Thanks to will and determination of Gunja we finally did our first himalayan trek. It was not a high altitude trek but still needed preparation. Regular workouts since last two months definitely paid out. Thanks to Kunal for planning out this one and Manu Adventures for all the assistance, guidance and logistics. We wanted to do a child-friendly trek and they suggested that we do a 4D/3N ~50km Kareri->Bal->Triund Trek. Triund had been on the wishlist since long and I had read a lot about it, many people had been there with their kids (infact it is just perfect first-family-trek for a heavenly experience!). It is ~10k ft and there were no reports of AMS so we finalized the itinerary, booked the tickets and started all the preparations.
Landed on the weekend when McLeodGanj gets just too crowded. Roads are narrow and you could get stuck in traffic for hours. Locals advise to not bring your car (to avoid jams) and hire local cabs (who are expert in driving around these roads) and also cab fares are moderate. Stayed in simple homestay of Manu in Upper Bhagsu (~3 kms from McLeodGanj) with views of the mighty Mun peak and his cute kids/niece/nephew for company. Explored the local markets of McLeodGanj (which is nothing less tiring than a trek if you have ever gone out for shopping with women!). McLeodGanj is a paradise for food lovers. Had the best of tibetan, bhutanese, italian, thai, mexican cuisines and charged up our batteries for the trek next day.
Following breakfast, we were transferred to our starting point (few kms away from McLeodGanj) to begin trekking! Our first few kilometres were undulating until we reached Satobari Village, which is where we started our descent through pine forests to Ghere Village. We continued after lunch with a steep ascent for about 2 hours to Kareri Village, where the camp was setup next to the Laund River.
After experiencing our first night under the stars and full moon (almost!), we continued ascending on a gradual trail passing through many charming villages, passing beautiful open meadows and pine forests on the way. We took a short descent to the mountain stream to stop for lunch, then ascended sharply afterwards towards Bal.
We continued our trek by crossing over a suspension bridge then ascending through rhododendron and pine forests for approx. 2 hours.
Continued our ascent after lunch, we finally reach our camp on an alpine meadow facing the breathtaking (little bit of snow-capped) peaks of the Duala Dhar mountain range.
Following our last breakfast in the campsite, we began trekking over a grassy ridge which offers us lasting memories of the peaks that surrounded us. Our trek continued with a steep descent till Galu devi temple.
Daily routine during these days was usually waking up to the natural light between 5-6:00 am, with hot tea/coffee/warm water breakfast ready to be served. Start trekking between 8-9 am. Lunch was usually en route. Upon reaching campsite (usually between 4-6 pm), again tea and snacks (usually pakoras) were served. Dinner was usually served around 7:00 pm. Drinking water was usually filled up from river streams and nautral springs. Evenings afforded some of the best memories, whether it was sitting around talking, playing with the kids, chatting with the staff, lying under the star studded sky and just waiting for the moon to rise.
Words and pictures cannot do justice to the experience everyone had like how we couldnt stop while ascending steep mountains as leeches were crawling on our feet and how Gunja nearly escaped a sting from scorpion as it walked over her hand :D. Kudos to both Gunja and Namrata and of course kids who were joyful till the end. I know the mountains will call us again and we will go back soon, hungry for more adventures...