About 9km into the trail consisting of steady ups and downs, one encounters a large cluster of pine trees, this area is called Chirbasa and is often the first stop for trekkers enroute Gaumukh. The first tea stalls/eating points in the journey are located at Chirbasa and one can relax and take in the views while sipping hot tea at Chirbasa. An average trekker will take around 5-6 hours to reach this point from Gangotri.
By noon I reached Chirbasa (home of the Pines), This name is due to abundance or Chir(pine) tree and is on an altitude of 3580 metre. Had a lunch break here of the packed aalo-parantha and mango pickle, which I took from Gangotri due limited options here. After this the tree line was minimal and as we ascend further, the pinching pain in the head started, first sign of altitude sickness which came to remain for rest of the trek. Now I can see a little of Bhagirathi 2 nd at the far end and Mt. Shivling peak glancing behind Bhrigu's shoulder. Crossed few small rivers like devgaad and many streams by hopping on the stones or through temporary bridges, since nothing remains permanent in such valleys.
Another 6 km followed by steep and gradual ascents and descents we finally reached Chirbasa (pine forest) which is 9km from Gangotri…took a break for 30 mins.…had handful of dry fruits and washed them down with glass of glucose water. Many named and unnamed peaks were peeping through the corridors and the beautiful landscape changes with every bend of the river….
In another 30 minutes we came across the first glacier of our trek.It was a hundred metres long muddy-ice trail.Our walking sticks served as a great additional support as a simple slip could be fatal. In about two hours of hiking we crossed two more glaciers and continued our gradual ascent.It was a well laid trail and since it was our first day we decided to take it slow and steady.After another two hours of trekking we had the first glimpse of the Bhagirathi peaks .It is group of three peaks named according to height, Bhagirathi 3 was the first to show up followed by Bhagirathi 1 and 2 peaks.We reached Chirbasa (9 kms from Gangotri) at around 2 pm.Our entry tickets were rechecked at Chirbasa forest office after which we had some parathas with tea. Chirbasa is a small valley along the Ganges with camping sites.