(Last Updated On: June 20, 2018)

Hailing from the hubbub-filled Mumbai, Siddhant identifies himself as an adventurer; and we cannot think of a better title for someone who decided to go on a solo trek amidst news of storms and disturbed weather in North India. His love for nature drew him to the Roopkund Trek Trail, and after an endless research about the trek, the wait was worth it!

 

“The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready”  Henry David Thoreau

These words justify the spirit of our solo traveller Siddhant Vakil, who set off on the trek to Roopkund in the northern state of Uttarakhand in the month of May.

 

Bringing Out the Adventure from Within

 

For Siddhant, it was not a dream easy to realise as the untoward weather in the northern parts of India was likely to play a spoilsport. However, a solo trek to Roopkund was on the cards for long and it was about time he got it right. After garnering concrete information from timely inquiries with Thrilliophilia, he finally decided to have a go at it! After all, he had really longed to experience the adventure.

During his train journey from Delhi to Kathgodam, Siddhant met a fellow traveller, Mr. Ujjwal, who had booked the same summit. Together, they chalked out the plan to explore the trek and discussed how they were going to spend their time on the expedition.

 

Inching towards the Dream

 

After a train journey full of tell-all experiences, they reached Kathgodam at 6:30 am. Soon after, they embarked on a 260 km journey to reach Lohargunj, which is the base for Roopkund trek. Before reaching Lohargunj at 2 pm, they relished a delicious breakfast comprising noodles and beverages.

Siddhant had a few hours to explore the place as the fellow trekkers were scheduled to arrive in the evening for the briefing. By 8 in the evening, the trekkers assembled for a briefing and got a chance to know each other for the adventure that awaited them all in the days to come.

 

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On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

 

The next morning was as refreshing as it could have got. Excitedly, Siddhant packed his rucksack for the day’s trek, which was speculated to be a moderate 6 km. After a heavy breakfast, the trekkers set off to Didna, where they were welcomed with a cold and sunny weather. The night spent in a dormitory in Didna was a pleasing experience as they witnessed the sight of the clear sky full of stars.

 

The next day was challenging as the trekkers had to climb a steep path. They were also given a Buras flower that would increase their stamina and prevent any untoward health situation. Siddhant and the fellow trekkers backed each other on their way to Tol Pani, where they reached at 12 pm.

To negate Acute Mountain Sickness, he kept drinking water at regular intervals at the high altitude on the way to Ali Bugyal. The view from Ali Bugyal was splendid as they could see the snow-clad Nanda Devi peak, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti mountains. The distance between Ali Bugyal and Bedni Bugyal was 5 km, and this was a long distance considering how tired they were by now.

Upon reaching base of Bedni Bugyal at 4 pm, they visited a dried up pond which housed temples. After exploring the place, the trekkers were asked to get acclimatized to the climate. After a midnight dinner, the trekkers took refuge in their tents and slumbered to revive themselves.

The next day, they had a relaxed expedition as it was a 6 km trek, which was mostly on plain terrains. The trek, from Bedni Bugyal to Patarnauchni, was a windy yet pleasant one. The tents at Patarnauchni were pitched firmly, which allowed them to stay steady despite the strong winds in the night.

The next morning, Siddhant and the fellow trekkers had to climb to Baghubasa, which is considered as the closest major point to Roopkund. The trek to Baghubasa was a moderate one as it was a blend of plains and steep climbs.

 

They reached the Kalu Vinayal Temple in the noon, and the view from there was a sight to behold! In four directions, Siddhant witnessed a spectacle: snow-clad mountains in the north, lush green meadows in the south, deep valleys in the east and Himalayas in the west! His excitement only grew as he came closer to nature. By 3 pm, they reached Baghubasa and prepared for summit day, which was supposed to begin at 3 am the next morning.

 

 

The Last Leap, The Big Leap

 

The night was cold as the trekkers prepared to leave for Roopkund under the twinkling stars. Due to the extreme cold (-1 to -5 degree Celsius), the trekkers moved steadily and breathed heavy to avoid fainting. By 4.15 am, the gist of the sunrise could be sensed. By 6.30 am, the trekkers reached the summit and felt triumphant. Watching the golden sunlight fall on the snowy mountains was a majestic view, but that was not all! A few metres away, the first sight of the frozen Roopkund Lake congratulated the trekkers for making it to the top.

 

 

Everyone clicked pictures and exchanged niceties near the lake. By now, they were a team and it was all going to get etched in their minds for a lifetime. After collecting lifelong moments at the lake, the trekkers descended to reach the base. By 5 pm, they reached Bedni Bugyal and called it a day after the dinner. The day—which drained the energies of the trekkers—stole the limelight for the immemorial moments spent at the summit.

On the last day of the trail, Siddhant had to descend a total distance of 20 km to reach Loharjung. After gulping a delicious egg bhurji and coffee for breakfast, Siddhant, along with other trekkers, set off for Wan village where cars awaited to carry them to Lohargunj. They also decided to explore the banks of the Neelganga River to feel rejuvenated. It was a pretty easy day as the trekkers got time to relax on their way downhill after the tiring hike.

 

 

The next morning, Siddhant left for Kathgodam in a car along with fellow trekkers. The journey from Lohargunj to Kathgodam had it all—food, tales, experiences, laughter, moments of joy, etc.

Above everything, it is the experiences that Siddhant carries the closest to his heart. As he made his way back to Mumbai, his mind wandered in those hills, and the heart was filled with nostalgia as he savoured every moment of the journey.