Sunday, June 28, 2009

Loharjung - Tolapani

Since this was summer, at around 4.30AM, it was bright already. We were all ready by 6.30AM and waiting for the guide and porters. Within few minutes our guide and porters came. Our guide, Chander Singh was a simple guy and we came to know immediately after the initial interaction that he was not able to manage the porters. None of the porters were listening to him and the head porter refused to carry any load. It was a total chaos for the next 2 hours. We figured out that Chander Singh was not the guide we would want to go with, if we have to attempt Junar Gali or Ronti. JP and Ajay were pretty much miffed that we had to go with Chander Singh when his capabilities were in doubt. They both convinced Narendar, to drop Chander Singh and instead send Mahendar along with us. Mahendar was ready, except he had to be back in Loharjung a day earlier than our itinerary. This meant we would have to possibly skip a camp. We took the decision of dropping Chander Singh and took Mahendar along with us. I thank God and all our lucky stars for this decision. Mahendar turned out to be an excellent guide, very able, very honest and always ready to help.
Finally we were ready to start by 9.30 AM. The trail was well marked. It was nice see some greenery around during the start of the trek.

Our destination was Tolapani (~8900 feet) via the campsite of Didna . The initial part of the trail we had to descend a lot and it was only because this was the first part, we were enjoying it. On the way the trail splits into two, one way goes towards Wan and the other to Didna. The climb to Didna starts after crossing the river using a small bridge. We had walked for about 3 hours to get till here. It was a gradual zigzag climb but the harsh sun made it little difficult. We took close to an hour to reach Didna. JP asked guide if we can get some fresh ghee from Didna and his wish was attended to within few minutes. We paid 300 Rs for a kg of freshly prepared ghee. It was very good investment and throughout the trek we enjoyed our meals with ghee. There were few camps already pitched at Didna and the campsite is really beautiful but our destination was Tolapani a climb of about an hour and half from Didna. There was no proper trail from Didna to Tolapani and there is no water point as well. It was a steep climb through the dense forest of Khirsu trees and finally at 3.30PM we reached Tolapani.

We pitched our tents and waited for some hot tea. Since our day started with so much of confusion from Loharjung, we did not get any packed lunch and we were all rather hungry by the time we reached the camp.
Manoj was not keeping well; he had vomited a couple of times and that made everyone to worry. We were very sure that it was not altitude because we had hardly gained height. Everyone except Manoj had a very delicious dinner. We had campfire and everyone enjoyed it. It had been a relatively tough day for a first day, but all of us had done fairly well. It was a full moon night and it was very bright outside the tent, so much so that we did not have to put on our head lamps as well. Around 8.30 PM we called it a day.

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