A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha

Tripoto
23rd Dec 2017

The Kedarkantha Summit

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah
Day 4

Here we are, standing on a peak of 12,500 ft. to be precise, on a icy-cold, windy top. The conditions are absolutely unbearable; the cold wind brushing against your ears prompting to cover them up immediately, the near numb finger tips if you even dare to remove your gloves. A harsh reminder to the reality of nature.

 The altitude must be a modest one, but the 360 degree views are worth every buck, sweat, and pain taken to reach here. No pictures, cameras, or words can do justice to the feeling of standing atop a peak so revered and soaked in mythology that the sweet taste of being there makes it even more sweeter. At the summit of Kedarkantha this is exactly how I felt...

The Joy of a Himalayan Trek, in Winter

I've just reached Dehradun, back from an exciting trek to Tungnath-Chandrashila, and tomorrow I leave to Sankri for my next adventure to Kedarkantha. December is truly the finest month to be in Uttarakhand; so many trekkers from across the country descend for winter treks. All excited, pumped up, and ready to go and meet new people on the trail. The morning couldn't come sooner!

Kedarkantha is an ideal trek for anyone wanting to their first Himalayan or Winter trek. Its one of the most beautiful winter trek in the Himalayas, which also makes it equally popular for trekkers of all categories. I had opted for the trusted services of Indiahikes for this particular adventure.

From a Circuit to a Crossover Trek: The New Route of Kedarkantha

Come this winter and all was about to change on the Kedarkantha trail. Indiahikes, being the pioneer they are, decided to take a risk by going through a different trail altogether from Dec 2017, completely discarding the more familiar, laid out, circuit trail everyone follows (including Indiahikes, until now).

I wasn't very sure to be honest. And this I realized when I reached the base camp of the trek (Yep, guilty of not going through their website properly).

So this blog is more on my adventures and experience on the new route that only we romped on. Of course, you'll find numerous write-ups on Google, falling short of words how stunning the Kedarkantha trek is, especially during winters.

Day 1

Day 1: Some Familiar Sights and Memoirs: Dehradun to Sankri

Its 5 am, I too a peek out of my hotel room window & it feels like midnight; perfect to continue your sleep on a cold Dehradun dawn. But our room is buzzing; we have to reach the railway station to rendezvous with the other fellow trekkers who will assemble there. For my mate Shiva it will be his first tryst in the snowy slopes of the Himalayas.

Me, Shiva, Venky and Ashwin reached the station by around 7 am to be welcomed by fellow trekkers who were already waiting. Some chai and exchange of pleasantries off we go to Sankri.

I've been on this road before. Why of course, during my trek to Rupin Pass! The narrow, winding roads of Mussorie, the dense tree line all along the hills, the gently flowing Yamuna river all along, and the beautiful villages and their terrace farming all across; all the good memories associated with this hilly ride 2 years back brought a smile of a kid on my lips...

From Mori to Sankri the road is a mix of curvy roads and dense pine forest

Photo of Purola, Uttarakhand, India by Hrishikesh Baruah

We have a teacher, consultants, software engineers, marketing professionals, entrepreneur, financial analysts, supply chain labor (me) in our group, all taking a step back out of their busy-bee careers to spend some time in the mountains, to redeem self. Talking of one diverse group! We played antakshari, dozed off for a while, clicked pics out of our moving cab, again played antakshari in our croaking voices before reaching Purola for lunch.

Lunch stop couldn't have come earlier, as the twisty roads and our singing performances now demand some much needed food. And just as I thought we went to the same hotel at which I had lunch 2 years back; heck even their "Today's special" on the blackboard hasn't changed!

From Purola the journey passes through some dense pine forests. The fragrance of the forest, the tranquility can be easily felt now. Once Mori is crossed you will have the Tons river all by you till you enter Sankri.

Fancy staying in a house and a place like this, for the rest of your life?

