Trekking with the amazing views of Garhwal Himalayas- Kuari Pass
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson made me traverse through the unknown. It was in the month of November and we chose to trail “Kuari Pass”. Mostly, most recommendable visits are in winter but it is a fair visit just after the monsoons too. One will not get to see snow but can still get to praise the beauty of nature and the mighty mountains.
Trek fee: 11400/- (includes transfer from Joshimath-Auli-Joshimath, 2 night stay and 3 meals each day)
Start point of the trek: Auli
Duration: 4 Days
Camping: 3 days
Trek Difficulty Level: Moderate
Highest Altitude: 12,516 ft.
Temperature: 14-18 degree Celsius, can even drop till minus 1 at night.
Things to carry: Make your luggage as light as possible. Don’t carry any extras, it will not do any good to you. Roll your eyes on the enlisted items to carry:
- A max of the 50-60l backpack.
- ID proof (Driving license, Voter’s ID, mandatory)
- Trekking shoes having a good grip (Quechua, woodlands are recommended ones, one can go for Adidas if one feels comfortable wearing light shoes).
- Torchlight, carry extra batteries
- At least one pair of track pants, jeans not recommended.
- Thermal inners (1 pair)
- 1 Full sleeves jacket
- 3 pairs of socks.
- Woolen cap
- Woolen hand gloves
- 1 water bottle (preferably heat resistant)
- Sun cap
- A light towel
- Tissues (both toilet and wet wipes)
- Medicines (cough, cold and fever)
- Pain relieving sprays and ointments (volini or moov)
- Plastic bags in case your clothes get wet.
- Lip balm or chapstick
- Dry fruits.
Meet Sandeep, our trek lead
Day1: Auli via Gorson Bugyal to Talli Camp Site– A trek of 8 km
Our journey started from Auli. The initial few steps were difficult, though. One can either track the path to climb the hill or can enjoy the gondola ride for around 700m.
View of the mighty mountains from Gorson Bugyal
View of Hathi and Ghori Peaks
To reduce our stress on our physical health, mules were arranged to carry our heavy luggage on their back.
For beginners, the first half an hour will be difficult. One needs to get acclimatized with the height and breathing needs to be under control. However, don’t get disappointed as you will feel better as your whole body will get used to it within the next few hours.
The Padiyar Temple while going up from Auli
We stopped to get ourselves energized in a small vendor corner where we found people piping out hot tea under the brightly lit sun. One can have tea, bournvita, hot chocolate drink and maggi as this small place can provide you all the best things available on that mountain top.
Stall in the mountain
We walked and enjoyed the breath-taking views of Nanda Devi, Hathi and Ghora top. One can admire Dunagiri peak too. Tired walking, post 1 O’clock, we were handed the packed lunch- Aaloo paratha wrapped in aluminum foil, one chocolate, and one packet of biscuit, a banana and a packet of juice. We ate and our tummy became happy to get it filled.
The journey continued 05:30 in the evening and it was almost getting dark. We finally reached the Talli Lake. There we found other trekkers from other countries too. We rested a while and then walked further towards our camp. The temperature was cooling down as it was getting darker; we were served hot tea by one of our fellow guides waiting for us on our way. That was the “Aha” moment for all of us! Finally, we reached our camp where our tents were ready with sleeping bags.
The Talli Camp
There were other camps too. As soon as we reached, the cook arranged for us hot soup and popcorn. There was a tent which acted as a kitchen and the sleeping place for the cook and his coordinators including our guide, Sandeep. We sipped the hot soup within no time and sat in the dining area arranged for us in another tent area.
Steamed Rice, Lentils, and Mixed Vegetable were served for dinner. We grabbed them all as hungry wolves and went back to our respective tents to avoid shivering and numbness. The temperature went to minus. We were all under the blanket of shining stars which resembled glittering diamonds.
Waiting for breakfast at Talli Camp
Day2: Talli Camp to Khullara Base Camp– A trek of 9 km.
