Story of solo treker to - Roopkund the skeleton trek/ mystery lake
Following my passion as a traveler I made my decision to trek Roopkund and explore the mountains. I am also traveler With the help of Google I collected the information about routes to Roopkund I got few maps from Google and the Bus Transportation details as well.
One of the bridges at Karunaprayag.
I started my journey from Inder Bawa Marg, Rajpur road at 0300hrs on 22/10/2016. I reached ISBT Dehra Dun by 0500hrs and waited for the bus that goes to karunaprayag
I am ignorant and I don't know the places any further from Karunaprayag so I met the conductor to enquire about the bus services from Karunaprayag to Lohajung. I had a conversation with him and he is a amiable person so I asked him about the buses that goes to Lohajung from Karanprayag, he told me that the bus (UTC Uttrakhand Transportation Corporation) goes to Bageshwar via Tharali unexpectedly I got lucky.
Then the bus left ISBT Dehra Dun at 0600hrs and the fare is just 400 rupees and we had a halt at Rishikesh so I bought some apples thinking that I can restore energy during my trek, and then we had an halt at Deoprayag to have breakfast and after that we had a halt at Srinagar and at Karanaprayag after that in between there where landslide which delayed ours journey anyways the driver managed to reach Tharali by 1500hrs
As I got down in Tharali a Jeep that is ready to leave to Dewal (A town between Tharali and Lohajung ) has stopped for me and asked me where I m heading to, and as I told him “Dewal”, he dropped me at Dewal on our way I asked him about the transportation to Lohajung and then he dropped me at Dewal and charged me 50 rupees and directed me the Jeep which goes to Lohajung and it was right behind me
1.RISHIKESH –- KARNAPRAYAG – THARALI – DEWAL – LOHAJUNG - WAN VILLAGE.
2. DIRECT BUS FROM RISHIKESH TO LOHAJUNG
DEPARTURE: 0400HRS DURATION: 12-14 HOURS
3.DEHRADUN TO BAGESHWAR VIA THARALI (UTC)
Then something unexpected has happened.
There I met another traveller from Delhi who is also on solo trek to Roopkund, ( I got lucky again) soon we became good friends and being a light traveller I didn't carry many things like tent, sleeping bag, trekking shoes and tent. So we decided to share the tent and in return I shared some of his luggage. We got down at Lohajung and we were charged 50 per head. By the time we reached Lohajung it was 1800hrs. And decided to freshen up and have something to fill our hungry bellies. When I went in the washroom and turned on the tap, the water were damn chill, I didn’t want to use those water but I was not in the cities so I have to use the natural resources that are available there and finally I freshened up and had dinner and went to bed, as we planned to leave early the next day to Wan village.
The next morning we woke up at 0700hrs as our previous day was fatigue and we both were under our quilts didn’t want to move out because of cold temperature outside the room, anyways we got up, got ready and went to have breakfast and found a car that is ready to leave to Wan village there are two way to reach Roopkund one is from Wan village and the another way is from Didna village, as we found a car that is going to wan village we chose to go by wan. We were charged 100 per person (it’s the normal cost). On the way between Lohajung and Wan village there are two water streams we spent few minutes there for some landscape photo shoot and we moved further to our next destination Wan village and reached wan village by 1000hrs wan village
I and my friend decided to stay in wan village for that day and have a look around the village to collect some information about the village and their culture and also some photographs.
Photo Shoot in wan village
So we had a halt in the hotel for that day and we have been charged 250 per person (24hrs). We had lunch and after lunch we had a walk, their we found another water stream so we took some photographs there and met a villager who's occupation is tailoring in the Wan village and we got to know about the stories of the village and about the Latu Mandirr (Latu Devta is worshipped by the localities) so we made a small documentation on that and as my friend has this go pro adventure camera our work has become easy.
So our next plan for the day was to visit Latu Mandir so we hiked to Latu Mandir which is at the tip n top of the village and in between we came across mountain sheep they were staring at us ,like most of our Indians behaves when a foreign walk into our streets. After we reached the Latu Mandir we were amazed to see the bells (more than 700 bells around the tree) and the tree which has some kind of energy in it. We felt it like as if we saw the holy tree which was shown in the movie Avatar. The Mandir is full of bells and every year between March and May the villagers celebrate by offering the goats to Latu Devta, they cook there and enjoy that day.
