Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tolapani – Bedni Bugiyal via Aali Bugiyal

We got ready by 7 the next morning. It was nice to see Manoj was back to normal. He was feeling fine and ready to enjoy the coming days. I was very excited from the morning because we would be passing via Aali Bugiyal and camping at Bedni Bugiyal. I had heard that the beauty of Aali (or Ali) Bugiyal is unparalleled and couldn't wait to see the high altitude meadow.
The initial part was a steep climb through a dense oak forest and in about half an hour we reached a small bugiyal called “Khana Bugiyal”. This place is famous because according to legends, Lord Shiva and Parvati have their food here. It was around a 3-4 km moderate walk from this point till Aali Bugiyal. The whole terrain was through moss laden oak trees initially, but as we approached the bugiyal, we left the trees behind us.

Aali Bugiyal is out of this world. It must have been around 5 Kms totally lengthwise. After seeing this meadow, it’s hard to believe that it is maintained this way by nature. We wanted to spend a lot of time here and we did so.

It was so enchanting that we did not want to move away from this bugiyal. We did move ahead after some time and we got some initial views of snow capped mountains. Mahendar told us that they were the Mrigthuni (~22600 feet) and Maikatoli (~22440 feet).

It was moderate walk of another 5 km from Aali to Bedni Bugiyal. On the way we met a villager whose horse had died a day earlier. He wanted me to click its photo and send it to him so that he could claim some insurance.
We reached Bedni Bugiyal (~11300 feet) at around noon. I had read lot of times that views of Trishul and Nanda Ghunti are awesome from Bedni Bugiyal. We thought since we had long day at campsite, we would quietly sit and watch Trishul and Nanda Ghunti.

But that was not to be. There were dense clouds on the eastern sky and both these peaks were hidden away for the whole time. In the later afternoon, our porters borrowed a volleyball from the shack owner and were playing in the Bedni Kund. We also had to pay the forest fees/camping fees for the entire group for the trek at Bedni. There was solar powered WLL phone available at the tea shack. Manoj and Ajay tried calling their homes and they had to try a lot of times, but were out of luck. Finally Manoj got a proper signal and was able to talk to his family members.
As the evening progressed, it got a little cold. Our porters prepared some hot pakoras and after hogging on the hot pakoras and some tea, all of us went for a stroll around to explore the campsite. This campsite was very windy and in the night the temperatures dropped down considerably. We decided hit the sack to beat the cold.
Sometime soon, when we were inside our sleeping bags, Mahender shouted from outside the tent that Trishul had come out of the clouds. It was very cold outside the tent, still I went out and saw both Trishul and Nandaghunti in all their glory. The views were just majestic. Both the mountains were aglow in the moonlight. This is the reason why I come to the Himalayas, bear the hardships, the cold.

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