The morning was bright, fresh in the midst of the forest. The tall pine trees felt like greeting us early morning. Around 07:00 a.m., the sun made us happy by pouring warmth on us. The hot black tea was the best part in the mountains. We were all set to move once we were loaded with heavy breakfast of Bread, Omelette, and Broken Wheat Porridge.
Our Breakfast-Bread, Omelette and Porridge
The Mules grazing
And we started the trek through the chilly winds
We all felt that we will feel hot and thought of leaving the woolens, however, doing that won’t be a good idea, though. It was advised to carry or wear woolens as the road was going to be windy and we found the road chilling with mischievous winds. The ears need to be covered especially.
The path was leading to scenic places. The Nanda Devi becoming more distinct and the view was spellbound. We reached our base camp at around 05:00P.M. The Khullara was situated at the base of Dronagiri. We spent the rest of the time roaming around. The coordinators as earlier prepared our camps and collected woods for the campfire prior dinner. We had been served soup and popcorn which we relished around the camp fire. Hot broken wheat “khichdi” with pickle were served on our dinner table. Hot porridge was served in desserts.
We spotted our next base camp from above
Day3: Khullara Base Camp to Kuari Pass-A trek of 14 km (7 km up and 7km down)
Today’s morning was special to everyone as we were eagerly waiting to reach Kuari Pass, our destination. Unlike the treks of previous days, this trek was going to be a little bit difficult. Sandeep, the lead trekker advised the not-so-strong ones to sit back if they couldn’t get to the top as we will be tracing back the same route.
Our saviour in the Himalayas-our cook
With hot soup and popcorn
View from Khullara Base Camp
In the midst of breathlessness and tiredness, we all felt excited when we saw a part of our path was frozen. It was dangerous yet exciting. Slowly, we were able to pass the huge ice spread.
Note: Do not step on the ice! It is prone to accidents.
After a long tiring walk for almost an hour, we finally reached Kuari Pass. One of our trek members had to sit back due to mountain sickness. However, the rest reached the destination. Once reached, the panorama was awestruck. Our trek lead showed the other villages from the top and a few minutes later we all had our lunch whole-heartedly. It was a celebration of success for all of us!
Kuari Pass Damn Hungry!
The view from Kuari Pass, our hard work paid off!
The Gorgeous evening
The path down was the same that we followed while going up. We picked one of our members whom we left down while moving towards the Kuari Pass. Finally, we were back at our base camp at around 06:00 P.M. We made sure that we should reach the camp before dark or else it would be difficult as the road was bumpy and one can stumble and slip if not careful.
Day 4: Back to Joshimath via Dhak village– A trek of 9 km downhill.
Personally, this was the most difficult trek for me. Usually, the thought of going down made me feel happy but it was a misconception. The last day was literally meant workout for our calf muscles. We were all set with a heavy breakfast of “Poori Bhaji” and boiled eggs and of course hot tea. The sky was clear and the sun rays seemed kissing the mountain top.
The Boiled Eggs-source of proteins
That day we were walking beside the stream and the meadows. The air was fresh, the canopy was providing the calmness of the jungle, broken only by the clattering sounds of the flowing stream.
We spotted the flock of sheep
I found them in the midst of the jungle while returning
Around 02:00 P.M,we reached Ugasi village and we all opened our packed lunch in a hurry. We had to walk another 2.5 hours to reach the Dhak village. Enjoying the topsy-turvy road of multiple villages we finally were able to spot tourist vehicles and the proper road which meant we had finally reached Dhak village. Our vehicle was already waiting for us. We were all happy to accomplish our dream however deep down; our hearts were crying of separation.
Still from Ugasi Village
Sandeep, the trek lead, and guide seemed to take baby steps towards his vehicle bidding goodbye to all!
Celebration of accomplishment and a moment to bid Good-Bye
Sandeep Semwaal- Our trek lead
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