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Kagbhushandi Tal Story II



Kagbhushandi Tal Part II

As we got up in the morning the sky was overcast, but it was not raining. We started the kitchen and immediately prepared breakfast. The camp was struck down and all the bags were packed. Clouds were moving around fast and the ridge, in front which was the first climb of the day, was playing hide and seek. I moved off immediately after breakfast while Indra and Rana packed the remaining kitchen gear in the sacks. The trail today was much better, as it was visible and moving on it was easier. I reached the water point, which was in fact a small stream flowing across the path down into the valley. As I gained height, the importance of our last night's camping became clear. If that platform had not been made by forest people it would be very difficult to camp there, every slope was quite steep and no flat place was in sight. From this height it looked good, with Indra and Rana still sitting there. I kept moving and before I could reach the top of the first ridge, they caught up with me. Top of the ridge offered an enclosed view in front with a deep gully going down. We were to traverse the section with some ups and downs and then climb another ridge. The mountains were very steep and rocky, with clouds offering limited view and making the slopes mysteries. The rocks made different figures with one rock formations looking like a bear, but after considerable time when it did not move I was sure it was only a rock. The view was limited and as such I was not able to make out where and how high we were to climb. The grass growth was there but the route was good. Plenty of small flowers grew on the slopes and it was possible to photograph them as it was not raining. Crossing many ridges we reached the place where a cave was supposed to be located. I presume it was only a big overhang. Anyway, whatever it was, is no longer in existence. The stone from it has been used to level the two platforms being made there to pitch tents. But they have not been completed as it was not possible to pitch a tent on it due to sharp rock corners and with no place to put in the pegs. Since, we had no intention of camping there, it did not make any difference to us at present. We spent some time there and looked at the next ridge which was to be climbed. It seemed to be a long climb, but the trail was good and so it did not matter much. The angle of climb had also eased. I allowed Indra and Rana to go ahead so that I could do some photography. I joined them as they were walking with rests thrown in between. The tail went below the huge rock face seen from below and reached the ridge. From here another ridge as in sight which was at slightly higher height. Soon we were across it and in front we saw few small structures which we realised were small shrines at the ridge top. Rana told us that we had reached Farsan Vinayak. So the bags went down and we sat down to rest. The clouds cleared a bit and we could see a big road down below on the other side and also few villages. It was soon realised that the mobiles were catching signal at this point and soon we were talking with people at home. The shrines have been built on top of the ridge. The scene ahead of this place changed.

The mountain sides were steep and we were to traverse them over a good path. The trail went down a bit after Farsan Vinayak and over a boulder region. Then we entered the garden of gods where the ferns and Brahma kamal grew in abundance amidst rocks. The size and freshness of the Brahma kamal was awesome. We had to climb a small rock face and then traverse across a big flat rock slope. Luckily there was a crack across the face which offered foothold and was used as a path by the visitors. Again the place was full of Brahma kamals. Small red and yellow flowers with dark green background of the grass made it quite scenic. The boulder region started soon thereafter and now there was no sign of the trail. We moved with lots of caution as the rocks were wet and a slip here could be fatal. It was a tiring job but had to be done never the less. As we were about to clear the boulder region, it began to rain slowly. Now we had two things to fight, the rain and no trace of the trail. Rana was a bit lost here and the ground where we stood was also not easy. My mind was not ready to climb up any further, if it was not really required. The rucksack also became a pain for me and so I lowered it, which brought some relief. Slowly we moved ahead without much climbing and then after one flat ridge we reached a flat ground where two stones stood beside a flat stream. Rana told this was the camping place we were looking for and was quite near to the place I had kept my bag. Rain and restricted visibility due to clouds had made it difficult to find the place and it had seemed far away. Once there, Indra went back to get my bag, which was not far and as rain was becoming heavy, I started to pitch the tent. As the tent went up the rain increased and same time Indra returned back with the sack. So everything was moved into the tent and we changed into dry clothes. It kept raining for some time, after which it became slow. Indra took out the stove and started the kitchen under the umbrella. I made effort to make a small shelter for the kitchen from the walking poles and the poncho, but it did not serve the purpose. Luckily for us the rain took a break and we were able to cook our food. The break lasted for a while and then it took off. The rain was heavy but last nights experience had made us wise and we had kept the outer separated from the tent wall and so the rain water did not enter the tent and we had peaceful dry night.

