Dehra Dun – 1430 ft
Ghangaria – 10,000 ft
Valley of flowers – 11,800 ft
HemkundSaheb – 14,200 ft.
The next day, refreshed, we set forth to Joshirmath. Reached there early afternoon and immediately went to Auli, a nearby hill station and a skiing centre, by ropeway. That ropeway, by the way, is almost 8 kms long, rises 1.11 kms and takes around 22 mins for a single journey. Auli was a wash out as the fog was heavy and it was cold and raining. We came right back and stayed the 2nd night at Joshirmath.
The next morning we started the 12 km trip to Ghangaria. The youngest of us was 40 and the oldest 66, with most of us above 50, so we had to plan properly. After much discussion, we decided that we will send our heavy back packs ahead on mules and only carry a light back pack with dry fruit and water. Then we decided to have an extra mule even for the lighter back packs and it would also serve in an emergency if one of us got a bit tired. In addition, we had a hip flask of whisky and two small bottles of rum for the ‘spiritual’ types. Thus well prepared, we embarked on our journey. The first three kms were by Sumo and we stopped and had breakfast before proceeding. The next 6 kms took about 3 hours and after that, the next 3 kms took 3 more hours. We wore only light clothes for the trek. We crossed a fast flowing meandering river several times on rickety metal bridges. Looked scary. The path was concreted and was rather good. There were mules going up and down and the stench of mule dung was strong. The going, though a bit tough, was enjoyable – the camaraderie was great – stopping every half an hour or so for chai and maybe, an aloo paratha, was really enjoyable.
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