I have never done any real trek in my life and was very enthusiastic do one. I explored for easy treks and came across “Kedarkantha trek” in winters, it is organized by many groups. I selected one group for which people had given good feedback. They mentioned it “Easy” on the website. I liked the details and booked online. I prepared for the trek for approx 45 days by walking 4 Km every day till the trek date. (In general, I am very lazy when it comes to exercise 🙁 )
The package for Kedarkantha trek starts from Dehradun. All the people enrolled for trek assembled at Dehradun station and from here we have to take a mini bus or tamp to Sankari.
I reached Dehradun a day before and spent the night in a hotel. I reached station 30 minutes before assembly time. Most of the people came by overnight train and reached in morning. Finally when everyone arrived group leader introduced everyone. It was a big group of 32 people. Everyone in the group came with friends or family member and I was the only one who was alone :-p
The mini bus and car got delayed so trek leader advised us to have breakfast to save time. We went to a close by Dhaba (Local eatery) and had aloo (Potato) with curd & yogurt.
Finally, we boarded the bus and started our 8-hour long journey. On the way, we stopped at a local food place for lunch. The scenery was beautiful all along the journey but the road was quite bad for long stretches in between.
By late evening we reached our guest house in Sankari, it was very cold because we were near the Himalayas and it was the end of December. While we were having dinner, the electricity went and didn’t come whole night. There was no back for electricity. Every room had 4 people. We got quilts, which were heavy and uncomfortable but managable.
I got up early next morning, there was no hot water. I managed to pour few mugs of cold water and considered it as my bath.After breakfast, we assembled outside and given instructions to follow while trekking + introduced to the people who will help us during our next 4 days.
After breakfast, we assembled outside and got instructions for Kedarkantha trek. We were introduced to the people who will help us during our next 4 days. We started at 9.00 AM.
Initially, it was easy as ascend was not much but as we moved further it became steeper and rough. I was having a problem walking. I was huffing puffing all along, I walked very slowly in comparison to others. Fortunately, the owner of the trekking company was also accompanying us till our first camping site. They had back to back 4 more groups lined up in next 10 days, so he wanted to check the arrangements. He saw my slow speed and asked if I can manage or I would like to return. I refused to return, so a young guy (Who was a local from the village and working with them during school holidays to earn some money) was told to accompany me and see if I can manage.
I decided not to give up and kept walking. Where ever the climb was steep, I was huffing puffing and stopping to catch the breath. As we ascended, I could see snow scattered all along but it was loose & not everywhere so we (Me and my savior boy) managed. We were only half a km from first base camp and there came a point where snow was hard and slippery for a stretch on 3 – 4 feet. We checked but I realized that we could not manage to cross it as we were not carrying any gear to handle it. So the guy advised taking another route, which was a bit longer and steep but safe to walk.
Finally, we managed and reached camp site 1.5 hours after everyone else. I was sweating like hell in that weather from the effort. I had my lunch and relaxed. They asked me if I want to continue, I said yes. We played the game, some people danced on music & some sang songs and few people walked on the semi-frozen pond next to the camp site.
We had our freshly cooked vegetarian dinner and retired in our tent. I shared the tent with 2 young girls. They were very sweet and helpful.
Next morning like everyone else we got up early and spent some time roaming around. We came to know that 2 guys are returning as they are not feeling comfortable, I was again asked if I want to return because it will be more difficult further. Again I said NO :-p
After breakfast, they asked me to start 30 minutes before everyone else. I followed the instructions and again that school boy was leading me through show route. Initially, it was difficult but gradually I started better than yesterday. It was not as difficult as it was yesterday (Maybe physiologically I was feeling stronger). As we ascended, snow cover became thicker. It was soft and fluffy.