We woke to heavy rainfall and there was no chance of any activity. Some how tea was prepared and we thought we would have to spend another day at the same camp. The sky bore thick black clouds with little chance of the sky opening up. By nine the situation improved and breakfast was prepared. and things were packed up. Slipping back into wet clothes was the biggest nightmare, but we had to save our dry clothes and so there was no way around. The drizzle continued as we broke camp. Thereafter we crossed the shallow stream flowing behind our tent and started to climb up. The progress was slow in rain and the trail was climbing right from beginning. The route was over small boulders but there was a trail and so it was alright. We climbed the first section and reached the section where boulders could be seen all over, right from the ridge above. The first ridge was reached climbing for nearly two hours. Other side of the ridge had depression which was also filled with boulders. thereafter was the final ridge called kumkum khal which we reached in another hour. The top of the ridge was sharp and it was still raining and so there was no time to take out the cameras and take photos. The wind at top was making timings very cold and so to escape it we started down the steep slope on the other side. A glacier were seen on our right as we moved down to the big open valley. Indra aimed to reach a big stone wall on the other side of the valley which was supposed to be a cave. The walk on the boulders was difficult and also we had to cross many small streams which were running fast and with lots of water due to rain. Anyway, we reached the big stone, only to find that the place was covered with over grown shrubs and there was no way we could pitch our tent there. It was good place since the next days climb was starting just next to it. We now walked towards the open centre of the valley where we hoped to find some flat ground for pitching tent. The place which seemed flat from distance used to be very sloppy and so we again moved to the next possible flat place. Finally, we got a very decent place more or less in the centre of the valley where there was no fear of running water. The tent went up immediately and the kitchen was also started. A change into the dry clothes brought much required relief from cold. The weather remained bad and we could not move out of the tent.

Kagbhushandi Trek
Kagbhushandi Trek 

It was raining as we got up and were so confined to the tent as was happening on each day in the morning. The rain was not leaving us and we were having very late start of the walk. Today were were to camp at the same place and the lake was not very far, so we took the things easy. As the time passed the rain slowed down and soon sun was shinning on our tent. Immediately all the wet clothes were spread outside for drying and by 0930 hrs the clothes had dried up. We had breakfast and soon we were moving towards the big stone where Indra had planned to camp the previous evening. The going was good but clouds had started to come back and as we started to climb the slope next to the big rock wall it was all closed up. This was leading to problems as Rana knew the way to the lake but in the prevailing weather conditions was finding it difficult to move with hundred percent surety. We climbed the first slop and slowly moved towards the front slopes without much clue. Suddenly we came across a stone path which seemed to have been laid recently and about which we had heard at the village when we were starting on the trek. In the white out conditions it was difficult to be very sure as to in which direction we should move. So we took one direction and started to move along the path. It seemed that we were moving towards the slope we had just climbed but then where was the lake, of which there was no sign. It seemed to be a hopeless situation but God was kind and the cloud cover thinned a little to reveal a portion of the lake. Now Rana was sure that we had in fact moved back and to reach the shore of the lake we needed to go back and follow the path in the opposite direction to what we had been following. With our destination so near we move with enthusiasm and with the cloud cover thinning, we had view of the big lake on our right. We moved down an reached the shores of the lake. Well the lake is a big one with the opposite side having the big slope of the KanKan khal across which lies the route from Bhyundar village. Indra and Rana stripped down to their underpants and had holy dip and offered the big Brahma kamals they had brought for this occasion. I only dared to wash my face in the very cold water. The clouds cleared a bit more and revealed the path coming from the other side and it was reaching the shore of the lake where a small temple stood. We needed to climb up the slope and then get down on the other side to reach the spot, which we did. The other end of the lake was revealed for few seconds and the heap of winter snow could still be seen. We prayed at the temple and took pictures of the scenic place. Though nothing was visible, I could well imagine the beauty of the place in clear weather. with snow covered peaks adding to the charm. I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the lake and Indra wanted to return back before the weather which had been pretty good to us today deciding to close in. As the clouds again covered the lake, I slowly walked behind Indra and Rana. Now we moved on the stone path till the end and then we moved towards the final slope to the valley. it was easy going and taking photos of the various flowers we reached the fern covered slope and finally the valley floor without much problem. The clouds were coming and going but luckily there was no rain and so we had good time back at the camp. The food was cooked in peace without fighting with rain. Everything had been dried in the morning and so we were very comfortable in the tent. The aim of the trek had been achieved and so were very content. Now, only the return journey was to start and we knew the route.

