Day 3 – Wake up today with the clear view of snow capped mountains after the hailstorm & heavy downpours previous night.
We started 8 AM for Tungnath after a light breakfast. This night too, I couldn’t sleep well and nothing’s more frustrating than not getting proper sleep if you are on a trek. As a result I still feeling exhausted but thankfully the trail was well maintained and moreover the views were so amazing that somehow I managed to keep walking.
It’s a 3.5KM moderate trek from Chopta (9600ft) to Tungnath (12000ft). The trek route is stone paved trail flanked on by rhododendron forest & beautiful meadows. This is the view which greeted us on the trail 🙂
But all the greenery and meadows disappeared as we walked up high. Now we can see close view of all major peaks. We started early and so it didn’t become cloudy to cover up the peaks. We enjoyed the clear view of Mt.Chowkhamba, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth and Kedarnath peaks.
On the way to Tungnath, we met with a guy Vaibhav who lost the sight of his friends and after a formal Hi hello we started walking together.
This is the real beauty of hiking I love the most that no matter where are you from, you just start walk along with each other without even knowing names. We had so many discussions about our previous treks and other interests. He too was from Delhi and we exchanged our contact details. He trekked with us till chandrashila top.
One can see small shops on the route selling tea, maggie and water bottles. Now the last strech became steep as we were gaining altitude but thankfully we didn’t have any symptoms of AMS. Now we can see the temple from few meters distance and snow around it. It snowed there previous night and so we witnessed fresh snow all around.
Tungnath temple is located at an altitude of 3680m(12073 ft), it is third among five kedar temples and highest among all. Being the highest Shiva temple in the world, it is believed to be 1000 years old. It took us 2 hrs to reach temple which is not less than an achievement after a long previous day hike.
The temple was yet to be opened for this year. We roamed around the temple and stopped for some time but Manoj asked to move to Chandrashila as weather was getting bad. We started towards Chandrashila peak.
The distance remains approx 1.5 kms from here but steep ascent makes it rigorous. As soon we started, I got to see thin ice sheets. At first instance, it seems crossing the same way we did on frozen Indus and Zanskar rivers in Ladakh. Hiking on a frozen ice sheet can be really dangerous, One slip can throw you meters deep down into the valley if you are not careful.
I crossed those ice sheet patches with Manoj holding his hand all the time 😉 while Anuj and Vaibhav were following us on the trail.
The hike was really steep and after 20 mins Vaibhav started showing symptoms of AMS. He almost gave up and refused to go up further due to dizziness. We sat down and gave him ORS, energy bars and waited for sometime. When he felt relaxed, we started again with more enthusiasm and stopped only after reaching a top.
We were welcomed by the small temple of Chandrashila The views were just amazing and you can have 360° views of all major peaks of Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas Mt.Chaukhamba, Kedar dome, Mt.Trishul, Nanda Ghunti and many more.
It is completely clouded over higher peaks, so we couldn’t see all peaks very clear but I was amazed with the beauty all around.
What a moment it was..I feel like I can spend my whole life at this place, blessed feeling it was. I bowed my head and thanked to this mountain peak to allow me to climb it!!
We stayed there for almost 1 hour & celebrated our new friendship with Vaibhav & Manoj.
We started way back down to Chopta, this time we didn’t find ice sheets layer as it already started to melt due to sunshine. It was not too difficult to get down and we came down to Chopta in 2 hrs.
On returning, we had a delicious lunch at Chopta and then returned to Sari. Next morning, caught a bus from Sari to Rudraprayag and thereafter came back to Delhi by shared taxi.