Finally, other people also joined me but somehow I managed a pace and walked with everyone, some time at the tail of group and sometime in the middle of the group when others stopped to play in the snow. At one point we again came across a 5 feet patch of ice but as I was with a group so trek leader, who was carrying snow spikes managed and we crossed. we neared the base camp, the snow got thicker and thicker at some places 1 to 1.5 feet it was not easy to walk but at the same time, it was fun.
AS we neared the base camp, the snow got thicker at some places it was 1 to 1.5 feet. It was not easy to walk but at the same time, it was fun.
Our tents were pitched on snow as there was no place without snow 🙂 We enjoyed a campfire with snacks & tea. Watched the beautiful sunset in snow capped mountains.
After early dinner and we retired for the day but we were not able to sleep even though we were wearing two pairs of socks and our sleeping bags were warm. Our feet were not getting warm in those conditions. After a fitful sleep, we woke up at 4.30 in morning. My water bottle was frozen, which I filled with hot water previous night.
After freshening up and having light breakfast, it was time to climb to the top. There was snow and everyone was given snow guards to wear. It was difficult to climb but the view from the top was nice.
Finally we started the retun and it was descende I was not huffin so I was not huffing & puffing. I was walking comfortably at slow speed to manage my footing. We crossed all the snow again and reached our next campsite, which was in green meadow surrounded by tall trees. Everyone was feeling relaxed because we accomplished our target. We had gossip sessions
We had gossip sessions till late night around campfire and I realized we have made some new friends.
Next morning after breakfast we started our last descend, the trek leader asked if we like to take shorter route or longer route. Everyone asked for shorter route, it was steep descend and at some places soil was loose but it was fast. Now I was walking with some or other member of the group and finally we reached our guest house.
There was no hot water so I took bath with ice cold water (I could not gather courage to wash my hair 😀 )
We had half a day free, so everyone explored the near by village. Some of the non vegetarian people, who were craving for it from last four days managed to get chicken in a shop. We spent evening relaxing.
Next morning we boarded our SUV and started the return journey. We reached Dehradun by evening and had our dinner near station before boarding overnight train.
It was an adventurous trip, I loved every bit of it and realized that I can manage on will power when my physical strength is going down.
Kedarkantha trek gains 2000 feet altitude and this trek demands continuous ascend, which makes it some what difficult for some of us.
P.S. Recently I was checking the website of the trekking company and seen that they had marked it “Easy – Moderate”, while when I done it they marked “Easy”.
Best time for Kedarkantha trek –
1.) If want to do winter/snow trek then mid December to early March.
2.) In summer months of March to May, it nice and green after snow melts.
Duration / Average temperature –
Summer: Day time: 13-18°C Night time: 0-6°C
Winter: Day time: 8-15°C Night time: can drop to -7°C
How to travel –
Delhi to Dehradun
From Dehradun to Sankari by bus or shared jeeps if you are doing the trek on your own.
Things to remember –
If you are doing it with a professional group or company then they will organise everything.
If you are doing on your own then you can get guides in Sankari village. Guest houses in Sankari are best to get a guide. Otherwise Facebook groups or from internet, look for refernce from people who already done it.
Or keep a day an extra day and find guide from near by village.
Things to carry for Kedarkantha trek –
- In winter, five layers. Carry two sweaters, two fleece jackets, and a padded jacket.
- In summer, three warm layers will suffice.
- Cotton trek pants. Wear two T-shirts together if feel cold.
- Full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Wear two T-shirts together if feel cold.
- Carry thermals (top and bottom) to keep warm at night.
- Sunglasses are mandatory due to snow.
- Carry a sun cap as the sun is extra harsh due to high altitude.
- Carry synthetic gloves.Avoid woolen gloves because these gets wet if you touch snow.
- Balaclava for the head.
- Socks 2-3 pairs with a pair of woolen socks
- Headlamp/LED torch.
- Trekking pole.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste.
- Light towel.
- Water bottle and thermal flask especially for winter trek.
- Plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry wet clothes.
- Water purifying tablets or drops.
- First aid kit.