debu came with a "booked" Maxi to our GMVN-TRH and picked us up for our drive to Wan. The Maxi was already loaded with all the camping stuff bought by Debu in Deval Market. So we were off to Wan!
That's Kulling village .... coming up ahead on the road to Wan
The driver of our Maxi-jeep was a very friendly and talkative Mahesh Juyal. He said due to recent rains, the kutcha road to Wan was slippery and in bad shape and none of the drivers in Deval are willing to go! Only because his "old-friend" Debu was insisting, that he was daring to go to Wan today! He was an expert driver and well-versed with this narrow and rough road. He crossed most of the hurdles easily. We need to thank him for reaching us safely to Wan, without losing much time. We passed Mundoli and Lohajung and finally reached Wan (2600M) at 1:00PM - after a 3-hour drive (with a Chai-stop at Lohajung pass, at 2250M). We had a 20 minute walk-up climb from Taxi-stand to Wan-GMVN; which was in a very scenic setting, in a nice clearing surrounded by huge trees! It was high on a ridge but in a bowl-like valley, surrounded by mountains and with nice views.
Looking down from GMVN's front lawn boundary wall ... towards Wan village down below .... and the taxi standing there (at 6:10PM)
At Wan GMVN, Debu took possession of Chowkidar's kitchen (perhaps, the arrangement was "all meals on the house" for Chowkidar too) and he and Mahindra got busy preparing several rounds of tea & biscuits, and then lunch and then later in the evening dinner. We had all meals on the dining table in the TRH front-hall and at night by candle-light. No electricity in Wan and all points beyond. The TRH at Wan is surrounded by a garden and green lawns; SK and I had a good time walking arround on that lawn and taking-in the surrounding mountain views. It was an idyllic place!
All pictures of Roopkund Trek