Saturday, August 26, 2023

Uttrakhand - Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek - Part 3

This is the final post that describes our trip to the Uttrakhand. If you haven't read the previous two posts already I would highly recommend doing that here and here

From Rishikesh we were to go to Sari basecamp from where we had to start our 4 day Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek. We were taken in a small tempo traveller from Rishikesh to Sari basecamp. The journey is long and takes about 8-9 hrs. The basecamp was a group of 6 big tents - with 8 bunk beds in each tent.

Do you see the only snow capped mountain in the above image? That is Chandrashila peak and that is where we had to reach in another 4 days via trekking! At this point it felt very very far away.

Evening view of a red cabin + snow capped mountains!

Night view from basecamp with the moon in its full glory is a treat for the eyes. You feel so mesmerised by the view that you just want to keep looking at the sky!

Here is where we met all our trekking buddies as well. We were 26 trekkers (including kids) + 3 guides.

My son was 2nd youngest -10 years old, youngest child was 9 yrs old kid.

We were trekking with IndiaHikes. It is one of the best organisation to trek with. Their values are all geared towards sustainable living and trekking. For e.g. they do not believe in generating trash. You wont find any dustbins near the camp site. Their expectation is that we carry all the waste we generate back with us and not leave it at the camp site. This is such an incredibly powerful value to have. 

They take this concept even further, they give all trekkers a small yellow bag, its called the eco bag. This bag is to be tied around our waist (all of us are wearing it if you look closely in the above picture), we are expected to pick up and collect any trash we find on the trail during our trek and put it in the eco bag. IndiaHikes then recycles it or disposes it off correctly. This small gesture helps leave our mountains cleaner and prettier!

Next day we had to start trekking. The path is filled with unprecedented beauty, mountains, jungles, streams, meadows and what not!

On Day 1 we reached the Deoria Taal lake, from here you can see the magnificent Chaukhamba peak (shaped like a crown)

Which we actually could not see because the weather wasn't clear enough. But we were rewarded during the night when the sky cleaned up and we were able to see the Chaukhamba in all its glory. 

This was the first place where we started sleeping in a sleeping bag. It is a different experience, its quite warm inside and it feels like we are a caterpillar in its cocoon.

Next day, with excitement filled in our veins we started again:

On the path the view and weather changes every few minutes. You are moving in a clearing and then suddenly you are walking in dense forest with rain poring like there is no tomorrow, then suddenly you come to a stream which needs to be crossed and then at some point you look up to see the breathtaking view of the mountains, sky and the sun!

Finally after walking for 8 hrs or so, we reached our camp site - Syalmi. This is a nice little camp site with 2 people tents neatly pitched. 

Next morning, dosa's were served for breakfast. Those were the best dosa's I have ever tasted! As soon as a new stock would come, they would disappear. People just couldn't stop having them!

This is Me with my full trekking gear - holding my breath for the picture!

Like I mentioned before, many random streams would come on our way and we could just drink water from them - #no-filter-required! 

Final day was the Summit climb, we had to wake up at 0130 in the morning and start at 0300 hrs!  During the night - or early morning depends on how you look at it - it rained heavily, I was thinking we will not be able to start our trek at all. But at 0130 our trek leader called out and asked everyone to get ready - we are going to attempt the summit - The Chandrashila Peak.

Walking through pitch darkness and the calm of the night was a completely out of the world experience. As the first light appeared we were about 3.5 km away from the peak. First time we could see the snow all around us, everything was pure white because of the fresh snow fall the night before. 

We even saw a Himalayan Monal, a beautiful and colorful bird - again pictures do not do justice here.

Finally we managed to reach the Tungnath temple - the worlds highest Shiva Temple. The temple was serene and peaceful place to spend a few moments of solitude. 

This is where Blacky found My son and decided to take a 45 min nap on him.

The last 1KM of the peak was a hike through the snow. So our trek leaders gave us micro spikes to put onto our shoes so that we get extra grip on the snow.

We finally managed to reach the peak - The joy of making it to the peak was something that I cannot describe in words, we even saw people shedding tears of joy. At the summit, you get this feeling that you have managed to do something that you didn't think was possible earlier. It widens your horizon, you feel this immense confidence pulsating through your body - everything feels within reach - or may be its just adrenaline messing with your body - who cares! 

By the time we started descending, the snow had started melting. In fact while climbing up we had seen a stone hut fully covered in snow and while returning it had no traces of snow left!

We reached our campsite at about 1600 hrs, this meant we were trekking for 13 hrs! After having a quick lunch we were taken to Sari basecamp in a tempo traveller and this is where our trek concluded. From Sari basecamp when we looked up towards Chandrashila, it was truly hard to believe that just a few hrs a go we were at the peak of that beautiful snow covered mountain!

Overall our trek was a huge huge success, thanks to the IndiaHikes team for taking care of us all through out the trek. Special mention of our trek leaders and guides, Vijay, Amit and Sayantan who never left us alone and kept encouraging us to keep moving forward!

Would I recommend Trekking to anyone? 110% YES without missing a beat. As IndiaHikes says it, "Everyone must trek"!
Have some Fun!