Interested to know more about Trekking in India? Then you have landed at the right place. Today’s post is about our first Himalayan trek we did this winter and our experiences with INDIAHIKES . To begin with, the trek we chose to do was Kedarkantha which stands 12,500 ft high. We chose Kedarkantha trek because it is apt for novice trekkers like us who have absolutely no prior hiking experience. Also, we have https://indiahikes.com/heard from many that this particular trek has the prettiest campsites which looks dreamy and surreal. So, After seeing all the pictures of Kedarkantha floating around in the internet, we were super sure that we want to do this but the only question was- Which season? Summer or winter . It was very hard to choose one of these because the scenery is equally stunning in both seasons. We gave it a lot of thought and then decided to do the winter trek. Ever since we booked our tickets, we were thrilled because we were going to have a White New Year. We both have always wanted to visit Kashmir after seeing Mani Ratnam’s evergreen hit movie Roja. But looks like Kashmir has to wait, maybe someday. But nevertheless we got to see Kedarkantha which is no less. On a lighter note, we always wondered why the tourism board of India says #Incredibleindia and now we get it! India is unmatched beauty. Dont believe us? Read on and you will see the beauty in the pictures that follow ..
- The duration of the trek -6 days
- Highest Altitude – 12,500 feet
- Level of difficulty is Easy during Summer and Moderate during harsh winters.
- The average temperature in the day is -9 ° C during the day and 0 ° C -6 ° C during night time. And During Winters 8-15 ° C in the day time and Night time falling to -7 ° C
- Vehicle fare details for Dehradun to Sankri – Rs 5,500 / – one way per vehicle (Sumo type) (5-6 seater) Rs 9,000 / – one way (Time Traveler) (10-12 seater)
Day 2: Sankri (6450ft) – Lake of Juda (9150ft)
It was New Years – January 1st 2017, and we headed to Juda Ka Talab at 7.30 AM, probably the time when the rest of India was in deep slumber after the party scenes from the New Year Eve celebrations. Since it was January, the weather was chill and pleasant. We were specifically told by our Trek leader not to layer up too much as our bodies would get heated up after the initial few minutes of the trek. As soon as we started feeling warm, we got rid of our extra layers and marched on much more freely. It was an easy hike, but we kept stopping at several places to click some pictures and to sip on some water. Hydration at regular intervals is a must during hiking. Somewhere around midway, we stopped at a Dhaba and had some bread omlette and chai. After the hearty meal, we were just lying on the grass waiting for everyone to be done with their snacking so that we can move ahead and guess what! It started snowing. Bit by bit, we saw tiny specks of snow and all of us began to scream in excitement. And even before we could pull out our ponchos from our bags, the intensity of snow had worsened. We were told that we should try and reach our first campsite before the weather conditions get any worse and no more photo breaks. We agreed and made our way through the snow to reach Juda Ka Talab – where two ponds came together to create some magic. It took us approximately 4 .5 hours to get here. Upon arrival, we are allocated our tents and asked to leave our bags and treat ourselves with some hot soup and lunch. Post lunch, we made our way to our respective tents and exchanged stories, played games and spent time dong what we felt like at that point of time. Jose and i were running around from tree to tree and clicked a zillion pictures. We also managed some snowball fights which happened to be so much fun. Some dinner followed before we called it a night. Sometime in the wee hours, i woke up with a splitting headache, numb hands and a cold body. I got out of the sleeping bag and headed out of the tent with my torch to see if i could get some medical help. As i stepped out with my torch light, i could see that everything outside the tent was frozen. My trekking poles looked like they were untouched for years together as they lay buried deep in the snow. I immediately called out to my trek leader Shravan who was in the opposite tent and told him that I am not feeling quite well. Within seconds he checked my oxygen and pressure readings and said that my oxygen level had suddenly dipped and I needed some medication to fix the problem. He has asked me if I have ever been on DIAMOX and that question scared me to death. On seeing me panic, he assured me i would be fine and there was nothing much to worry. He gave me a low dosage tablet and told me to try and get some sleep. I returned to my tent and said a tiny prayer thanking God for all that I have been blessed with. And the prayer was also a sign of my fear. I just wondered what if I slept and did not wake up the next day? I had all sorts of crazy thoughts running in my head before i fell asleep.
Day3- Juda ka Talab (9150ft) to KK base camp (11250ft) –I am alive! Thank you Shravan for the timely intervention. Also I realized that a high altitude trek is only for the brave hearted. If you are weakling, you will not survive. You need to be strong. You need to have a strong mind to believe in yourself, and in your trek leader and most importantly you must be ready to let go of your fears. The reason I am stressing on this is because, there was a couple who quit the camp on this day simply because they thought they could not go any further. The wife and husband were perfectly fine and healthy but they were way too scared since it was their first high altitude trek. We all tried to persuade them to join us, but the couple was determined to head back to Sankri. So after bidding farewell to the couple, we had our breakfast and headed to the KK Base Camp. The sun was shining brightly and it was a fairly short climb of around 2.5 kms. Todays hike was very easy on our legs and we enjoyed every bit of the scenic views our eyes were treated with. The KK Base was a beauty. The bright orange tents were immersed in snow with views of tall pine trees and snow capped mountains. As we had a long day ahead, we played a few rounds of card games and antakshari with all the trek participants and it was so much fun. A while later, we were asked to gather for an acclimatization walk. Love it or hate it- but you ought to do it.
