Thursday, January 17, 2019

First Trek Of My Life: Gosaikunda

Trek To Gosaikunda: Aug 2 2017  - Aug 4 2017 (3 Day trek Kathmandu -Gosaikunda -Kathmandu)

The plan to visit Gosaikunda was very abrupt. We were leaving on Wednesday and I was informed on Friday I think. Since my mom had visited the Gosaikunda twice already and it is a very famous pilgrimage my mom gave me permisison immediately. It was the month of Shravan, the month when there is a fair or a mela. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims come to worship the holyness of Lord Shiva and the lake itself during this month. Its also the month of rain so we were expecting rains during our trek. I had been to hikes before and I had my mom who helped me pack the essentials. From my hiking experience, I had packed the minimal.

Day 1: Kathmandu -Dhimsa:

On day 1, we had our tickets booked for Pasang Lhamu Bus. One can get the tickets from their counter at Balaju Bypass Junction. One can also reserve a sumo or scorpio which will cost around Nrs 12000/- . The counter had asked us  to come on time i.e 6 am in the morning. They told us that the bus leaves strictly on time. We reached Balaju Bypass at 6:45. We were so late and bus was very ready to leave us behind but Venus, our friend had been asking for 5 more minutes every 5 minutes.
We took the route from Galchi -bidur-dhunche. We got stucked in a traffic after crossing naubise. That is where we ate our breakfast and Ashim completed his half done shaving. After crossing Galchiwe were again stuck in jam for about 2 hours. The road there was not black pitched and due to rain the road had got very muddy and small vehicles were getting stuck in the mud mire.

 The road was also blocked for an hour due to the ongoing road construction that was happening. 
We ate lunch at trishuli. It cost us Nrs 200 for Veg daal bhat.
The road to dhunche was pretty scary as are all the roads in the remote Nepal. We reached dhunche at 2pm. After strolling around to buy plastic as a make-do raincoat for some, slippers for ashim and bamboo sticks for walking we officially started our trek. First it was downhill for 20 minutes then it was an uphill trail until Gosaikunda. 
We kept going and climbing, resting for quick breath and snacking on almonds, raisins and juice. It also started raining mildly and gearing up with our raincoats we went on and on until we reached Deurali. There we  (Ashmi, Venus, Sony and Me) waited for the rest of our friends to catch us.In total it was 7 of us. 
 Since it was mela time, there were many temporary plastic huts with number. There was about 100-140 such huts until the lake itself. We made the hut numbers as our milestone. Stopping for quick break it every 2nd hut, 3rd hut and so on. After taking a break for 5-10 minutes we started to continue but as we took about 10 steps, it started raining heavily. So we decided to stop at hut no 9 for tea and biscuits. 
We also asked the hut owners to book us rooms at Dhimsa Homestay. When the rain stopped slightly we started making our way to the hotel. The uphill was getting tough for some of our friends. This was the time when i was really fit as I was doing swimming, dance class and workouts in a single day so I was doing fine for myself. At 7pm we reached our hotel and were delighted to get two rooms. Since this was the month of rain, we had been also careful not to be sucked by leech so seeing a leech on my leg made an outburst of screams from all the girls in the room. 
We changed our wet clothes, left  it to dry above the fireplace and sat around the fireplace to warm ourselves. We planned on leaving at 6am the next morning. 

