Roopkund is one of the oldest treks in India and definitely the most popular trek. Hundreds of trekkers of all ages and size flock to Roopkund each year and climb a total of about 9000 ft from Lohajung (7000 ft) to Roopkund lake (15750 ft.) or to Junargali (16000 ft.) just to see that lake which is 'mysteriously' surrounded by about 300 skeletons. The journey takes about 7 days for a round trip from base camp to base camp (Lohajung).
The day starts from reaching Kathgodam, a small city in Uttarakhand and ends with stay at the Roopkund base camp, Lohajung at 7000 ft. we reached Kathgodam at 6 in the morning via Ranikhet express then a long 11 hr taxi ride to the base camp with other fellow trekkers and finally reached Lohajung around 5 in the evening.
Lohajung is a small village in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand and our base camp for the Roopkund trek. We stayed in a guest house overlooking the valley. When we reached Lohajung we were served hot tea and got ready for a health checkup. For me, health checkup is the scariest part in any trek because anything can go wrong during the checkup. To my surprise it did went wrong, my Blood pressure came out to be so high that all I need was a little more stress to become Hulk. It was more than freaking 160/100. That, way...way more than it should for a boy of 21. We also got to know there are afternoon showers daily throughout the trek and this news freaked me out because this is my second attempt for Roopkund as my first one was canceled due to cloud burst.
That evening before dinner we got briefed up about the trek, the company, IndiaHikes, their vision, mission and projects like green trail. Then we rested our remaining hours out.
We followed 6-7-8 routine throughout the trek. 6 O'clock tea, 7 O'clock breakfast and 8 O'clock we leave for the trek.
The trek starts from a small village Wan, about 1 hour drive from Lohajung at an altitude of about 8000 ft. and the trail start with steep cemented ascent and took us from dense, beautiful oak and rhododendron forest till Rankadhar. Rankadhar is a small resting point for the trek. It lies at the top of the hill and has an incredible view of the peaks all around. It was our first long halt and I tell you when you sit at a top of the hill and look deep into the valley it makes you think. It makes you feel extremely small in this beautiful world, it kills the evil in you, and makes you realize you are not as big as what you think you are.
From Rankadhar we descend back into the forest till Neel Ganga and then we make a continuous and intense ascent to our first campsite, Gairoli Patal. During the trek we get the view of magnificent Mt. Trishul, which marks the sign of our approaching campsite.
Gairoli Patal at 10,000 ft is a small clearing in the dense forest. It's a small patch of grass among the oak and rhododendron. All it has is a small dhaba, 2 forest department's shelter huts, one big shed, a small temple, a kitchen tent, our small sleeping tents and most importantly 2 small toilet tents.
We reached Gairoli Patal round noon and then we spent the whole day exploring the campsite but mostly under the big shed because as predicted we had afternoon showers.