CONQUERING ROOPKUND LAKE – PART 2
Bedni Bugyal to Patar Nachauni
Leaving Bedni Bugyal was a painful departure, I missed the tranquil of moments, the meadows, grazing horses and silent zephyr but was hopeful of another beautiful campsite waiting for us. The climb to Patar Nachauni was a gradual easy climb, we all took it slow but the temperature dipped greatly. 🙂 🙂
Patar Nachauni was windy and extremely foggy, the route quite transcending meadows and ridges, it was yellow flowers dominating the carpet of grass. It is one of the most resided campsites, we had two batches of IndiaHikes staying on the same camp site simultaneously for the night. 🙂 🙂 The oxygen thinning was catching up with us, but I stayed hydrated drinking 7 litres of water for the day.
On my way to Patar Nachauni
Patar Nachauni gave me better insights to things in life, as the wind caressed my skin and blew my hair, I completely surrendered myself to the luxury of the moment. All the trekkers also went on a cleanliness spree on this campsite as part of Green Pledge (Deepak was completely into Green Trail, Kudos for him collecting almost 2 sacks of waste alone). The campsite was surreal, I sat on the grass and talked with fellow trekkers, some played cricket and for Karthik Sir and SriVidhya Mam it was renaissance with the beauty of 15 years of marriage (I adore the couple to have their back and enjoy little pleasures of life even after so many years of wedlock. Cheers to their spirit!!).
Patar Nachauni was a beautiful campsite with lots to explore, there were stone huts made by local people down the meadows. 🙂 🙂 The locals come to collect Keeda Jari(it is extravagantly expensive – Almost 7 to 8 lakhs per kg) and they reside for months in the stone huts during the herb season. The place was a delight and I had the best sleep on this campsite.
Patar Nachuani to Bhagwabhasa
We all were warned of the forced ascent and steep climbing towards Bhagwabhasa. The trail was made beautifully but definitely, air thinning got into each of us. I remember catching my breath after every 10 to 15 step (Oh! I forgot to mention about super girls Karishma and Aastha!! Both were high on energy, they were unstoppable, probably did not even stop for a gasp).
Bhagwabhasa is a barren land completely of rocks and solid with a climb of around 4.5 km from Patar Nachauni, the steep climb continues till Kalu Vinayak temple. The irony was the panoramic beauty and picturesque situation, the ceremonial change of nature was beyond the illusion of perfection. 🙂 🙂 The meadows end from Ghoda Lotani bringing the power of rocks. With every breath, the view was scintillating with the fog playing hide and seek, me swimming in the pool of cloud.
After reaching Kalu Vinayak temple, we rested for around 20 minutes, had tea and biscuits in the lone shop. There are small dhabas and shops along the entire trail of Roopkund till Bhagwabhasa). From Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabhasa, the trail is easy and plain, the gentle curves of the trail made the trek more exciting, I held my awe till we reached Bhagwabhasa. I saw the most esoteric sunset of my life amidst the cloud, the gaze of Mt. Trishul with its snow peaked cap and standing in front of Kala Dak range was itself rush of blood, a pump of adrenaline. We had unbelievable kitchen staff through the entire trek (Bhagwabhasa and Gulab Jamun!!! Yummylicious …. Oh!! We had Momos in Patar Nachauni – best ever veg momos).
We had early dinner with instructions from technical team to wake up at 3 am to start our expedition to Roopkund at 4 am. The trail from Bhagwabhasa to Roopkund is a high alert area of rock fall that makes it important for one to start the trek early. After the sumptuous meal, the blanket of fog enveloped the tents and I went fast asleep.
Bhagwabhasa to Roopkund
Oh Holy God!! I thank the team of IndiaHikes – our Trek Leader Anuja, Bhagat Chacha, Dhani Bhai and entire technical crew for making Roopkund happen. It was pouring since 1 is in the night and with rains splattering, there was more chance of returning back without Roopkund trek. The last time for climbing up was 6.30am and the rain was arrogant. We all prayed, cursed and hoped we at least make it to Roopkund (Junargali was not possible that is a bonus and higher than Roopkund).
It was still drizzling but we somehow managed to gear us up with Ponchos and Raincoats, wore yellow helmets to protect our tiny heads from rock fall and started the climb. It was beautiful throughout, rocks on the trail and on either side. I haven’t seen so beautiful barren land with patches of grey rocks. The trek was a little challenging with forced climbing, the last 500 metres was almost like fighting a war. I stopped every 10 step to take a deep breath, it was a steep climb with oxygen level exponentially decreasing, a little hardship and there it was – The beautiful mysterious lake of Roopkund untouched and pristine, shining through its emerald green reflection. 🙂 🙂
It was a moment of pride, I could not take my eyes off it and of course the skeletons were there, decorated as it the place was an open museum. Reaching Roopkund was an achievement, I could not hold my joy and emotions, I was spellbound and speechless. The Paratha gorging at 15780 feet was bloody hell moment. We climbed down after satisfying our eyes with the sight of the lake and the surrounding, reached Bhagwabhasa and descended down towards Patar Nachauni.
Patar Nachauni to Wan
It was a day of testing our knees, it was continuous descent and with the stones on the trail and rain making the return slippery, I learnt many tactics of mountaineering and trekking. Negotiating through the slopes, it was like a bunch of monkeys grabbing their stairs down.
We, trekkers, took shortcuts instead of the stony trail, many slipped but I managed to not slip even once, it was a perfect act of balancing many times. The local boys and kitchen staff were like monkey’s climbing down without the care with one of them having a Syntex drum tied behind his back( Sujon’s expression on seeing the guy with the drum was hilarious). 🙂 🙂
We stopped by in Bedni Bugyal for lunch, a final goodbye to the beautiful meadows. It was a continuous descend via Patal Ghaeroli till Wan, I was second to climb down. It was a moment of victory having conquered Roopkund at 15780 feet. The same evening we were given certificates for the climb and yes Anuja, as you wrote, I truly felt – ” I have conquered my Ego.”
Back to Kathgodam
It was a massive emotional turmoil because I did not want to leave the mountains. Morning, I stretched myself at 5.30am, had breakfast, bid goodbye to fellow trekkers and headed back to Kathgodam in a traveller with few other fellow trekkers. Yes, the view was beautiful but we all were sleepy, tired and full of experiences.
I was dreamy and I realised travelling is what I am born for. For all my fellow trekkers, I loved every bit of your companionship. Cheers to life. I know I will keep trekking. Right now I am waiting for winters for my next trek, the itch of climbing the mountains is real bad, it is addictive and profound, it is going to take me back.