I was awake at 5.00 am, and it was quite bright outside, ready for the Himalayas trek. Though the sun reached the mountains early, it was still cold, somewhat like a winter morning in Pune, about 10 degree C. By the time I finished my morning routines, everyone was awake. Our host served some warm water and hot tea to ready us for the beautiful morning. We had our cozy breakfast in the dining hall near the hotel kitchen.
Meanwhile, we had our backpacks loaded in the minibus which would take us to the base village of Barsu. Barsu was about 30 km from the hotel.
We took Gangotri road, then another few kilometers on the mountain to reach Barsu.
The Gangotri road was running just on the bank of river Bhagirathi. The off road to Barsu was also just fine. We met the Gujjar groups, the Himalayan tribal people, with their cattle on the way. Gujjar’s are another interesting topic which I’ll cover in another post.
It was cloudy and cold at the Barsu village. We had hot black tea at the tea shop next to the village entrance gate. We laid back for a while for our crew members to convene and get ready for the trek.
With prayers and excitement, our trek started from this village. Slowly we covered our distance, moving higher and higher, and we could see the village below us from afar.
We passed through farmlands where there are plenty of fresh water streams.
There was a small patch of white tulips, something some of us had never seen before.
Before you know it, we were inside the forest, on the rock paved walk ways. My breath was getting heavy, and sweats were dropping– our journey has just begun.
Then I found the most beautiful flower that I’ve ever seen, the Burans. Our guide told us it’s edible, and I was so ready to try it. It tasted awesome, sweet with a little sour kick. I’ll tell you more in another post.
Some of our crew members who started from the Barsu village after we left were catching up on us. We also met some villagers who came to forest for their routine works.
When we reached the first rest shelter, it started drizzling. I remembered the saying, “weather keeps changing in the mountains so be ready for anything.”
We covered about 3 km when we reached the huts at the bottom of Barnala Bugiyal (the sloped meadow). These huts are made by villagers for seasonal stay to take care of their cattle. We took a break there, waiting for rest of the group to catch-up.
Just few yards away, at the hut, we could see the sloped meadow start, and atop, we noticed the shelter tents. It might seem easy to make it through the green meadows, but nothing was as ever easy as it looked in this trip. The path was steep, and we needed to be careful to avoid slipping and falling. If you missed a step, you will be rolling down few hundred meters for sure.
We were on top of Barnala just about lunch time where we got some rest and power nap.
Barnala Tal was a small pond on top of the meadow. We collected drinking water there and continued our ascending journey. The glaciers and the snow clad mountains seemed to come closer and closer as we kept on moving.
The second half of today felt tougher because the route was steeper, and we had to slow down.
We saw the first patch of the snow on the ground. It’s pretty amazing. We were moving up really quick. There are village huts scattering in our path. The huts on mountains are very interesting. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Some of the team members were already on the next hill ahead of the slower ones of us. Every step felt really hard. By this time, we were walking in small groups of 2 or 3 which was naturally created based on our pace.
At about 4.00 pm, I got the first glimpse of the camp site at Dayara Bugiyal where we were going to spend the night. It was close that I could almost feel it, but each step seems like a mile when we’re that exhausted.
We had a wider view of glaciers from this site. Later, the rest of the team and the crew reached the site.
It was getting cold; there were snows on the hill just next to our camp.
We put on our jackets and got inside the tent for some chitchat while our crews were preparing dinner.
The dinner tasted better than it actually was when we’re tired. And as the night came closer, we had to be in the tent. It was freezing cold outside. After the dinner, we sat around the camp fire, sharing that day’s experiences, singing some Bollywood classics, bullying one another and making jokes. There was a definitely a bonding developing among us. A very much needed night settled in, it was getting colder, and it was time to hit the tents. We had 3 tents for 9 of us, and 2 other tents for our crews.
Day 1 of the Himalayas trek was successfully done with mixed feelings. Why did I come here? Am I really ready for rest of it? In the comfort of sleeping bag and the tiring 8 km trek from the day, it didn’t take much time for me to be asleep.
We dedicate this post to the people of Uttarakhand and everyone who are affected by flood and landsliding. The road and path in the pictures above are destroyed by this horrified calamity. Hope you stay strong and make it through.
See you in the next post,