And on our way back to wan village we felt thirsty unfortunately, we forgot to carry our water bottles but we found the water streams and are good to drink as they are naturally purified so one can drink without hesitation.
And finally our day ends with some good turn as my friend likes company of three we found another traveler who is alone and has come all the way from Chennai to trek Roopkund and he hired a guide. But we hired neither a porter nor a guide as the locals manipulated us with the troubles on the way, but me and my friend from Delhi thought that we are on adventure and we didn’t want to change the meaning of adventure and decided not to heir anyone that night after finishing our dinner we had a walk, searching for the milky way galaxy at night. And luckily we found it, we were happy to see group of starts and the Milky Way galaxy that night. And after that we went back to the hotel decided to start the trek next day by 0800hrs.
Even though we four people started together, I and my friend from Delhi made it slow because our goal is not just to complete the trek, but also to capture the beautiful nature in ours cameras.Our destination for the day was Bedni Bugyal after the Wan village till Bedni Bugyal the area in between is a forest area, We trekked for a long time and on our way we found two dogs which accompanied us till the NeelGanga river in the forest, the wide water stream of neelganga river, it starts flows from the top of the mountain so we decided to enjoy that movement we stayed there for a long time and the water are freaking cold. We did photo shoot in that place and then we again started our trek and we met two people from Delhi who are 64 and 59 they made it till Patharnachni the old people inspired me and they also proved that if we want to achieve anything Age doesn't matter.We trekked further.
After some distance we met another group, group of student from IIM Indore and they are working on their project(go green) given to them by their institute, to collect the plastic bags in the mountains to keep it clean and their trek is till Bedni Bugyal and their destination for that day is Ghorali patal. I made few friends on my way and people are really good. As my destination is bedni bugyal and a long way, I should move faster, so I wished them luck and I left and I made it to Gharoli Patal and didn't wait there.
I pushed myself further and then after an hour walk I decided to wait for my friend, he made it in no time, then with several halts and hard climbing we made it to the small temple from where it is around 1km to Bedni Bugyal .At the temple we met a guy who runs a dabha at bedni bugyal and also a good friend of my Chennai friend’s guide. So the guy waited there for us to reach there, once we reached we had 10minutes of halt and then we started again and the view was amazing from the temple actually I am a nature lover and for such views I think any nature lover can make it there.
On our way to Bedni Bugyal I didn't want to walk hard anymore, I wanted to enjoy the sunset and so I took it slow, by the time I reached Bedni Bugyal( the camp site), my friends were waiting for me to pitch tent
And when I reached there I was happy to see the view of Mt.Trishul as the sun went down the color of the snow capped mountain drastically changed. We cooked our own food on a mini stove for the night. Then there comes a twist in my plan when I received a message from my friend that he is going to leave to his home in 2days and as I left with a hope that he would help me out with the studies when I return, I started my trek and now I didn't understand what to do so I went to the guide and asked him that whether I can make it in 1day to Roopkund and be back I was totally confused then. Everyone is suggesting their own opinions but I have to take wise decision or else I will be in trouble later, as I am not familiar with the mountains. Then my friend got angry and suggested me to leave back to wan village next day, ignoring them I started analyzing the plans which are being suggested to me, then I decided to stay with them and trek to Roopkund together because I m not familiar with the mountains but I decided to make it back alone(by then I will get to know the route to get back) on the same day when I make it to Roopkund, that sounds risky but I made my decision and went back to our tent And the nights are horrible, very cold and I was totally irritated and more over with body pains and I felt like leaving the trek and going back but thanks to my friend from Delhi he helped me with the pain relief spray and was awake all night as we were unable to sleep due to cold but my other friend from Chennai was snoring like hell and he kept his noise on till 0700hrs next morning and we both friends were looking at each other's face all night.
On the next day as we got up we saw the ground is filled with full of ice crystals. then forest officer came and stood next to our tent at first I got angry I mean why should we pay him we are the strugglers and we are paying him for what?