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Now ideally Sankri is from where the trek to Kedarkantha would start, and is the basecamp. BUT, we ain't stopping here; we proceed further, taking a deviation to Gaichawan Gaon. Now this is where things start to get different for us from the rest of the trekking groups. It was almost dusk when we reached homestay.

We reached right on time to witness a beautiful sunset. Plus our homestay was a wooden, luxurious, warm dormitory. Standing at 5,500 ft may not be very high in terms of a Himalayan altitude, but the cold air and biting-cold water surely gives a taste of things to come ahead.

All huddled up in a warm big hall this is where we met Dev and Santosh bhai, our local trek guides, and Shivam our trek leader. All introduced, oxygen and pulse readings recorded, and all the safety and health instructions relayed to all, everyone decided for a game of Mafia. Little did I realize all 22 of us would blend in so fast!

Day 2

Day 2: A bit of Hike Up, Little More, and Then a Lot More: From Gaichawan Gaon to Jalouta

Good morning Himalayas! That white house you see at the back? That was our homestay for the night

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

I have to admit last night was my most comfortable ever if I consider all my Himalayan treks till date. Anyways, breakfast was ready by 8 am. It was a glorious morning, and the view from our homestay was something that one can wish for the rest of his/her life everyday. After some basic instructions on how to walk and use your hiking pole we marched out.

Now the 1st day on a trek is relatively tricky, considering the body is just trying to adapt to the new environment and incline. And considering with a backpack of 9-12 Kg it may not be that simple. And that's exactly most of us were feeling; getting tired quickly, stopping more frequently, and trying to take some rest wherever possible.

Mornings in the mountains are always special

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Today's day involves almost 3300 ft gain, not simple affair on the very first day itself. Since its a new trail we pass through a lot of villages and silver oak trees. Locals stare at us passing through at much amusement and awe, this is what happens when city dwellers meet simple village folks; smiles and exchange of greetings are bound to happen.

Simple Pahadi folks of Uttarakhand

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

We have been almost hiking up for the last 3 hours now. We had stopped for a maggi and chai break in the middle of a forest, climbed a tree for a picture and finally we reached a village named Haltwar to get some much needed break to our legs and shoulders. While some relaxed and mingled with the local kids, others were in for a game of cricket. Now who wouldn't mind a bout of cricket, no matter how tired you are!

Beautiful , intricately carved houses made from Oak trees. These houses can easily last for 100+ years. They keep their cattles in the ground floor, their grains in the 1st floor, and themselves sleep in the top floor. This way the villagers keep warm from the warmth of the cattles

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Some time out!

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Mind you we haven't had our first encounter with snow. Shivam had assured to all who are eager to see their first snow (including me) that we will see and will be in so much of snow that we will get irritated! After abandoning our game of cricket and bidding adieu to Haltwar we moved on, only to climb more.

The last part of today's trek involves some steep ascent through oak forests. The silence of the forest was pleasing, but the noise of our hungry stomach was more important to attend to. We finally reached our Jalouta campsite at around 3 pm, all exhausted.

Our trekkers making their way up to Jalouta, through some lovely forest section

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

At an altitude of 8900 ft our Jalouta campsite

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Lunch was ready by the time we reached. Eating late on a Himalayan trek is not the most favorable thing for the body, but since we reached really late there was least that we could do. And boy-oh-boy, rajma chawal!

A forest clearing, a setting sun with a pinkish hue in the horizon, and no one else but us; perfect setting! Jalouta is a perfect campsite in the middle of a forest, with no other trekking group around to vie for camping ground, and idyllic to relax and enjoy some panoramic sunsets.

Ashwin was carrying a Frisbee, and we had a gala time throwing it around. In fact, I'm sure Koushik, Venky, and Rahul had even more fun running down the slope to fetch it and hiking up to the campsite again!

