Planning The Dream Trek To Kedarkantha:
Going on a Himalayan expedition is still a dream for many people who fantasizes about the mountains and Mother Nature. Imagine if you get a chance to be in the lap of the mountains without the noise of traffic, network connectivity, largely without any pollution.. the list goes on. Will you miss that opportunity? Well, I won't, and I created this opportunity for myself to visit the snow-capped mountains and wonderful, snow-laden trekking trails of the 'Kedarkantha Trek'. I had learnt that it is one of the most beautiful snow treks in the Indian Himalayas and since then I had been dreaming about going on this trek. I finally did it and would to share my experience of how blessed I feel to visit such a divine place in the Himalayas. The cherry on the top was we had planned out this trek with HIMALAYAN HIGH as our trek partner or service provider ('The HH').
Reaching Sankri - The Base Camp For Kedarkantha Trek:
To do the Kedarkantha Trek, we needed to reach Sankri - a beautiful village in the Jaunsar region of Uttrakhand. The time was communicated to us by Team Himalayan High as early morning 7 AM outside of Dehradun Railway Station, from where HH keeps transport arranged in advance for pickup. This cab would drive us through the wonderful road trip following the river Yamuna to Sankri, from where our trek starts. After about 8 hours of the drive with breaks in between, we reached Sankri - the first camp for the Kedarkantha Trek. Here, Mother Nature herself welcomes us with its cold breeze and beautiful view of setting sun behind the mountains. We were welcomed with a warm drink which felt very soothing in the cold environment. Warm and cosy lounges were provided to us and we decided to take the 1st floor of the lounge so that we can have an open view from the top which went all over to snow-capped peaks of the Swargarohinis, or 'Char Sing' as called locally. The first day was all about the introduction of the support team and trek instructions.
Trek To Juda Ka Taalab - First Day Of The Trek:
Our excitements were on high as we started out trek to Juda Ka Taalab on Day 2. We were given clear instructions on safety by our Trek leader regarding "Do's" and "Dont's" we have to follow while trekking. Everyone was waiting eagerly to touch and feel the first snow in which we would be for the next 4 days. After 3-4 hours of climbing, we saw the first snow and we ran to touch the snow, like babies in excitement! Our second campsite was 'Juda ka Talab'. The word itself says the 'frozen lake', where we were instructed not to walk with our spikes as that could break down the ice and you might fall into freezing water. As it was the first day of the trek, some of us were exhausted and took some rest. Meanwhile, we were served with tea, coffee & cookies.
Trek To Kedarkantha Base - Second Day Of The Trek:
Today's trek was a little difficult than that of the first day. It was a trek over snow and few sections were slippery where our microspikes came to the great rescue. The base camp was the most beautiful campsite if all and we got the first glimpse of the snow-covered Kedarkantha Peak. Everyone was instructed for the next da's plan and we would have to start the trek before dawn so that we could witness the magical sunrise over the peaks and valleys. We would have to wake up at 2:00 am and begin our climbing at 2:30 AM. The most exciting part of today's instruction was that HH took us to a nearby location where snow was about 2 ft. to practise sliding and some training tips about climbing and descending on snow. We made 'Snow-Man' too as there was an ample amount of snow all around. We also made snowballs and started throwing them on team members(as a part of Masti) who were not present at the time of instruction. Throughout the day, proper breakfast, meals & hot drinks were served to us.
The Ultimate Day - Summiting The Kedarkantha Peak
Early morning around 330 AM, we had our breakfast and were given some oranges to carry in our bag. We started the trek with a torch in one hand and a trekking pole in another. As my personal experience after walking for 4 hours, I almost gave up. It was a difficult trek with a few tricky sections, but it was our trek leader motivated me to climb till the summit. At 7 am when we reached the summit. The view of amazing sunrise I realized one thing - "To rise up with the sun you need to walk through the dark nights". The summit of Kedarkantha Peak at 12800 ft. induced a different level of positive vibes in me, which everyone must experience at least once in a lifetime. The experience of completing this summit was one of the most beautiful feelings in this entire world. The view of snow-capped mountains all around was satisfying to the soul's contentment. It just felt like I am having a conversation with mountain saying, 'that I will definitely come back to you once again'.
The return was easy and fun as we slid for over 100 meters in the soft snow and had hot Maggie. We were back to our campsite and relaxed for a while. The view over the top of the summit was not passing by my eye, as I was wishing to stay on the summit itself. Nevertheless, we had to head back to Sankri the next day. So we decided to celebrate the last night in the campsite. We played some music and had a small campfire. Everyone shared their life experiences which felt nice and increased our friendly bond.
The Final Good-Bye:
Finally, it was time to say Good-Bye to the snow which splits my heart for seconds. Everyone was ready and had breakfast. Today we would trek back to Sankri from Hargaon. After reaching Sankri we got took time to relax and rest, but in meanwhile someone suggested we should cook something delicious for those who help us throughout our journey. So we decided to make some barbeque platter and drinks. That night was memorable, everyone was enjoying their space some were having a deep conversation, while some were playing the guitar, some were enjoying drinks and at the last everyone was singing.
The next morning we were to board our can to take us back to our home, sweet home. However, I felt as if I left a part of me in the mountains itself.