I boarded the train at NDLS on my first day, at 6:20 am. Admittedly, getting up at 5am when going on a vacation is brutal, but train journeys are comfortable and fast, compared to buses on hilly routes. Hence, the early waking up was compensated by saving almost half the travel time and reaching more relaxed!
I reached my destination station at 11: 30 am. Kathgodam is a small, clean and beautiful railway station, surrounded by green hills and misty clouds. It gave a perfect sneak peek into what awaits ahead.
Since I was travelling solo, when I got outside the railway station, I started looking for relatively cheaper options to get to Mukteshwar. Given it is not a very popular tourist destination (compared to Nainital/Almora), there is only one direct bus with a fixed timing in the morning. Other than that, one has to take a cab, which was the option I was left with. Luckily, after negotiating with a few drivers, I met one heading to Mukteshwar with another passenger to be dropped off on the way, hence he charged me INR 1,000, instead of a standard cab rate of INR 2,000. I sat in the cab, and my journey continued!
The way to Mukteshwar was beautiful, and the 1.5 - 2 hour ride did not feel taxing at all, given the view along the way was breathtaking. I had booked a hotel through Oyo a day before, which was in Kasiyalekh (6-7 kms before Mukteshwar). I generally prefer calm and less crowded places to stay, since the main motive of a trip to mountains for me is relaxation and least possible disturbance!