Frisbee in action

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Same tent, different time of the day; 1st one taken in evening, and the 2nd one during sunset

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah
Day 3

Day 3: Snow, Finally. And Lots and Lots of It! Jalouta to Pukhrola

It was a kind of a gloomy start to the day. Divya decided that she'll not be continuing the remaining part of the trek, and will now head back to Gaichawan gaon with a porter. As much as she was sad and teary eyed, she also ensured to pass on all the energy, smiles, and wishes to all of us. In fact, her accomplice Noni also promised to scream her name out once she reaches the summit.

The forest shade engulfing our entire campsite made for a chilly start to the morning. Everyone wanted some sunshine to kiss their faces. And some snow, maybe. Around 20 mins into our today's trek and we encounter our first snow. And folks just went ballistic! Its always a fascinating and memorable moment to cherish later, the first feels of snow.

Our first encounter with snow

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

After a quick play and photo session we moved on, only to re-enter the forest section. The best part about the whole trek is the fact that we are the only bunch walking on the trail, till we go across the Kedarkantha summit. This means we can listen to the trees talking to each other, birds chirping here and there, and of course being the only ones on this gorgeous, less visited trail gives us the benefit of going at our own pace and enjoying the wonders of nature.

Discipline

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Full of snow, and slippery rocks, coupled with verglas and ice (thanks to hardening of snow from the walking on it by previous batches) the hike through the forest was turning out to be a tricky one. This entire section comprises of twisting trail and a dark canopy that even doesn't let sunlight to pass through. Few of us, including me, did have a fall on those slippery trails, thus demanding for more careful treading on them. This part of the trek requires patience and humble pace.

The forest can speak to you... if you want to listen

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Once we exited the forest section and entered a sprawling clearing there was endless snowfield right in front of us. When you see so much of snow there's only one outcome to this: SNOW-FIGHT! Yep, people kept their bags aside, gulped a sip of water and started bombing the other person with endless bombs of snowballs! What started off as harmless fun, ended up being a full blown war! People had to scamper for cover and to dodge that killer attack. All this while I steer clear, standing in a far (and safer) corner, witnessing the mayhem! Check out the pics below of the blood-thirsty trekkers ;)

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Take that!

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Our group in a "different" kind of action, altogether!

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Shivam, our trek leader, initiating proceedings!

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

It was kind of a nice feeling going through my mind. We were not rushing at all, slowly pacing up and yet enjoying the true colors that run riot all around. For no reasons I was smiling, clicking as much as possible, and trying to etch all the glory in my memoirs, for we will not see this again for a while (lest we decide to come again next month, and on!). We are indeed fortunate :)

Golden Oak trees

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Our trail to Pukhrola camp ahead

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Snowy, untouched, unadulterated :)

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

The day's trek was nearing an end. We were passing through a tranquil forest, at an undulating pace, with soft, fresh snow engulfing the land till eyes can see. The snow is fresh, soft and sugary, and the dark canopy ensured sunlight didn't pass through enough for the snow to not melt for days to come.

Our Pukhrola campsite was setup right on the base of the Kedarkantha summit. The summit was basking clearly under a clear blue sky. We reached by around 3 pm, and were immediately summoned for lunch. Although it was quite clear and sunny but we immediately realized how cold it will be night. Our campsite was the only one around, and was literally on a bed of snow.

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

That's the Kedarkantha peak, viewed from Pukhrola

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Post lunch we just lazed around. While me and Ashwin took up the challenge of making a snow man, others decided to explore the area and play in snow. This camp was perfect for landscape photography, with the Kedarkantha peak adorning on one side to the endless view of snowy mountains on the other side, coupled with a 3 ft of sugar-fine snow till you can see.

The Kedarkantha summit seemed like just a stretch of a hand away. So much to our naivety that me and Ashwin actually went to Shivam to see if we can go all the way up and come down quickly; to which he definitely chuckled! Yep, it may look like a stone's throw away, but its a good 2 hours away that too at a good pace.

Snowy, the snowman!