The dawn came with the usual rain and low clouds. It was quite cold outside due to wind. We were confined to the tent for quite some time and finally by 1030 we decided it was enough and packed up our bags and started the climb to the pass. Indra decided to take a longish route to the pass, which was at considerable height from our camp. We first moved towards the ridge which seen towards the end of the valley and once we were on the ridge, the traverse towards the pass started. We were completely wet. The climb was demanding and so we moved cautiously, least we slipped on wet rocks and got injured. The rain was adding to our misery and as we climbed up the wind added more force to this. Finally at the top I stood shivering and spent only few minutes for taking photos. The valleys on both sides were now under the cloud cover and so no photos. We moved down and Indra and Rana took time to pluck Brahma kamals for village temples. I kept walking as we still had long way to cover. There was no respite from rain and so no time to take pictures. We came to the ground where we had camped two days back, but this time there was not the same kind of joy which I had felt when I had seen it on our way up. We were not camping at this place. The trod continued, with Indra moving fast and I trying to catch him. One small mistake and the stone on which I had set my foot tilted and with it my leg went into the gapping hole. Luckily I got on bruises on the leg and no broken bones. Looking at the two in front I was relieved to note that they had not seen me slipping and so with some pride left I slowed down and moved cautiously. The big rock across which was the path was narrow split came and was crossed without any problem. The sight of small shrines at Farsan Biyanak were a big relief. It was nearly 1800 hrs as we stood there. Still some time to reach our place for halting for the day, but now it was all the way down hill over a fairly good trail. My shoes which were supposed to be very good were giving way at each and every wet stone and they seemed to be very dangerous. Slowly I moved in the continuing rainfall to reach the two platforms where we planned to spend the night. As I looked around the platforms I was certain that we could not pitch our tent on them as there was hardly any place to hold the nails. Only other option was to pitch it next to them under the slanting rock where the water came directly on the tent cover. We went for that and some how pitched the tent. The kitchen was a good place and we got some dry wood and could start a small fire. Food was cooked and eaten in relative dry and peaceful shade of the rock. The bodies were nearly broken as we had been walking in rain the whole day and soon all were asleep.

The day dawned clear with sun shining. Far in front the mighty Dunagiri was glistering in the morning sun. We brought down our tent after sometime but did not leave the place. Breakfast was prepared at ease and we waited for sun to hit our camp. Some time was spent in pure leisure sunbathing which brought good feeling to the mind and body. Soon the clouds started to gather and so we shouldered our sacks and moved on the path. The first days camping place came into sight and two hours since we had left the camp we were standing there. Spent some time there and had a final sip of tang as the bottle had broken and I could not carry it any longer. Both the Hillman got strength from smoking. The Panka village could be seen far down as was the sight of Joshimath far in distance. It all seemed close by but Indra reminded me that I was going to take lot of time and so we moved on to the trail. My shoes started to show there color now with the path covered under thick vegetation. I was not able to avoid the stones, on which my shoes slipped merrily. I tried to walk holding the pack Indra was carrying but after sometime gave it up. After some more slow walking I realised that there was no time for slow walking and so the shoes went into the bag and sandals came out. They provided much relief from slipping though now I had to be careful of the leeches and the thorns which could injure my feet much more easily. The walk was now comfortable and by 1530 we reached the open ground above the village. We had finished almost all of our food and only a packet of biscuit and some tea remained. Tea was made and the biscuit packet opened up. Rana left immediately thereafter with the idea of getting something cooked for us at his home and getting ready to see us off at the road head. We summed up the kitchen and reached the village after an hour. Rana was ready after bath and change into fresh clothes and soon we were served hot rice and dal with pickle. Rana was very happy as he was able to complete the journey to the lake, despite many people of the village having told him that it was not possible to reach the lake during this time of the year and specially at his age. He had proved himself. I was happy that I had completed the visit to the lake, about which I had heard about so much since my earlier days of trekking. Indra was also happy that he had visited the lake again and would help him get more clients. Another climb down of 500 meters brought us to the road head, where the Sumo called in by Indra was waiting for us. Later I realised we had come down a total of 2200 meters on the last day. Another hour later we were at Joshimath and thus came to end another walk in the mighty Himalaya.

Kagbhushandi Tal Trek Story Part I

Kagbhushandi Tal Trek Photos Part I

Kagbhushandi Tal Trek Photos Part II

Kagbhushandi Tal Trek Flowers

Kagbhushandi Tal Trek Plan

 

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Published on: 2012-02-10 (1105 reads)

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