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Monday, May 28, 2007

Milam Glacier Trek Part 4 - Bagudiyar to Martoli

Day 4

the next morning, we were woken up with bed tea. i went out and it was clearer now. now, since u don't have toilets, u need to go outside in the open. yuckk. so i will not write anything much about it except the following: if u need to go out in bagudiyaar, there r some good places behind the rocks where the landslide has occurred. carry one large roll of toilet paper for the trek. squat on the slope with ur bottoms facing the downward side (valley) and ur face facing the upward side (hill). now u shld brush ur teeth and get ready. one of the smallergals was very inquisitive about us. so i took her snaps, gave her some magazines and some candies and soem glucon-d. if nayone is going on this route next time, u can get some chocoltes for her. we decided ot have our breakfast at another place which is about 2 kms ahead. lots n lots of steps on the way. and in the end u have to climb a lot. now the vegetation starts changing. less trees and more of grass. u r pretty hungry by the time u reach the dhabah. soban ram had started walking faster so that he could go n give the orders. we had paranthas at hte dhabah. as we were having them, mr. martolia and the doc came up. mr. martolia had a nice stock of home made kajus with him, which i gobbled up whenever offered :-). after this dhabha coems a place called nahar devi. there is a small temple over here. we ran into a heard of sheep comig from the opposite side. so we had to stop n let the sheep pass. they r pretty harmless despite their huge horns. now, in wonters the snow freezes over everything. at the bottom of the valey, there is the maximum amount of snow since it is difficult for the sunlight to reach over here. so after nahar devi, there were some patches where there was lots n lots of snow, almost 9 to 10 feet, even more. and it was very very hard n frozen. now, another small adveture looms ahead. see, the snow freezes over the gori river. but at a place, the river has almost cut a tunnel through the snow. now, u can't walk over this patch of snow becaause there is a tunnel below it. if u walk above it, the snow might break becoz of the tunnel below it not providing enough support. so u have to go through the tunnel. stop before entering the tunnel andtake ashort break to gather your energy reserves. say a short prayer. there will be water dripping from the ice at all places, so better cover your head with your jacket. now run through to the other end. if, by miistake, a dripping rod of ice breaks and falls on u, dude, nothing can save u. so just run to the other side without stopping. it is pretty small, but running at this height is a bit tough. we took a break on the other side. this snow tunnel is like a gateway to the interiors of the johar region. now there is a big big big climb after this snow tunnel - one of the biggest on the trip. u climb up, up, up and even more up. and that also on a near vertical rock face. hats off to the ppl who made this road. it was a pretty tiring trip all the way up. but the views were very good. u could see the clouds at the smae level as u on the hill face on the other side of the river. there was a narrow stream of clouds blowing across upriver. so it seemed as if these clouds were following us or giving us comapny on our trek. i took snaps of everyone at the top. then i was told that we have to go down again. aaaahhh...i was a bit disappointed on hearing that, but life is like that. there r both ups n downs n u have to face them (in this case, climb them). now the path goes down, but not as steeply as u came up. there were many shephards and sheep camping in the slopes. pretty soon, we reached the lapang gad (gad = river). it was a fast flowing stream coming from lapang glacier and meeting the gori ganga. there was a wooden bridge to cross it. we took some snaps and rested for a moment. in the meantime, the other kids whom i had met yesterday night at bagudiyar (those who were drinkin) came and caught up with us. they then turned left and started climbing the hill. they were proceeding towards lapang village. most of these villages are scantily populated, but during the nanda devi mela, ppl start making their way up to the villages. there r lots of ceremonies over here at this time of the year. after some more ups and dows, the path goes down and meets the river bank. the vegetation is now mostly grassy and not many trees around. but still the totally grass covered slopes also look very beautiful. it's like god's own garden. then you climb up and reach reilkot. it is here that u can have some lunch. but forst, register yourself at the itbp igloos. then proceed to the small dhabha. there is a small flat space where reilkot is located. and the slopes are totally covered with green grass and do loook so serene, peaceful and relaxing. the gori river flows with great force and cuts through the hills like a hot knife through butter. so there is a sheer drop from the plateau of reilkot to the river below. same on the other side of the hill. you could see many sheep on the opposite hill. i and soban ram decided to lie on the grass outside. it was really wonderful, with a gentle wind blowing in your face and huge mountains towering all over. one of the local dogs got a bit friendly/inquisitive and decided to come and sniff all over us. unfortunately we did not have any biscuits for him at that time. the martolias decided to have their lunch first since they had decided to go all the way to burfu. then it was our turn to hog. finally, it was time to leave and we were on our way again.
there is a steep climb again after reilkot. this one is also pretty big. plus, i guess that at this altitude, it becoems a bit tougher to climb up. after many huffs puffs and pants, i reached the top of another plateau. from now on the path is pretty much flat and level. there is a totally deserted village in the plateau, with its houses in ruins. the villages of tola and sumdu can be seen on the other side of the river. there is a path that climbs right up and u can go to ralam village via that. it was now getting a bit dark and we went on walking. there were many sheep on the way. finally we reached the village of martoli. took a moments rest before entering the village. the hill top is shaped like a very sharp triangle. ganga knew many ppl in the village - after all, he was also a native of this village. we decided to stay in one of the shephard's huts for hte night. there r 2 floors. the ground floor is for the kitchen and keeping the animals. we stayed witht he family in the 1st floor. they were : 2 ladies, one gentleman and one youg guy. he was very friendly and talkative. had just come from a trip to sischen and nubra valley. he was there on a temporary assignment. for dinner, we had the best rotis on earth. they are made from jowar grown in the fields here, and as very thick and tatsy. yummy. u will not find such rotis anywhere else. hence the name of the region is johar valley. after dinner, we paid a visit to one of the *hotels* in the village. there were soem other ppl also staying over there and a small meeting of the villagers was gong on. the next day was nanda devi mela so they were planning everything. pretty soon, we returned to our hut and dozed off. while walking in the village i noticed that everything was so pitch black and silent - big change from the nights in delhi or kozhikode.

a small peak above Bagudiyar

ice caves on the way, we had to go under them

relaxing after crossing this ice cave

Ganga Ram about to enter the ice cave

chunks of ice on the way

the roaring gori ganga river

dinner at martoli ...... or whatever is left of it :-)

sheeps grazing and staring at a new visitor

green meadows on the way to martoli village

crossing a high pass on the way to rilkot

walking with the clouds

approaching martoli village

a small waterfall on the way

looking at the other side of gori ganga river, towards the tola village

leaving rilkot behind

some wonderful looking dogs at the rilkot guest house....

rilkot..relaxing in the lap of mother nature

having some lunch at rilkot

rilkot...a very peaceful place

some itbp huts at rilkot

gori ganga river at rilkot

going towards rilkot

gori ganga river

this is a medicinal herb (divya aushadhi)....used to clean ur stomach

the clouds come in

crossing the lapang gad....lapang village is a few kilometres above this

taking a break on the lapang gad

group photo, with my guide, soban ram, mr. tolia, his cousin and their porters

a waterfall in the distance

phew, got tired after climbing all this...

walking with the clouds....

gotta climb all this....

taking some pics while breakfast is being made

crossing some snow fields

traffic jam at nahar devi

small temple at nahar devi, where u havbe to pray before passing on

nahar devi...the gori ganag valley is very narrow over here

the tolias join us for breakfast

heading towards where food is being cooked

beyond bagudiyar

cute lil gal, daughter of the guest house in bagudiyar

a shephard at bagudiyar


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