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Popcorn and hot tea, and along came with a session on tomorrow's early morning summit climb. The technical guide of Indiahikes explained to us the proper way to push for the summit climb, do's and dont's, and micro-spikes for a better grip on snow and wet ice.

It was freezing here. Like the kind where your hands hurt when you touch water. And the temperature was only dipping with every passing bit of sunset.

Beautiful sunset from the Pukhrola campsite

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

A painting in the horizon

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

As the sun slowly sets in it also reminds us all of the dropping temperature, and importance of layering up. Tomorrow is a big day. We all decided to attempt summit so as to get to witness some magical sunrise from the top. But for that we need to start by 4:30, to which we all nodded. The instructions were simple, but important to follow; go in a group, no shortcuts, and to move in a line.

While me and Ashwin took some courage to step out on a treacherous cold night for some night shots, rest of them dozed off so as to gain some much needed energy for tomorrow's big push.

Long exposure clicks

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Long exposure shot of the camp, with the Kedarkantha peak in the back.

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah
Day 4

Day 4: The Race to the Summit, and then Slide Down: Pukhrola-KK Summit-Munaila

We are late now. Quite late in fact. The biting cold coupled with sleeping cozily inside 2 sleeping bags ensured we woke up a bit late and got off to a slow start. While breakfast was served most of us just hurried, stuffed our mouths with whatever we can find, for it was already 5 am. To avoid missing out on the sunrise Shivam asked Ashwin, Vishal, Chandrika, Rahul, Venky, me, and couple others to go on to the summit, while the rest of them come with the guides. This was to be one of the most memorable ascent I'm sure we will ever have...

Walking on a slope of 70 degree with a backpack of 9-12 Kg, and head-torch dangling from your head is not easy. We realized that the only way to reach the top on time for sunrise was to just walk, FAST! It was pitch dark, snow was 2-3 ft. deep at some places, and we just marched on. Such was our pace that when we took momentary break we would inhale like never done before. As much adventurous it was it was exhausting, but we didn't have a choice. The race to the top was one mad rush for the few of us. By the time we reached the shoulder darkness slowly fades way for the snowy peaks to glow up in an orange hue. We reached the summit in a record time of 1.5 hours, which otherwise will take anywhere between 2.5-3 hours.

From the top of KK summit

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

The breathlessness after that mad rush quickly whizzed away once we realized the vast and dazzling 360 degree view that lie in front. The top was crowded to say the least, but it didn't take away the sense of achievement.

Some of the most notable peaks of Uttarakhand were prominently visible from here; Swargarohini (4 peaks), Dhauladhar range, Kinnaur Kailash, Rupin pass, Bandarpoonch, Kalanag, the Har ki Dun valley, along with Gangotri in the far backdrop. We had enough time to us for we had an early start.

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Layers and layers of mountains

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Oreo mountains, with sprinkling of fine sugar

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah
Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Legends Associated with the temple on top of Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha translates to the throat of Lord Shiva. Back on the summit our guide Dev bhai told us 2 interesting stories weaved in mythology. Once you reach the summit you'll see a pile of rocks stacked somewhat in an incomplete fashion. This is the incomplete Kedarkantha temple. There are 2 legends associated with it:

1. The demon Bhasmasura was meditating for his wishes to be granted by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, happy with his worship decided to grant Bhasmasura whatever he wished for. The demon wished to have powers wherein whosoever's head he touched with his hand turns into ashes. Lord Shiva, unaware of his evils granted him his wish. Bhasmasura wanted to turn Shiva into ashes so as to possess Parvati, the beautiful of Shiva. Realizing the same Shiva starts to run away from Bhasmasura fearing for his life, and hide. Trying to flee from the demon Shiva reaches Kedarkantha to hide, where he starts making a temple. He was soon chased down and was forced to flee again, while the temple remained incomplete. Shiva fled on a horse. It is said that the first step of the horse was on a village named Devjani, where it is said the steps of the horses are still there. The 2nd step of the horse was at Badrinath where Shiva requested for help from Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a gorgeous lady that mesmerized Bhasmasura. Mohini convinced Bhasmasura for a dance competition, in which Bhasmasura had to imitate the steps of Mohini to win her, and went on for days. Finally, Mohini was able to put a step in which Bhasmasura imitated her to put his own hand on top his own head, resulting in his own death.

