Today was the official start of the trek as yesterday we didn't walk much. It was 16th of June and I was reminded of the fact that it was exactly on the the same day last year that the great calamity took place in this area.
We were all ready by 7AM. The initial walk was on the well marked trail. We had to cross the river today. The Sian Gad meets the Bhagirathi somewhere after the village of Jhala and we had to cross the Sian Gad so that we can come on to the true left of the river.
Till before last year, teams have been crossing the river using log bridges, however, this time around all the bridges had vanished.
When we started our day, the flow of the river was very high. So the guide decided to climb up the ridge above the river and see if we could avoid the river crossing. Unfortunately, he couldn't find any such route and we decided to cross the river. This was not just crossing one stream, but a series of small and large stream which we had to cross to start the day for the hike till Jhadunga.
But Suresh , who was a big help to us and to our guide suggested that it will be too risky to cross the river in spate and so we had to find another route. With this, we started hiking up on the mountain in the forest. The climb was tough in the hot sun and it seemed never ending. As we climbed, I could a see a ridge and then another and then another, but could not see any trail to go down to other side. Our guide would go ahead of us asking us to wait then after a while asked us to climb behind him. This was the pattern till we had climbed almost around 600 mts that day. The porters were behind us and they too were tiring now.
After a while Suresh came up from behind and called us to climb down as there was no route further up. The climbing down part was really scary. It was while we were climbing down, we met Sathya who was attempting the “Kaala Naag” summit. His party too was stuck on the ridge because of the missing log bridges on the Sian Gad.
After climbing and waiting, at around 2.30 PM, we descended down to the river bed. The descent was terrible what with the trail breaking at every step. One of the sections was so steep that we had to use the rope here.
After a long and treacherous descent we were at the river bed. The guide decided to put a camp here itself as the weather had started to turn sour. To add to our consternation, we could see the now see a log bridge on this side which we could have easily crossed in the morning to reach Jadunga. However, we were on the side where we wanted to be.
This was supposed to be an easy day which turned to be tough due to the unnecessary climbs. But thats what trekking is all about. A bad trail, a river in spate, a bad weather can turn your plans topsyturvy. There was no height gain today, we were at the same altitude and about 300 meters from where we started. The rest of the evening was spent in talking to Sathya and checking his maps. We had a fair idea of the route from his maps.