This time my wanderlust took me to Uttarakhand Himalayas for another trek. Chopta circuit was in my mind as our next destination ever since when we came back from Ladakh. Also, spring is the best season to do this trek.
Also Read: My Winter Trip to Ladakh
We started planning and found a reference of Manoj Negi (Adarsh Adventures) who runs an adventure company based in Sari village. Sari is a basecamp to Deoria Taal. We discussed him about accommodation, itinerary, weather & started packing accordingly. Packing is very important while hiking & this is the first time I packed my rucksack with only essentials for the trek.
This time we thought of going by shared taxi. Albeit we already knew about the shared taxis, but never tried it. A friend from Gopeshwar shared contact details of a taxi, we called him up and booked our seats. Since the taxi was going to Gopeshwar so we asked the driver to drop us at Rudraprayag (From Rudraprayag there’s a different route for Ukhimath). Well, our pickup was from New Ashok Nagar metro station, Delhi.
How to reach Sari village
Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Sari
Total distance – 430 Kms
Mode of travel
Shared Taxi from Delhi to Rudraprayag – 383 Kms in 10-12 hrs (We reached in 9.30 hrs)
Bus from Rudraprayag to Ukhimath – 42 Kms in 2 hrs
Shared taxi from Ukhimath to Sari village – 8-10 kms in 30 minutes
First Day – Reached Sari – Sari to Deoria Taal (2.5Kms : 1.30-2 hrs)
Day 2 – Deoria Taal-Rohini Bugyal-Chopta (16-17Kms : 7-8hrs)
3rd Day – Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila Peak – Tungnath – Chopta (10Kms : 5-6 hrs)
28th April – Day 1
We started our journey on Friday 9.30 PM but our taxi remained stuck in heavy traffic jam for over 2.5 hours. Finally when it cleared up, our journey started in such a way. The driver was quiet fast and we reached Haridwar by 4.30 approx in the morning.
By the way, we passed through Haridwar many times earlier but this morning was different. Haridwar, that I am currently passing through is absolutely calm, no traffic and noise. The only sound is of flowing water in Ganges & the freshness in the air was making this peace even more enjoyable. Some ace people were bathing at ghats. This was the best ever experience here.
In a short we reached Risikesh, from here the wind started getting colder. Any journey to me always starts when the mountains begin to appear & so only after Rishikesh my real journey began. Enjoying the beautiful sunrise, endless vista of mountains, valleys and river, we stopped for breakfast somewhere after Srinagar and reached Rudraprayag around 9:30 AM.
We had to wait for half an hour for the bus and reached Ukhimath after 1.30 hours of bumpy ride.
Route from Rudraprayag
- Bus from Rudraprayag (it took left towards Kedarnath)-Agustmuni-Syalsaur-Kund-Ukhimath – 42 Kms in 1.30-2 hrs approx.
- Shared taxi from Ukhimath to Sari
We reached Sari in 30 minutes. Manoj was already waiting there, he welcomed us and arranged lunch at nearby small cafeteria. After a long and tiring journey we had a good lunch with excellent views.
Sari to Deoria Lake Trek
Post lunch, we started trekking to Deoria lake. Well it was a 2.5 km easy trek but 15 hours sleepless journey soon started taking toll on our body but somehow we managed to reach the lake in 1.5 hours.
From the beginning it looked tiresome and I was in doubt about reaching to the lake but kept walking 😉 We crossed a small ancient temple in 20 minutes of the trek, stopped there for few minutes to take the blessings and resume our trek.
The trail was well maintained and we traversed it through dense rhododendron forest. Since it’s fall time, so we didn’t get to see rhododendron flowers in bloom. The views of the valley and Sari village from uphill, looked so stunning that we took frequent stops for photography.
There are 2 small shops few meters before the lake, they have basic food options, snacks and can also arrange camping by the lake side. From here, the distance remains only 5-10 minutes downhill walk. Within couple of minutes, we were at a point where dense forest had been disappeared and we saw the first glimpse of the Lake.
About Deoria Taal
This small lake is located at an altitude of 8000ft and surrounded by dense forest and snow clad mountains. It lies in Kedarnath deer sanctuary.
It serves as a very famous camping destination in this region and you can see reflection of Mt. Chaukhambha in the lake on a clear day.
By now we had forgotten all our pain and completely lost in the beautiful landscape.
Soon after the dinner, we retired into our tents to prepare ourselves to cover a long distance next day. But I couldn’t sleep for the whole night and in the midnight I came outside from the tent. The sky was clear & millions of stars were twinkling over my head. I couldn’t stay outside for a long due to the cold & entered the tent.
Day 2 – Deoria Taal to Chopta (16-17 Kms: 7-8 hrs)
Next morning I wake up with mild headache, the weather was not clear and we started hiking by 8:30.
It quickly clouded over and we couldn’t see more than few feet ahead our feet. Just as we were putting on our gears, it started raining but we continued walking.
It was a steep climb for 40-45 mins and we reached a hill top known as Jhandi Dhar which has a flag post. I can’t tell you about the views from this point as its raining and clouded all over.
After this point the trail has gradual incline and decline and now we’re trekking through thick rhododendron forest. Since it’s fall time so the whole trail was covered with flowers and leaves and the rain made it extremely slippery.
It was first time we’re hiking in the rain and rain don’t give up easily in the mountains. We continued hiking, slipped many times, shivering in cold, were hungry but there’s no place to stop and eat in the rain. It’s been raining on us for hours & even the raincoat was unable to protect from constant shower.
4-4.30 hours into the trek we reached Rohini Bugyal, we were supposed to have lunch here but there was no sign of stopping the rain. We sheltered under a tree, it’s still raining on us but we couldn’t resist our cravings any more and started eating. But wait, our adventure just doesn’t ends here. Before we start, 3 wild dogs were moving towards us.
It was terrible, we had to throw more or half of our food to them. Even doing all this, we got all the food spoiled in the rain so could eat a little only and started hiking again.
Trekking through hailstorm
To tell you, the trail was not difficult only the weather was making it. After 1 hour or so we trekked down all the way upto a bridge. The rain stops for a moment now but started again.
After half of hour of hiking, suddenly the hail began to fall. It was a thriller, and we couldn’t believe what else we’d experience in just a single day.
Imagine hiking on an extremely slippery trail in continuous rainfall for 6 hours without food, clueless as to when it would end. I was unable to walk anymore but with no other option, we had to.. I took a pain killer and kept walking through the hailstorm. Due to the hail, Anuj’s rain coat got torn.
We’re in the middle of nowhere, my mind started to regret the decision of this hike and I almost started crying on our condition.
Will it be the worst day of my life? Why I am doing this? Will it be our last trek? All these questions were running through my mind and I didn’t know the answer at that time, just crying into the pain…
After 1 hour of trekking through hailstorm it stopped for a moment. Walking a little further, we saw a glimpse of the road. Finally this crucial hike was about to over.
We walked further to the road and now could see the little sunshine, removed our rain gears and Manoj tried to capture our faces.
We had to walk a 1 km more but now all the negativity has gone away from my mind and I was filled with a feeling of accomplishment.
We eventually arrived at Chopta and filled our appetite. The hailstorm started again and continued for an hour. But now we were safe under a shelter 🙂
I couldn’t capture this trek properly due to continuous rains and hailstorm but whenever I will look back, I will realize how ambitious we were and I can proud on this 🙂