“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” - John Muir
How to reach Uttarkashi?
After reaching Haridwar, one can travel to Uttarkashi via Rishikesh or Dehradun. A lot of shared cabs and buses are available for Uttarkashi. From Uttarkashi, the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation base camp located at Kuflon can be reached in 30 minutes. The nearest railhead is Haridwar. Therefore, the journey from Haridwar to Uttarkashi has to be travelled on road.
The base camp is located at Kuflon, in Garhwal Himalayas (about 10 kilometers from Uttarkashi). A rigorous training schedule acclimatizes the trekkers at the base camp for 5 days. The schedule includes activities on team formation, leadership exercises, risk taking abilities and creativity. Jungle camping, tent making, wrappling, river crossing, flying fox are the activities that are carried out to train the body before trekking.
After getting acclimatized, the different teams leave for Surya Top or Dayara Top or Darwa Top ( each at an altitude of roughly 13000 feet above sea level). It offers an incredible view of the upper Himalayan pinnacles, for example, Bandarpoonch and Draupadikadanda.
A Typical day starts at 5am in the morning with the morning whistle. After tea, upon the second whistle, physical training starts at 6am which includes warm up, stretching, running uphill and downhill. After the morning exercise, it’s time for breakfast. A typical breakfast includes oats, eggs, banana and cereals. Daily routine of team building tasks starts after breakfast which runs till 12 noon. After Lunch break and some gap, the rest of the day’s activity continues which lasts till evening 5PM. After the day’s training, trekkers wash utensils; collect water from the river for drinking and other uses and finally disperse after team discussion and feedback session. Finally, the day ends early post dinner as lights are put off in the camp after 9PM.
The major activities carried out in the base camp and areas around are Flying Fox, Rock climbing, jungle camping, wrappling and river crossing. In Jungle camping, teams are taken to a small area resembling a forest (safe from wild animals). They build tents, collect firewood to make food on their own. Different dynamic survival strategies are taught. At the same time, the teams take their full backpacks along with them in order to get accustomed with the load. The jungle camp is often held at a terrace farm for a good experience. After reaching the place, the teams build their own tents, collect water from the nearby river to prepare food.
Kuflon Base camp to Morosona
Kuflon Base Camp to Morosona is the first day of trekking and is an easier ascend compared to the journey ahead. The journey takes place through jungles and villages. Finally, after a lunch break and a couple of haults in the way, we reached Morosona in the evening. We had brought our own tents and camped at Morosona for the night. When the fear of the darkness is primal, but the beauty of the nature fills your heart with pleasure, one often gets lost in happiness. The true delight of a moonlit night is something that we do not see anymore.
Morosona to Gujjarhat
The second day of the journey gets tougher and trickier; as the landscape changes drastically. From full grown Pine trees, the scene presents Rhododendron as elevation crosses 6000 feet above the sea level. Vegetation changes and so does the terrain. We halted a couple of times and had lunch in our journey. Finally, we camped in Gujjarhat for the night.
It's important to stay close to the heart of nature. It is important to break the bonds once in a while. It is important to climb a mountain, to travel the road less travelled, to free the soul.
Gujjarhat to Surya Top
The third day trek starts with a grueling climb from Gujjarhat. The first hour of the trek starts with a slope of 75 degrees. The grueling climb gives way to the most surreal view of the entire trek – the meadows.
The amazing Himalayan view from the meadows is beyond words. A lot of Gujjars who take their herd to the meadows every summer have been continuously doing this trek for years. Mountains provide insights that we have to learn. They can be tiring, exhausting, and require a lot of energy. They can be troublesome but if you hold on long enough, you will discover the strength to ascend. When everything appears as a daunting task, the prospect of reaching the top helps in moving forward. And, as they say,” The best view comes after the toughest climb”
|Rejoicing at Surya Top|