As a kid, seeing all those Hollywood movies, I wanted to jump around and play in the snow like the kids do in the above said movies. A dream that grew up with me to a point where the artificial snow found in the snow themed parks just wasn't enough. Thus came my opportunity when my friend talked to me about his winter trek. Inspired by this, I started checking online and decided to go for the Kedarkantha trek hosted by Indiahikes. And this is my story...
Day 1 : Dehradun to Kotgaon (6,800 ft).
Due to Indiahikes getting permission to start treks along this new route which takes us away from the crowd climbing from Sankri, we were the first batch to start from Kotgaon and hence the first step for that was getting to Kotgaon. Dehradun Railway Station was our rendezvous point where I met the other 23 people who were part of the group. It was from here where we were meeting the Indiahikes team and getting on the respective transports to get to Kotgaon. The team was split into 3 with one group in a traveller, another in a Bolero and the other in an Ertiga. Me, 3 other malayalees and one dude from Orissa was allotted into the Ertiga. We were to be on the road for about 11 hours with scheduled rest stops in between for breakfast, lunch and vehicle cool downs. After being informed that the trip would cost us around Rs. 6000 for the Ertiga, we set off to Kotgaon at 6:30am.
The long and winding road took us through views of valleys and cliffs once we left the city of Dehradun. Motion sickness being a huge issue, I allowed myself to doze off every time I felt nauseous.
After having our breakfast (coffee and bread with a side of an egg omelette, the poor man's English Breakfast) at a small restaurant where we saw a monkey steal a customer's food, we resumed the route. We soon found ourselves near a lake and I must say the colour of the water surprised me. We stopped to click a few pictures while the vehicles were allowed to cool off. Portraits for display pictures or posts for instagram was of high demand for everyone.
We then headed off to Kotgaon again only stopping for lunch and tea. Lunch was delayed because of the lack of seats available for the multiple trek groups coming in that day and hence we had to wait for about 2 hours for our thaali to come. After setting off from the lunch restaurant, we were on the road for a few hours until we reached a place for tea, where my friend managed to puke out only the veg curry that he had for lunch (Veg was 'haram' for his body as he elegantly put it). The tea we had was also not that great but the location was definitely amazing.
After the semi average tea, we headed off to Kotgaon and reached there at around 6:00pm. We were shown our sleeping area and then asked to meet the team and the trek leader at a tent placed in an open area. We met everyone, introduced ourselves, got the gear we had rented out from Indiahikes, and had a very tasty dinner there after exchanging pleasantries. We were asked to report at the same location at 9:00am the next day.