Day 4-KK base camp (11250ft) – KK Summit (12500ft) – KK base camp (11250ft) – Hargaon (8900ft)Toughest and the most challenging day of the trek has arrived. We had to wake up at 3:00 am, breakfast at 3.30 AM and leave at sharp 4 for our summit climb. Breakfast at 3.30 AM is not cool. Those who were not comfortable with such an early breakfast had the option of packing it in their lunch boxes and that is what we did. We planned to have it whenever we feel hungry. We wore our metal spikes under our shoe soles and headed to the Summit under the guidance of our flashlights. It was pitch dark and cold. I stopped in between to hydrate myself and to eat the apple i had dumped into my bag while i was half asleep. As soon as i took off my gloves to bite the apple, my hands froze and turned blue. It was a ridiculously cold morning and i thought its better i forsake the apple than get my hands more numb. So i walked on with an almost empty stomach and just then a Fellow trekker passed around some nuts and chocolates which i happily grabbed and nibbled on. The nuts gave me the energy to head on . After several hours of walking, we witnessed one of the most awesomest sunrises ever. But we weren’t done yet. We still had some more walking before we could say that we conquered Kedarkantha Summit. With every step, I could feel my lips and throat turn dry. Also the trail just got steeper and steeper as we neared the summit. But with motivation from fellow trekkers, I moved on. As i am extremely scared of heights, i did not want to look behind me nor did i try taking any pictures in the breathtaking beautiful background simply because i thought i was risking my life. The last half an hour of the trek was very difficult for me – both physically and mentally and I seriously thought game over. But with all the pushing from mister i trudged on and on. And after what it seemed like forever, we made it to the summit. 12500 feet high was no joke. We were super proud of having made it to the top and our joy knew no bounds. What a fabulous feeling after all the hard work we did. At the top, We happily clicked a lot of pictures and later took a group picture, And gathered together to listen to our trek leader show us a number of other peaks and valleys what we could see from where we stood. It was a great spot to get that perfect panorama shot! So after the celebratory moment, we descended to the base camp where we had yummy biriyani and a short nap. A few of us were dehydrated from the merciless sun and so we had some ORS to quickly refuel ourselves. After that we took our belongings and left to Hargaon. The return was relatively easy but there were few paths which needed some skill and judgment to make the hike a smooth process. After reaching Hargaon, we played some cricket and also got our trek leader to some pahadi dance which i happily recorded on my phone. Must admit that I fell in love with the music. It was soulful and so apt for the mountains. Since it was our last night at the tent, We all enjoyed to the fullest and made good memories. Post dinner, there was a small surprise for us. The IndiaHikes Team had baked a cake for the whole batch just to celebrate this milestone and we were all touched by this sweet gesture.
Day 5 – Hargaon (8900ft) -Sankri (6400ft) –
With every approaching step, the snow patches started disappearing and we started getting closer to civilization. On our three hour hike back to Sankri, we saw a couple of children from the villages who waved at us and started conversations in English. They were extremely friendly and had such beautiful smiles and looked content with whatever little they had. Seeing these tiny tots so happy did ring bell in our inner minds about how a simple lifestyle can be so gratifying. I fell in love with Sankri that I never felt like returning home. Upon arrival, we finally bathed! Yes after 5 long days we had access to hot water baths and toilets. We spent the rest of the evening just chit chatting and recalling our summit climb experiences. Just before dinner, we were given our participation certificates and we were also asked to share our experiences with each other. With all the hiking, I was sort of exhausted and fell asleep early to be woken up with a yummy birthday cake freshly baked by the IndiaHikes Team once again! Apparently Jose told the team that it was my birthday and they all got together and made a grand entry into my room at sharp 12 whilst I was in deep sleep. I was so touched by the whole team and I must say it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had
Day 6 – Sankri- Dehradun
Time for farewells and those emotional scenes. With a heavy heart, we embarked our 10 hour journey to Doon.
Came as strangers and left as friends. I think this is the beauty of travel. It has the power to connect like minded people, and it gives you life experiences. As i write this post, i am already dreaming of my next hike with IndiaHikes. I would highly recommend the Kedarkantha trek with IndiaHikes to anyone who wishes to have a himalayan experience.
Why do we recommend the Kedarkantha trek with IndiaHikes?
- Great team of experienced and skillful trek leaders
- Highly safe and top quality trekking gears and equipments
- Mouthwatering food
- Budget friendly treks
- Top notch camping experience