Uttarkashi to Gaurikund - 220 km by road | Gaurikund to Kedarnath - 16 km trek
I think I always had it in my subconscious that someday I'll be a part of modern-day Exodus. And when I hit this trek, all the visuals started coming back to me. The plight of people from all strata of the society: pilgrims, vacationers, an odd trekker and a few nature lovers. While some opted to walk, others were more comfortable flying (the chopper), but all heading in the same direction, just not at the same point.
In a few days from now, it will be 5 years since the catastrophe hit Kedarnath. The flash floods that killed in thousands as the holy river Mandakini broke all confines. The devotion is only growing stronger each year. But as I said, faith that throws caution to the wind invites the storm. Increasing footfalls and zero accountability has all the makings of another disaster, on a whole new level.
Moving on, we started the trek at around 2 am from Gaurikund and were back by 5 pm. 15 hours in total, out of which 4 hours were spent waiting outside the temple in an almost kilometre-long queue for the darshan. The trek is 32 kilometres, Gaurikund to Gaurikund. The path is well-lit, shall you plan to start at the same time. There are plenty of shacks on the way, and even at this hour, some are open. Drinking water (for refill) is available at many places. And so are little rooms and tents in case you feel the need to break your journey. All in all, things were managed slightly better by the respective authorities here than in Yamunotri.