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Those who love travelling must have experienced YHA. In India YHAI has an extensive set of programs from camping to trekking catering various age groups. Sar Pass was most difficult trek organised by YHAI at that time.
The camp ground is right beside Parvati river and all water is sourced from river except drinking water. There is no permanent structure except toilets.We spent our first 3 days in Kasol base camp and followed strict routine of jogging /exercise in the morning acclimatization walk during the day and some adventure activity like rock climbing and rappelling.
Day 4 Trek to Galgi Thatch (7400 ft): We took a bus to Uchdhar and went down at Ghatigadh (13km /7400ft) . We reached to the bottom of the valley crossed a small stream and walked all the way up. We reached at the tea point near Sheela village around 12.
After few hours we started towards our camp site. The trail was almost flat, on the way we encountered some small waterfall, an abandoned hydel project. We reached to Galgithatch (8500ft) early afternoon .
Day 5 Trek to Khora Thatch (9800 ft) : Early morning I walked a little bit around crossed the bridge and walked down to the river. There was calm and peace all around me , occasionally broken only by chirping sounds of birds in the nearby forest.
Slowly I saw camps were coming back to life with people waking up and getting ready . We got breakfast at 7.30, deposited blankets by 8 AM after finishing our breakfast. We got packed launch at 8.30 and off again .Today’s trek was completely uphill inside dense forest. This trail was well marked but it was possible to get lost in the forest and hence we were advised to stick with the group. The route was uphill all the way to launch point with slope upto 60 degree at times. The turns were full of rock solid stones full of undergrowth. The surrounding pine forest was so dense that hardly sun rays penetrate the trees and reaches ground. People were panting and had to take frequent stops . Me, Nikita and Tarun were the first ones to reach the launch point. We were relishing on hot magi and omelette when we saw others were arriving slowly.
Day 6: Trek to Zirmi (11000 ft) –It was short and easy. Did not feel like 6 Km trek. We started around 9.30 in a very leisurely manner and stopped at many places. This was like a rest day compared to previous day. We spent lots of time taking pictures and loitering around. We had a very long lunch break and some people from our group managed to take a good 2 hour nap. Few local women also rested our lunch site and latter joined with us for some local folk song and dance.
After few short steep stretches we reached to our camp. This was pretty early afternoon and we were served tea and some snacks which was followed by soup and dinner.
Day 7: Trek to Tila Lotni (12500 ft) – Immediately after Zirmi it was a steep ascent for about an hour which took us to a beautiful meadow. View was spectacular from this point and we could see snow capped mountain all around us. There was a small waterfall nearby. We tackled another ascent before reaching to the lunch spot. As usual most of us treated our self hot magi soup and omelette.
After lunch there was another ascent and then we crossed a stretch of snow . We took a turn and it seemed suddenly the horizon opened in front of us, the view was awesome with snow capped mountains all around us and it seemed so close that i can almost touch them.
Tila Lotani camp site is operated by Sherpa’s who will also be our guide till Sar-Pass. They came from Darjeeling for the whole trekking season and were stationed there. The campsite was pretty rustic and also number of camps are less so we had to accommodate more people per camp. The camp itself is protected by big boulders which deflects the cold wind to some extent. We were very tired but felt much better with some hot soup. Dinner was served very early by 7 and then we retired our camp. Next day will be a big day and we will be up very early. We were excited and nervous with the prospect of crossing Sar-Pass next day.
Day 8: Trek to Biskeri Thatch (11000 ft) via Sar Pass (13800 ft) –
From here, we took a flatter path on snow across a long stretch which had snow.This stretch was tricky as we had to make steps on the slope with our shoes, sidestepping and stomping. Several of us slipped and fell, some of us several times. Good water resistant trekking shoes having large lugs on soles came in handy here, while those wearing sneakers got wet feet and slipped a lot.Eventually we reached to the lunch point just before the the final climb to the across a ridge to a saddle point. From here we would slide down and another guide would pick us up from here and guide us to Biskeri Thatch.
Here again someone set up a small tent and selling magi and omelette and as expected, food was most expensive here.We rested about an hour at lunch point and then again ready to go . Climb to the saddle point was very stiff , but we managed it within 1 hour and then one by one we slide down a good 500 meter. Immediately after the slide there was again a small shop selling tea and omelette . We rested here for sometime to wait for the entire group . The way to Biskeri Thatch is all the way downhill , I was told few years back ground used to be covered with snow all the way till the camp site, so no need to walk , few more slide and you are at the camp.
The mood in the camp was very upbeat , we all had a sense of achievement and the entire group managed to finish the trek without any major mishap.
Day 9 : Trek to Bhandak Thatch (8000 ft) – We woke up with the chirping sounds of birds which were hard to see in the surrounding forest.
The trek was coming to an end and we were looking forward to checking out Bhandak Thatch and a cricket match there. We had been told that a bat and ball is available there.
We continued our trek down towards Bhandak Thatch. The path passed through a stream which had a very steep approach cut through stones. After a few trekkers had gone down the stony almost vertical path on their own, the guides strung a rope with knots spaced around a meter or so on it. Rest of the trekkers rappelled down to the stream bed and we crossed a log bridge to our lunch point.
The last leg to the camp was a steep uphill path which caused some fatigue. However, we were happy to reach the camp which was based in a large meadow. Soon we had a cricket match going ,however the bat was in a real bad shape as someone used it as firewood. We had a campfire latter and exchanged phone numbers and mail ids.
Day 10: Trek to Barshani Road and bus to Manikaran – Today is the last day of our trek. We did not have any guide today , we started around 8 . The path wend down and down and it was quite steep at times.
On the way we saw lots of flora and faunas, wild strawberry and different orchids.
Finally after around 2 hours we reached the road head. Its back to civilization again. We took a Tata Sumo to Manikaran. Manikaran is famous for hot water spring , it was so good to take a bath after so many days. Then we had food in Manikaran sahib gurudwara langar. Food was very tasty but simple and cooking is done in special oven which uses hot spring water to cook food.