He added tent charges for three people at Patharnachni along all the other things into the receipt and made a total of around 2000, there was a confusion on whether to be guided by the guide of my Chennai friend or trek on our own, then me and my friend decided to make him as our guide from Bedni Bugyal, thinking that he might be helpful, as we booked a tent at Patharnachni we left our tent at Bedni Bugyal and we started our journey after our breakfast and it was a long and fun walk the guide is funny and he is a good companion from Nepal, he was very helpful on our way while we were trekking we felt like some tiny white balls are falling from sky I asked the guide about them and It was snow and it was a dream come true it’s my first snowfall experience,
I saw snow but I never got an opportunity to experience snowfall and when I experienced it for the first time, I was ecstatic but shivering from cold. With few halts in between we made it to Patharnachni, finally reached the camping site as we reached. We found no tents available, everything was filled up and thanks to our guide he have friends all over the mountain and we are lucky to have him as our guide, he somehow managed to find a place for three of us to settle down and the poor thing is he was ill-treated by those people in the camp. They made him work for their needs in the cold. But I didn't find it comfortable so l didn't stay in there for long and I went out enjoyed in the snow and got some photographs went and sat in a Dabha a small place at Patharnachni where the person makes food for the trekkers
And I met a guy from Dehra Dun I felt good when I saw a man who is from Dehra Dun so I had conversation with him and we have same dream that is to be a part of fox traveler so that we can travel around the world and suddenly the guide enters the Dabha and asks me to rush outside and I thought did something go wrong and he is a man of awesomeness got a tent for three people from somewhere and we pitched the tent and moved into it as the sun went down it had become completely dark and chill and the company of three was good and we had dinner and went to sleep early as we have to start trekking early at 0300hrs
We got up at 0300hrs, left our bags at Patharnachni in a Dabha and started our trek with a day pack, water bottles and few energy bars. It was quiet dark, with the help of torches we kept on trekking and we reached Kalu Vinayak and the sun was about to rise and for the first time in my life I wished for the sun to rise quickly as it was very chill out there and at sometimes I used to think of leaving the trek and going back, then anyhow I got motivated and we kept on walking for a long time and in between we had few halts and had energy bars and water for some energy and to hydrated ourselves, it's a long walk and we finally make it to Bagwabasa we took some photographs of sunrise and from Bagwabasa the trails are difficult to climb anyhow, we made it with the help of guide and when the rays of sun touched our skin we felt like as if we are in heaven
After a long trek from Bagwabasa we reached Roopkund at 0900hrs finally we made it to Roopkund.
But that's not my destination for the day. My destination is to reach wan village by night.
“Yeah, that sounds crazy but I have to do it." I told myself. Just some hundred feet above Roopkund we have Junargali pass where further trek leads us to Umkund but that takes another six days to reach Umkund. But our trek is till Junargali pass and we made it to Junargali pass and we took some pictures at the top of the mountain to add it into our travel collection and the weird thing is, just to spend 20min at the top of the mountain we trekked for 4days
As I have to rush now, I pushed my limits and now while trekking back to Patharnachni I chose not to stop in between till in reach the Patharnachni camp site so I kept on walking leaving behind my friends, in between I had an halt to take pictures of the landscape. Again I was back on the track and the strange thing is it took 6hours to trek to the top and now I made it In 2hours when I reached Patharnachni I saw an unexpected there, there is no Dabha it's completely dismantled and empty. I was panicked, the camp site is also empty there are no trekkers now. So after I enquired every person at the campsite about the dabha I found the person who I saw in the Dabha and finally I found our bags in their camp. And then I have freshen up had some food at 1200hrs I waited for my friends and they made it after 1hour I reach Patharnachni and by greeting them good luck I left to wan village and in between I felt like someone was following but I was alone so when I turned back I saw a dog following me, I was glad for that I was not alone, it was a long trek back to wan and due to my madness in photography I got delayed and I reached Bedni Bugyal at 1630hrs
