After chai and pakodas, we realized that the hotel we were staying at, Deepak Hotel, was a really filthy place. In fact, the restaurant was on the ground floor and the rooms on the first. There was no covering over the staircase to the first floor, so, due to the incessant rains, one got totally drenched to and from the restaurant! Also, the toilets were filthy. Here we had our second major argument with some guys saying that one has to bear such conditions and consider it part of the ‘experience’ of a trek! We were too tired to do anything about it. Had a good massage and went off to sleep after a couple of pegs and a good dinner.
We were told that the road to the Valley of Flowers was closed for the last 3 days due to landslides and so we decided to visit Hemkund Saheb the next day, which was a pity because the one sardar in the group was not feeling well. The next day, we got ready for the long climb to Hemkund Saheb, but surprisingly, during breakfast, were told that the road to the Valley was open!
We changed plans instantly and headed out to the Valley of Flowers. It was supposed to be a 4 km trek to the entrance of the Valley. However, we kept going and going and then someone told us that after the landslide, the guys had constructed a new pathway which was 6kms instead of the old 4kms! We were at the valley, which was a bit of a disappointment as there weren’t many flowers. There were some wild flowers, but not much of variety. We decided not to go any further and headed back to Ghangaria. The guy who was sick and did not come with us, put the time to good use and found us a good clean hotel nearby and we shifted.
Ghangaria is a different sort of place – it is inhabited only 4 months a year – snowed out for most of the year. Even when it is inhabited, people use the place as a base. So, after say, 8 in the morning to around 5 in the evening, the place is totally deserted except for the vendors.
We planned to go to Hemkund Saheb the next day. All of us decided not to push it and decided to take mules up and down for the entire passage, except for the youngest amongst us, who decided to hike all the way.
Much happier in cleaner surroundings, we had our usual massage, couple of pegs and good food, before going off to sleep.
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