I am a girl who believes in Santaclaus and God never misses any chance to keep my belief intact. And this time, I celebrated Christmas in the mountains at Kedarkantha trek.
It was my dream to celebrate a snow covered white Christmas like they used to show in classic Christmas and Disney movies which as a kid I used to watch every year with great excitement. :-)
This year I finally celebrated my snowy dreamlike Christmas. This was very special to me because of 3 things, firstly, it was in snow clad mountains, for which I was longing for last 6 months; secondly, it was a beautiful trek and thirdly, the amazing people I met during my trip.
My year couldn’t have ended any better and this trip made my fantastic 2017 even more beautiful.
Kedarkantha was a 6 day long trek (2 days for to & fro from Sankri base camp) and it was an unplanned solo trip.
Trek in brief-
Maximum Altitude- 12500 ft
Weather- Snowy/Sunny/Dead cold
Grade- Very Easy
Trek distance- Approx. 20 kms in 4 days
The journey started from Dehradun, so, I reached a day in advance and decided to sleep. :P
Day 1- Dehradun to Sankri, Nostalgic Morning
Next morning we all assembled at Dehradun railway station, and all this while I was terribly missing my Rupin Pass trip. Rupin was something which words can never define and I was feeling very emotional.
At railway station, I met 5 more people travelling for the same trek from Bombay and we shared a cab till base camp and from that moment we formed an instant connection. All the way we were talking, laughing and clicking pictures, it was almost an 8 hour long journey which never felt this long.
We reached Sankri and decided to celebrate Christmas Eve, we 6 went to the local market searching for Plum cake and we couldn’t find any cake to begin with, mutually we decided to celebrate our eve with Hot Chocolate at night after dinner. We bought a big packet of hot chocolate and milk powder and we were all super excited. Yayyy! :D
After dinner, we talked and talked till the time we were super sleepy, and decided to push back our Hot Chocolate celebration post trek. :P
Day 2- Juda Ka talab (4 km walk, 9100 ft)
Technically, this was our first day of trek. We started walking around 9.30am, it was a very short and sweet walk of 4 kms.
Leisurely we walked, clicked pictures, listened to the music, ate Maggi on the way and reached our first campsite “Juda ka Talab” by 12.30pm despite taking 4-5 decent breaks. :P
This place was dead cold, campsite was near a frozen lake as the name says "Juda Ka Talab".
It was a Christmas day, my coldest Christmas ever. The temperature was around -6 dregrees in the night but it felt like -20 degrees because of the cold air.
I slipped inside my sleeping bag around 6pm, I was helplessly dying of cold even after wearing so many layers.
Skipped my dinner, dessert and everything just to realize I was unable to sleep because of the weather and had to anyway get up for the loo at night. :(
Terribly cold night it was and somehow I was scared of it, that frozen lake looked haunted at midnight :P
I somehow managed to pass that night.
Day 3- Juda ka talab to Kedarkantha Base Camp (4 kms, 11250 ft)
Morning was much better, as it always is! :)
We again clicked pictures with the Frozen lake, talked, had breakfast and left for the next campsite around 9.30am.
Easy day again, we reached our base camp in a short while and had a long day to chill. It was a beautifully sunny day in the snow.
We played cards and I learned to play ‘bluff’ while waiting for our lunch.
After finishing our delicious meal, we decided to go for a walk and play on the snow. So we 7-8 people roamed around and looked for a big snow covered ground where we played cricket, catch-the-snowball, snow fight and many other games on the snow, again clicked pictures and had great time.
We realized it was already 4.30pm and was time for our acclimatization walk. We walked back to our camps and after a short briefing session and tea break we left for our acclimatization walk.
By 6pm we were back, had soup and chit-chatted while we waited for dinner.
Post dinner, we all were looking at the stars standing in a circle. What a beautiful night sky!
After a while, one of our trek guides reminded us that we have to get up at 2.30 am for Summit and we should sleep.
We all slept around 10.30-11pm.
