Sandeep, JP and I started on 5th of June from Bangalore. We met the rest of folks at the old Delhi railways station. We took the Ranikhet express to Kathgodam and reached Kathgodam at around 6.30 the next morning. There was a Sumo already waiting for us to take us to Loharjung. Raju Shah from Deval organises pick up from Kathgodam to Loharjung.
We started for Loharjung at around 7.30 AM. The route to Loharjung from Kumaon side [via Almora] is a very scenic route. The condition of the roads is excellent and there wasn't the “Yatra season” traffic that we would have to deal with, had we gone from the Rishikesh side. All of us had a good time during the journey. Some of us were meeting the rest of the gang for the first time and it was a good day for bonding and getting to know your trek mates. We stopped at Bhowali, known as the fruit bowl of Kumaon and picked up some real fresh fruit. The food lover JP got some hot pakoras which were emptied in no time. We stopped for a breakfast at Garam Pani a little ahead of Kainchi Mandir. All these reminded Sandeep and me of our first visit as tourists to Kumaon. The journey was quite eventless otherwise. We had lunch at Gwaldham and reached Deval at around 5.30 PM.
We met Raju shah who had arranged our commute. In his shop we found around 4-5 bird chicks in a small nest. The local people called these birds as “Dhan chidi” and they are supposed to bring prosperity.
Loharjung (~7900 feet) is around an hour’s drive from Deval. We shifted our luggage to another jeep as the road after Deval is not in good condition. The hour was quite eventful compared to the entire day’s journey. The jeep got a puncture twice, the driver ran out of his spare and he had to go a long way to get a spare. Finally we reached Loharjung at around 7 in the evening, but on the way we lost our tent mats and some other stuff.
We met Narendar, Mahender and our guide Chander singh at Loharjung. All the three brothers act as guides and organise treks to Roopkund. I asked Narendar if we would be able to cross Junar Gali during this time and . Narender told us that, this season no one has crossed Junar gali and snow is very hard so it will be very difficult to cross Junar gali.
There were 2-3 groups already in Loharjung and we thought we might get to see a lot of people on this trek. We also met a family from Pune who had been till Bedni Bugiyal. It is always so nice to see people spending their vacation on outdoors.
We decided to spend the night in a small room with 5-6 beds but before that we had lot of work left. We needed to arrange for the porters and for the rations. The evening was spent on all the pre-trek preparations, figuring out the number of porters required, the amount of kerosene, rations required etc. At the end of all that everyone was very tired. We had dinner at Chander Singh’s chowmin shop and headed back to the room to retire for the night.