Roopkund Trek blog – My First Himalayan Camping and Trekking
A trek to the Himalayas was not an expedition I imagined doing in my wildest dreams. But a little bout of inspiration led my footsteps to Roopkund, known as the ‘supreme’ Himalayan trail for the trekking enthusiasts.
From snow clad mountains to untamed meadows and exhilarating camp sites to intriguing folklores, Roopkund is an epitome of beauty, history and mystery. Perched at at an altitude of 16,000 ft, Roopkund meaning a ‘beautiful lake’ remains frozen almost throughout the year. Did you know that a walk around this lake will also give you a nerve wrecking glance of hundreds of human skeletons lying around?
My journey began with the group tour organized by Renok Adventures Team. We took a train from New Delhi to Kathgodam, the closest railway link to Roopkund. From Kathgodam, we drove to the Roopkund base camp in Lohajung. The best way to reach Kathgodam from Delhi is by train.
Start of Roopkund Trekking – Lohajung
The 7 days trek started at Lohajung, which is at an elevation of 3200 meters. Passing through a lovely cluster of houses, cool waters of gushing Bedni Ganga and lush green trees, we reached out first camp site Didna village. An overnight tent stay under the stars coupled with piping hot chai and mouthwatering dinner comprising phulkas, sabji and khichdi (courtesy: the local villagers) – our camping experience couldn’t have got more authentic and rustic than this!
Next morning, after drinking in the beauty of an early sunrise amidst the dewfresh mountains, we embarked on a steep trek to Ali Bugyal via the never ending rows of lofty oak and bamboo trees. Nothing could have prepared us for the panoramic view of enticing green meadows nestled in the lap of magnificent Garhwal Himalayas. A herd of majestic equines indulging in a grazing tete-a-tete with each other was an added visual bonus. Imagine spending a night in the tents on this stunning site!
The new dawn brought along a comparatively easier trek to Ghora Latoni, or the last stop of horses, as it is referred to. At this intersection, the meadows and mountains merge, and a fresh water stream trickles down one of the slopes, making it an amazingly trekker- friendly camp site. We spent an entire afternoon and evening here, exploring the nooks and corners of Ghora Latoni, before binging on Maggi (a rare treat during camping!) and retiring to our tents.
It was about time to greet the snow patches of Bhagwasa and Kalu Vinayak the next day, albeit with a challenge to reach an altitude of 14,500 ft from 12,500 ft! As we ascended the highest altitude trekking part and zig zag trails of Roopkund, the crisp air started thinning out, making us feel the lower levels of oxygen. But that didn’t deter our spirits! We continued our journey, taking pit stops every hour to hydrate our body. It was difficult to bear the icy northern winds during our night stay here, but we braved it in anticipation to reach our ultimate summit, the Roopkund lake the next day.
Roopkund is about 5 km up-hill ascent from Bhagwasa, but we were instructed to start in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rays start melting away the icy patches, making it tougher to trek. And then, after a three hour trek, we witnessed, what could be only described as the nature’s hidden jewel. There, it was, the pristine and unruffled lake, surrounded by the snowy flanks of the mountains. The skeletons scattered around the lake caught us off guard for a moment, though. We lurked around there for some time, thrilled and overjoyed.
We then dared to trek further to Junar Gali, the highest point of Roopkund Lake. After soaking in the unspoiled grace of nature, we started our return trek, against the backdrop of the mighty peaks of Trishul, Nandaghungti and Choukhamba.
It has been a few months, since I am back to the hustle and bustle of the urban life. But, my first Himalayan camping experience at Roopkund is a memory etched forever in my heart!