Well, this is my first ever travelogue, largely inspired by my recent trekking experience at GHNP, Himachal Pradesh. I havent really trekked much in the past and a trekking cum vacation plan at the Himalayan valley was more out of a sheer irresistible temptation when I looked at the photographs of the place. It turned out to be one of my best ever vacations .
On the 23rd of May we (2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 7) boarded a flight to Chandigarh. We reached Chandigarh by around noon. We were warmly welcomed by Brighu (runs a travel setup Himalayan Adventures), who drove us down to Gushaini our next destination. Our drive took around 8 hours approximately including the mouthwatering lunch at the roadside dhaba and several chai breaks.
We had booked in at Raju’s cottage at Gushaini for accommodation and for all the trekking arrangements. It was quite dark when we reached and all one could hear was the only sound of the gushing river Tirthan. We were quite amused to find out that the way to reach the cottage was through a pulley over the river. It was a nerve tickling experience for the first time. This pulley is manually operated, meaning someone on the other side actually pulls you in, while someone on your side ensures you are seated. (Perhaps the idea is to ensure prevention of riff raffs. ) We walked in straight into dinner where we met up with our pal Usha and family and her friend Gita and family, whom we were to join in for this trek.
Trek day 1 : Route – Gushaini to Rolla Hut – (2100 Mts) [Trek 11 Kms / 4 – 5 Hrs]
Next day around 8 am after breakfast, the trekking team comprising 5 adults and 6 children along with Karan (from Rajus cottage) who had volunteered to be our guide for the entire trek, left Gushaini. Apparently as per Karan, this is the first time a trek team of this size with families were taking the 5 day trek route from Rajus cottage. The porters, carried our stuff like clothes for 5 days, tents, sleeping bags, stuff for cooking, etc and went either ahead or came later but never accompanied us.
We carried backpacks comprising the lunch, some essential medicines, water (atleast 3 litres per family), some snacks, caps, kids jackets, camera and the rain gear. This trek was a combination of hills, valleys and plains. The picture absolutely scenic. The kids did pretty well all on this trek . Like treks go, you are definitely ready to crash, as your legs twitch and body aches (atleast mine did) before reaching the goalpost. Just before the GHNP gate, we stopped for lunch at Hippo falls. A sheer delight it was, to see the falls and to put our feet in the ice cold glacier water. Refreshing ourselves, having lunch and stretching and turning, we took nearly an hour’s break as the kids played. Then we headed to the Rolla Hut.
The GHNP entrance is about half km from Hippo falls. The entrance is apparently another spot where camping happens too. But we proceeded to Rolla hut. The path to the hut is nearly a one man’s lane for most part. Some of the inner routes required a certain amount of navigation skills.
After a 2.5 km walk from the entrance (again up, down & plain) we reached our destination, Rolla hut. 4 tents were pitched in. Then there was also this “Toilet tent” that was kept at a strategic location – a high-tech (not really, yet a piece of ingenious conception) contraption. Came in pretty useful too.
The Tirthan river is quite accessible at Rolla. We spent a good amount of time relaxing there. By around 5.30 pm the bon fire was lit and by 7.30 we were done with dinner and made our way to our tents and got snug in our sleeping bags. The only light by now was that of our torches.
That concluded Day 1. My next blog would be on day 2 Rolla Hut to Shilt, a tough trekking day for me.