The incomplete temple on top of Kedarkantha

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

2. But another more popular background to the temple comes from Mahabharata. After the war of Mahabharata the Pandavas were seeking for Lord Shiva to seek forgiveness for their sins and involvement in the war. But Shiva was convinced about their roles and was avoiding them. Shiva took the form of a bull and tried to misguide the Pandavas. Bhim somehow recognized Shiva, and forced all the bulls to pass through his legs while he stood on 2 rocks. Shiva refused, and Bhim tried to grab Shiva. During the tussle Shiva's body part fell in different parts of Uttarakhand; the throat of Shiva is said to have fell on the summit of Kedarkantha. Pandavas made temples wherever his body parts fell.

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

I think we spent almost 2-3 hours on the top. But no matter how much time you spend there it just feels less. We took a group pic together, before deciding to head down. It was getting more and more crowded now. The descent is as tricky as our ascent was. Every step had to be carefully put before the next.

Almost all of us wanted to slide down on snow. There was plenty of it around, and no reason why not to go for it. Sliding on snow is tremendous amount of fun. I had a near-death moment when I was unable to "brake" effectively and crashed on Shivam, almost taking him off the cliff! Everyone skipped a heart-beat there, but thanks to Shivam I'm still alive ;)

Our Pukhrola campsite from the KK summit, zoomed in with my 250 mm lens

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Today there are lot of people on the trail. More so in the lower altitude, for a lot of people are still making their way up via the conventional route as its new year. This is where I felt IH did a marvelous job of discovering a new route, ensuring that we see the best of both sides while the rest go and come back the same route.

In most of the places there was snow of 3 ft depth. Socks are wet, shoes are damp, and walking with the micro-spikes on feels terrible. Halfway through we reached a tea point for a much needed break.

Going in a unison, merrily

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Technically the trek is over, well, almost. The grueling part of the trek is over, and its just plain descent from here onward. All of us are gleefully romping on this wonderful day. Post our chai break we continued our search for our next campsite.

The entire vista has been blanketed by a thick layer of snow. It's a snow paradiso!

That famous bridge of Kedarkantha

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah
Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

No sooner though we did reach our Munaila campsite by afternoon. Here you can spot all the other organisations like TTH, YHAI having their permanent campsites.

One unique thing across all our campsites was the fact that food will be ready and would be immediately served once we reach. This is only possible due to all the efficient and hard working IH stationed in all campsites. Hats off to their work because its truly not easy to survive and stay in such harsh, inhospitable conditions.

The day was spent with lazying around, and playing mafia inside the kitchen tent. As was happening our mafia sessions would stretch for hours, till late night, ensuring we go on with a particular tag on our heads even after the trek was over!

Our Munaila campsite

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Our Munaila campsite bathing in the setting sun. Shot on my Moto G4

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Day 5: Back to Civilization: Munaila to Sankri

As usual all of us got up late! Not surprising though we started off only at around 9 today. Reluctantly we lifted our bags one more time, this time to finish off the trek in Sankri.

Its a sunny day outside, although quite chillyperfect day for a trek. Alas, we trek down to our final destination while others joyfully hike up. We cross some more forests down on our trail, reach the Juda-ka-Talab, and then further across more forests before reaching Sankri.

Numerous Oak trees line up on the trail to Sankri

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

We have been walking and sliding down for the last 2 hours so. Not that the trail is tough, but more of tricky; with all the hardened ice and a down-slope making the path more sloppy.

