In the technical terms we would have been called as newbie or underdog for this trek as we did not have any previous trekking experience. It was our very first trek and that too the Himalayan one.
It was a New Year day of 2018, when we decided that this year should be filled with adventure, fun and thrill. We thought of many activities like scuba, bungee, rafting but then finally concluded with the decision to go for trek. The mandatory rituals of searching and getting information about the places started. Finally after going to through various trekking places and trekking tours, we decided to go with Kailash Rath for Sarpass Trek. Being a Gujarati Jain, food was our primary concern, and we couldn’t have got any better deal than this one. By the end of Feb we did all our bookings to and fro Mumbai. We booked the mid-May batch of this trek, to beat the summer heat of Mumbai.
Few weeks before the departure we started accumulating things required for trekking and finally the day arrived when we left for Delhi. We had some spare time in Delhi and decided to go for sightseeing. The same night we had our bus from Delhi to Kasol base camp. Except a few all of the passengers were going for trekking to Sarpass.
The following day morning (Day 1) we reached the Kasol base camp. Kasol, itself situated at height of 1580m and water stream flowing alongside, in between the vegetation of apples, it was the luxurious campsite. Post lunch and acclimatization walk we got basics instructions of do’s and don’ts for this high altitude trek.
Day2: Kasol to Grahan Village
Post breakfast all the trekkers assembled for the head count and were assigned two trek leaders. The group was filled with high enthusiasm, everyone from a 13 year old to 45 year old; all of us were ready for this adventure. For the first couple of hours the trek trail passed through a forest adjacent to Grahan nalah with a few easy ascents and then passing through the lovely pine forest. We experienced light showers throughout the day with a frequent heavy lightning’s and thunderstorm.” Believe me those lightning’s and thunderstorm takes the hell out of you”.
The next couple of hours post lunch the trek gradually became difficult with climbing and rocky uphill’s. And the final hour steep climb and we reached the 2nd base camp, Grahan village. We were welcomed with a lovely local cold drink.
While on acclimatization we got to know more about the village. Grahan, a beautiful village located at approx. 7700 ft. had all the basic things like primary school, market, electricity.
Post dinner finally our batch sat together for a formal introduction with a camp fire around. That was the fabulous evening of the trek. I can say that “It was that evening when someone was happy, someone was sad, someone was romantic and someone was hippie”.
Day 3: Grahan to Mung thatch
The real test started now, the trail to mung thatch passed through the meadows with sometimes confusing and zigzag trails at some places. We reached a point along a small bank of river, from where we could see the mung thatch, naggaru and sar top. The trail from here is a steep slope with single person walking space that to upward up to the campsite. On reaching the campsite, we witnessed an amazing and clear rainbow over the mountain.
Thatch is known as grazing land. Mung thatch is situated at the height of approx. 10000 ft. and is the last point up to where the land animals can travel. Above this, high altitude starts having very little or no green vegetation.
Day 4: Mung thatch to Naggaru
It was the shortest trail of the trek, but the most difficult one. Firstly the trail goes down to the valley and then almost a 60 degree upward slope up to the campsite. In the last hour trail we encountered snow till camp site. Having a wonderful group made this journey look so easy. The entire route we sang songs non-stop (could have been a world record). Finally we reached the campsite and were welcomed with tea and followed by hot bhajiyas and within a couple of minutes the atmosphere completely changed, from bright sun shine to light snow fall with a gust of wind flowing along. The view post snow fall was mesmerizing.
Believe me Naggaru, at 12500 ft. nothing can be better than this, situated at the center with snow clad mountains on all the sides, this camp gives you a goose bumps. If not this view, then wait for the night. Since the next day trek is the longest of all, we had to get up at around 3.00 am. Believe me you will never wake up to such a view in your life, millions of stars shinning above you or I can say a blanket of stars wrapping you. I am not attaching the pic of this view for 2 reasons, first I want you to go there and feel it yourself and second, it was damn chilled out there, so didn’t have the guts to remove hand gloves and click a pic using a cam.
Day 5: Naggaru to Biskeri thatch via Sarpass
The most awaited day of the trek. Only one thing was on mind that time, to conquer the top and no looking back. After the mandatory oxygen level check, we started our ascent at 5.00 AM towards Sarpass. With the very first step it was steep upward slope on the ice clad mountains. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but without hard work there is no success. The complete trail upto Sarpass top was steep slope with some places having a flat route. And after 5 hours of trekking, there we were at 14000 feet, standing upright at the Sarpass top, waving the flag in triumph and it was moment of proud and satisfaction. The entire group was filled with joy and happiness and everybody congratulating each other for making it to the top. The view from the top was fantabuluous that couldn’t be expressed in words.
We started our descent towards Biskeri with the snow slide (Amazing part of the trek) from the Sarpass top. Almost a distance of an hour walking gets covered in a few minutes. Then walking through the forest we arrive at the valley and reach the final camp site, Biskeri thatch.
We knew unofficially it was our last day to enjoy, since after the next day descent everybody will be back on their way home. We enjoyed our last day trek from Biskeri to Kasol base camp as much as we could. Our batch was few of the batches in which everyone completed the trek successfully. A lifetime memory was etched on mind and heart. And with a heavy heart, had to bid adieu, to this passengers of the same bus and decided to stay in touch forever.
PS: Thanks to each and everyone involved in organizing this wonderful trek and not giving a single moment to complaint about things. “Kudos” to the chefs who cook food at all the camp site and gave us some delicious healthy food. One thing that I would say, whenever on mountains, remember one thing “Jal hee Jeevan hai”.