I thought that I would have something to eat at Bedni Bugyal but the Dabha at Bedni Bugyal was closed. so I kept walking and when I reached the Mandir where I met the Dabha guy last time, I saw him sitting there, as I m late now I didn't want to go back and have something to eat so it kept on descending with the music on. Gharoli patal is a forest area in the mountains so the worst part of my story is here, when I reached Gharoli Patal the sun went down and the battery percentage of my mobile was also low. And I have no torch with me, as I lost it on my way back to Patharnachni, so with the help of mobile torch I descended, I thought the dog left me but it didn't, It was with me since I left Patharnachni so It used to guide me whenever I get confuse in the dark and sometimes I used to move ahead at it used to follow me. And the trek is not just a ascend route when we trek to the top or a descend route when we trek back to the village, there are ups and downs and straight path in between so we have to climb up for some distance and climb down after some distance to move onto next mountain and follow straight path for some distance, the route in the forest when we descend is first we go down then we climb up and in between we have to cross Neelganga river and I just followed my instincts then, as it was dark and was not very clear and there was a point where I felt like giving up and thought I wouldn't make it but it's a forest if I don't keep walking any wild animal can just attack on me or if I call any friend of mine they will be in panic so I decided not to disturb anyone and I took an halt for just 10minutes and I was back on the track without thinking of anything with the help of my mobile torch I walked for some distance and finally I saw a hut and I called out for some help and I asked them for a torch but I didn't get any help but I was told it’s just 1 hour walk from that place to wan village then I walked for some time and I had an halt in between for 15minutes as my legs started to pain. Then I met a lady who told me it's 1hour from there to wan village and it was 1900hrs and I have to walk fast I walked some distance and the route seem familiar now as I remember the water streams and the sound from them. I kept walking for a long and I met a guy on my way and he too told that it's 1hour to wan village but I was walking from 45minutes but still I m being told that I have to walk for 1hour and my legs are in pain and have become senseless but I pushed myself on my way I met the tailor whom I met before in wan village I felt happy to hear that I m getting closer.
So finally I made it to wan village at 2030hrs and met my hotel friend and when I told them that I was alone, they were happy that I made it because there are bears in the forest those move around in search of food. I was glad that I made it at last, but I was unable to walk so I decided to stay there for the next day and go around the village and get to know their culture and traditions.
So the next day I went around the village and saw the schools for the children and found the people happy and healthy. Whereas, in cities we complain about the things we don't have but, there the people are happy in their lives with what they have. I felt good about them. And by evening my friends made it to the village and are surprised to see me there, as I was to leave to Dehra Dun that morning. Now we planned to leave together the next day at 0500hrs, so we enquire for the transportation and found that a bus commutes from wan village to Rishikesh daily, it starts from wan village at 0500hrs
The next morning we got ready and greeted my friends in the village and left to Rishikesh, my friends got down at Rishikesh as they wanted to spend a day in Rishikesh and I made it to Dehra Dun by 2100hrs and celebrated my success with a bottle of Jacob’s Creek.
Note:I would like to advice to those who are planning to trek Roopkund to carry these things with them along with the medical kit as the immune system is not same for all, some people can get affected with acute mountain sickness (altitude sickness)
- Sleeping bag,Sleeping mattress (foam/rubber),Rucksack/back pack (more than 40 liters).,Rain cover for rucksack.,Day pack/knap sack.,Thermals.,Cotton socks (2/3 pairs),Woolen socks,Woolen gloves, Trek pant, Woolen cap,Sun cap/hat,walking stick/Trekking pole, 14. Warm jacket, 15. Wind cheater,16. Sunscreen lotion,17. Moisturizing cream.torch, Camera with extra cells,Dry food items.,Medicine kit (general medicines comprising of headache, fever, Vomiting, stomach upset, volini gel/spray,anti Diarrhoearal, Anti biotics( for treating vaity of infections),Strong analgesics - Co-proxamol/Ponstan/Temgesic,Anti inflammatory – Nurofen or Diclofenac sodim.Diamox – helps in acclimatisation (drink lots of water as this is a diuretic drug.
Keep yourself hydrated as much as possible with at least 4 litres per day, carry energy bars and dry fruits as they can help you on the way to reenergize yourself.And no need to worry about trekking accessories if you forget, you can still get them on rent at Lohajung and wan village
Contribution :Abhishek (Studying in Dehradun - He is from Hyderabad)