Day 2: Dhimsa-Gosaikunda-Chandanbari

We woke up at 5 in the morning, had tea and ate the biscuits we had brought with us. By 6 we were all set and ready to leave but it was raining very heavily. We waited for a while but since the rain was not showing any signs to stop we decided otherwise. 
We reached Sing Gompa by 7. It took us only an hour. It was a place with more settlements. There were may be 10-12 hotels there whereas in Dhimsa there were 2 hotels only. Our next stop was Cholangpati. We had to go through the jungle and the trail was very very muddy and due to lots of pilgrims coming and going the muddy trail had  become very hard to walk on. The locals told us it was going to take us 4 hours to reach Cholangpati from SingGompa but we reached Cholangpati in 2 hours. We rested in a stable for 15 minutes, snacked up and dried ourselves as much as we could. The heat from our body, the sweat, the raincoat trapping the sweat and body heat and the rain was a very good combination for a dramatic scene of steam coming off of us as we rested. 
Our next stop was Laurebinayak. On inquiring, the locals told us that the trail was even more difficult and steep and we rather take a horse from here on. But we were here to trek and not horse ride, so we started our uphill trek. The route so far was not uphill compared to what we were walking now. At times, it felt like my chest was going to burst but that feeling was making me so alive at the same time. Somewhere near Laurebinayak, we got the network and we called our homes to inform them we were safe and sound. At 10:30 or 11am we reached Laurebinayak. In between, we rested in the huts for snacking on noodles, biscuits and tea. We started taking small bits of powder of timur, and other herbs as well as garlic and ginger that was sent to me by my mom. It is said to help against catching altitude sickness. We stopped at a hotel in Laurebinayak to wait for our slow walkers. As they arrived, we carried to our next stop Buddha mandir.  My mom on the call before had told me to not look up as in ascend my way from Laurebinayak. Not sure why she said that I was curious. We were told the trail was too steep and the hardest part of the whole trail. We hadn't had proper lunch and our energy was also going low. We had been walking almost continuously since the morning. Looking up we would see 3-4  hills to climb, as we reached atop of it, we would see another 3 hills we had to climb and then other 3-4 hills and so on. The weather was not favorable either due to rain. So on and on this went on, and I knew why my mom asked me to not look up  because those hills gave the deception of infinity. And yes, the steepness was too much too.  We started getting desperate so we asked many descender how far buddha mandir was or how far the lake was. Some would tell us it will take 4 hours or more some would tell us we will reach there in a hour.  By the end of it, we were so tired and less in energy that we snacked up on Ashim's workout protein bar. I spitted it out after 3 bytes as swallowing anything had become very hard. We finally reached Buddha mandir at 12-12:30pm. Oh that feeling of conquer was amazing. We were so happy to have done it. We decided to have tea and biscuits in one of the hots and gave our tiny tiger biscuits to the shopkeeper. The trail from here on was not very steep.  The buddha statue had been completely destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and so were the little stone huts which were being reconstructed.
We estimated we will reach the lake in half an hour since the trail was not so steep but due to the altitude, walking became difficult. It might also have been because of the weather and tiredness.

Before reaching the lake, we came across Sarswoti Lake and Bhairab Lake. At 2pm we reached Gosaikunda.  We quickly changed to take a dip in the lake. Then we went to trishul dhara, about 20meter above the lake. From there, me and ashim decided to take a round of the whole lake whereas, the rest decided to go back and book a room in advance. It took us exactly an hour to make a round of the lake.

 At some places the route was difficult as we had to climb and jump from the rocks. BY then we were very hungry as we had not had any lunch so we ordered daal bhaat. Ate a full plate, slept 15 minutes and left when the clock hit 4pm. We then started speeding up. We were going really fast compared to other walkers. In the descent from Buddha Mandir-Laurebinayak -Cholanpati, we crossed it in mere 30 minutes. That is where we met our friends who had a head start of an hour. We again continued running down as we wanted to cross the route of forest to Chandbari before dark. We made it to Chandabari at 7pm, booked rooms at Hotel yak and Nak with attached bathroom which felt like a deluxe suite room (It cost us Nrs 1000/1200: I don't quite remember).  We took bath in the hot water , let our clothes to dry at sat by the fireplace again. We massaged our legs,neck and hands with massage oil.

Day 3: Chandanbari - Dhunce - Kathmandu

The next morning we woke up to a much clearer view. We were surrounded by very green hills, the settlement itself was beautiful and we paid a visit to the DDC Cheese Production Center.

After having our breakfast, we started heading down. We were in a hurry as we wanted to catch the 12pm bus from dhunche. The bus counter on Day 1 had told us to call them before hand to book the tickets. So I started walking in my best pace. Ashim was having hip ache and was also doing his photography thing. Venus and Sony were behind me. Ashim, Samjhana and her friend lost their way at dhimsa heading taking the trail to Thulo Bharkhu. Attacked by leeches, they had lost all hopes in where they were heading, until they met a local villager who then directed them to the village.
On the other hand, me, Venus, Sony and Renu were waiting for the 3 at Dhunce. We ordered chowmein as we were very hungry. Ashim called us told us they lost their way and  will catch a bus from there and book the tickets as well. And when the bus came, we rushed to it, pushing and pulling fellow passengers and finally got to our seats. But there was so much issue with tickets, the counter were selling tickets from their counter, whereas the bus conductor were also selling tickets to same seat and the locals were denying to leave seat so we ended up getting off the bus.
Then we came to know we might be lucky to get tickets the Kerung Bus service. So we booked our seats and bought the tickets from the counter. When the bus arrived, the seats were packed and the locals were denying to leave our seats. At the end we ended up scooching in the last row. We were sitting 6 people on the seat of 5 and I sat above our bags the whole ride. There was also tight checking at Kalikasthan temple since the area falls under Langtang National Park.

My first trek was an adventure, a lessson and most of all an experience of a lifetime.

I support Local Empowerment. So, I’m sharing this Everest Base Camp Trek to promote a new way of trekking where trekkers can empower the local service providers like lodges, guides and porters by booking services directly through them. #empoweringthehimalayas #freetriptoeverest

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