This was Dudiadhong for us, our worst nightmare, out of 6 we were already split in 2 teams where team A was roughly an hour ahead of us. We 3 were trying to figure out which way to go, Initially took the left but it was a steep ascend so we tried to retrace and finally found some animal feces on the straight path beside the river, we went in for around 2 km and to our surprise the river took a steep turn and the way ended, to top it all it started raining and this was a complete landslide area.
We wasted hours sitting and running around in nearby areas even took shelter behind a boulder considering a landslide would smash us any moment, then one of us noticed a foot long path on the hill which was 15 ft above us, all thanks to the rain and we could not even find the right path to get there; So to reach it at the only visible spot from down below we took the risk of rock climbing on a vertical wall, with loose mud. Fell down a few good times but we dragged ourselves to the top and finally got out of that area and reached Kathalia i.e. Sundardhunga (land of beautiful stones). By 7 PM we found the only shelter on that height, which was a shepherd hut (with 2 caretakers) and was lend to us on 100 INR flat it made of only dry husk which means no lights can be burned inside the room and expecting electricity was simply foolish, we left that maybe 40 km behind.
Dead tired as we were but still not out of mental energy, I decided to walk another 3 miles as I was informed there is a shepherd on another nearby hill who has a big herd of cattle. I took one of the local shepherd with me and went to him and brokered a deal for one small sheep of maybe 8 kg and clung the animal on my neck to make up for the falling protein levels in out body. As soon as we got there, we had it slaughtered and cooked it in bare minimum things we had. To name a few it was marinated in condensed milk and haldi and cooked with salt and red chilies only. The roti’s made on cow-dung were fresh as anything and when you get to eat something relatable to your staple meal after days of hard -work, it is automatically the best meal.
Next morning one of our friend wakes up early morning and somehow sees a Langur somewhere on the hill behind us and out of sheer joy throws a stone at him, scaring him away; After maybe 5 minutes we hear shrill voice of monkeys inside our room and we have more than 100 Langurs to threaten us on the hill behind us, who make this eerie sound and we are just 8 people in all. They were clearly threatened by something they didn’t expect and gave us what we didn’t expect in return. Next one hour was a futile exercise of trying to scare them away maybe it was godsend but they finally retreated and left us at peace.
After a deep breathe of peace we start dressing up and leave for Maktoli, the place where rivers originate and make the strongest stream of Ganges . We relax and sit here till the evening, lie down, laze, this was our only day of fun and no hard-work. It felt great on the aching body and minds that had been forced to overrun for a long span.
Dusk would soon captivate the sky here and we retreated back to our lodge with melancholy, rooted deep within; As next day it was backtracking, all the rosy dreams we stitched would just be captivated in our hearts forever, aching to get back once again and breathe this air and atmosphere from our eyes right down to our souls.
- Get There- By air Pantnagar airport, by train Kathgodam Railway station, by road Loharkhet is 310 km from New Delhi.
- Stay- Pitch your tent some villages in between would have some cheap stay which is just a shelter for the night.
- Eat- The best is carry your own food, or you can rely on maggi and tea that you can get on the way.
- Good for- peace seeking, natural beauty & extreme adventure.