Day 4- Summit Day & Back to Hargaon Campsite (6 kms, 12500ft)
I took this responsibility of waking everyone up at 2.30am, but somehow I was too lazy this time.
May be I was self-assured that it’s an easy trek and I will manage :P
All this while I ate a lot, ate Maggi, skipped morning stretches and most importantly, I got up at 3am instead of 2 on Summit day :P
Anyhow, I ensured everyone was up and we were all ready by 4.30 am.
This was our best day of the trip, we started our climb in -3 degrees at 4.30am.
As our trek leader ordered, I was supposed to walk in the end of the queue and for the first time I didn’t feel bad about it because that’s how a “Wolf Pack” walks. Strongest ones in the end!
Me along with my “group mates”, yes, it was a group now, walked in the end. Clicking pictures, drinking our favourite “Magic drink” ;-), taking long breaks and having time of our lives! :))
Even on our summit day, our group took long breaks, cherished the most beautiful sunrise and together we reached on the peak-top by 9am.
All this while, we were laughing, talking and having fun. While coming back, we took Maggi break, slided on the snow, played on the snow and in a very slow pace we walked enjoying it thoroughly.
We reached base camp at 2pm, had lunch and proceeded to our campsite of the day “Hargaon Campsite”
It was crazy fun day, none of us was tired. We were laughing and chilling, as if Summit was a cake walk! :))
And while walking we planned our post trek celebration!
We reached our last campsite around 4.30pm and had yummy “Samosas”.
Post that we were busy planning our party and celebrations, next day was supposed to be our stay in Sankri after final descend and post that our drive to Dehradun (a day after), but we decided to proceed to Rishikesh directly on our ‘day 5’ for River Rafting instead of staying at Sankri to save our one day.
This evening was amazing, we talked till 11pm and though we all were dead sleepy because of the Summit day, we refused to sleep till the time our trek guide came to remind us we were disturbing other people.
What an amazing sleep I had this night.
Day 5- Final descend to Sankri and Rishikesh travel
As usual I was up by 5.30 am, in dead cold and dark morning. I came out of my camp stared the starry night sky for the last time, brushed my teeth and realized there was bonfire at a short distance.
We were not allowed to lit fire around campsites, so I was curious to know what is it!
I walked closer to the fire to realize it was local people from some other trek group and since they were localites they had permissions to break the rules. I asked if I could join them, and they merrily welcomed me. :)
We talked, they shared stories of Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun, Chopta and their village life.
I had my coffee with them, they arranged hot water and as usual I had a coffee packet in my pocket :P
We talked till sunrise, and I saw my group waking up. I took permission to leave.
I joined my people, we planned our day ahead.
After breakfast, we started our descend which was a short 6km walk and we covered it quickly.
Reaching guest house, I quickly took cold shower and was all set to leave.
We left for Rishikesh post lunch.
On the way, we had dinner in Mussoorie and reached Rishikesh by 12.30am.
Day 6- The Closure- River Rafting in Winters
I have no words to explain what a warm and cosy sleep I had on a bed with a quilt. :))
In morning, someone woke me up by banging on the door and I realized it was 8.30am and we had to leave for rafting.
This was my 4th time with rafting and first time rafting in winters. I enjoyed it while I was dying of cold.
After rafting, we came back to our hotel and quickly packed our stuff to leave.
We had our last lunch meal together at the famous “Chotiwala” and from there we parted ways for our respective destinations.
I booked my train from Haridwar.
It was a nostalgic moment and felt like I am bidding adieu to my very close people.
In train, I was looking at the pictures we clicked and was missing it badly.
I was back home in Delhi by 11.45pm.
My Kedarkantha trek was brilliant and one of my best trips. This was my gift from Santa Claus and I am really grateful for it.
And while writing I just realized we completely forgot about our "Hot Chocolate" Plan! :))
Dear God, I love you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making this year so special, thank you for Rupin and Kedarkantha and Goa and Siliguri and everything I experienced this year. I love you.. Muaah :)
Please take care of my people! :-)
All these pictures above except the first one of the post are clicked and contributed by my trek group members.
This time I clicked very few pictures, some are as follows-