We had reached Juda-ka-Talab, our 1st major stop for the day. Quite an iconic (I must say) spot this one is on the KK trail, there are hordes of permanent camps being set up here, all so that everyone can get the sweet spot next to the pond. Another good reason for Indiahikes to avoid this crowded trail. Anyways, the pond was frozen (well, mostly) and everyone were on the pond.

This place looked more like a picnic spot

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah
Day 5

The semi-frozen Juda ka Talab

Photo of Juda Ka Talab, Supin Range, Uttarakhand by Hrishikesh Baruah

We did spend quite some time here, jumping, sliding, and falling around. In most cases one will be camping here while trekking to KK from Sankri via the conventional route. The snowline was slowly starting to recede now. Soon after making our way ahead of Juda ka Talab we saw our last share of snow before entering a dense jungle again and surrounded by green and brown foliage. Horses and mules were making their way up and down ferrying rations, and us waving & smiling to panting trekkers making their way up.

End of the trek, not the vistas

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

An easy trail that it is we took our own sweet time, realizing the fact sooner or later rustic monotony will dawn on us the moment we reach Sankri. With all the tranquil and soothing greenery we soon reached our 2nd main stop for the day. This place had 2-3 big huts which served tea, maggi, and other refreshments. Unsurprisingly, this place was literally thronged by trekkers from all sides. We had unloaded our bags from our sore shoulders. Some played Frisbee, others just soaked in the warmth of the day sitting on soft grass.

A good day it is :)

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

A lonely girl

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Moving on and you can see more number of trekkers making their push up. Today the mountains are seeing a heavy rush of traffic! Walking on some rusty leaves and matching our steps with the group, the trail starts to get a bit more painful on the knees. I don't know about others but for me descent is more difficult than ascent as it takes quite a bit of toll on the knees and toes, not to mention the grumpiness of the fact it takes you further away from your mountains and solitude with every forward step.

We finally see the first sight of Sankri village, thoughts finally sinking in about trek is finally over. Happy about making it safely out, sad about not being in the thick of the snow capped mountains maybe for a little more.

While almost there at Sankri, got a delightful view

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

We finally walked into Sankri with much signs of tiredness, with a sense of accomplishment. Divya welcomed us all with big smiles and warm hugs in our lodge. Our stay was arranged in this beautiful lodge named Gypsy Child with dorm beds. The feeling of a cozy bed and a quilt for tonight's sleep already made me feel drowsy. 

The lodge was very cozy, and with piping hot lunch there's nothing else in this world I could've asked for. With all tanned and soiled up, without any form of shower for last 5 days, you couldn't have asked for a better moment to see and compare yourself before and after the trek.

Hello Sankri!

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

It was our last night together before heading out to different directions tomorrow on the stroke of morning. With certificate of accomplishments shared with all and after some light laughter few of us decided to roam around and explore the quaint town of Sankri, while others played Mafia for one last time. Sankri is starting to grow incredibly on a trekkers map by serving as the basecamp for the likes of Har ki Dun, Rupin pass, Kedarkantha, Bali pass.

Our bunkers in Gypsy Child

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

Day 6: Back to Dehradun...

So with onset of the morning light we all head out to Dehradun. Our bags are packed, pick-up vehicles lined up outside, and all freshened and ready for the onward journey. But somehow after spending 5 beautiful days in those snowy wonderland you just feel if only I could've spent few moments more here. That feeling is beautiful yet dreadful.

There are trekkers, and then there are partners in crime... PC Rahul

Photo of A Snowy Affair: My Winter Trek to Kedarkantha by Hrishikesh Baruah

I came on this trek to experience 12,500 ft of sheer adventure but going back with lot of fond memoirs, trekkers that transformed into friends forever, and landscapes that are unparalleled. KK was sure an experience worth every moment spent there. It is for a reason it is the most sought after winter trekking destination. More so with the different trail approached by Indiahikes. And a set of pictures and a blog-post may not be enough to substantiate the joy.

So, where to next?

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