01 December 2010

Himalayas: hiking

Uttarakhand, India

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The women of Sari came up the mountain in the morning early morning light, passing our still lazy selves chatting. They headed into the forest ahead of us where they climbed the trees (in their saris) and collected wood for the household. We got up for breakfast and had hot water for washing. Luxuries abound! The lake had formed a thin layer of ice on the surface in places and I wondered again about the orange trees such a short distance away. After breakfast, we packed up our personal stuff and grabbed what we wanted to have with us for the day and followed the women into the forest.

Chaukhamba in the morning light
Chaukhamba in the well established morning light.

one of the smaller local trees
A small tree hanging over Deoria Tal. The growth pattern of the trees seems a bit odd, perhaps influenced by all the growth on them.

one of the villiage women high in a tree
Far ahead in the forest and high up, at least 100 feet, we spotted a couple of the village women cutting branches from the trees for firewood.

We walked through the forest the women were gathering wood from, continuing along the ridge line. The trees were tall and strangely bushy from bottom to top. We came to open spaces where we could look out over the valley below. There were cliffs on the south edge of the ridge line. Some sheltered spots were cold enough that the dirt of the trail was frozen near frozen puddles.

cliffside with updrafts
These raptors enjoyed the updrafts coming up the cliff side.

the valley Sari is in
The terraces on the mountains are like fingerprint ridges on the mountains.

distant snow covered mountains
Snow covered mountains out in the distance.

the goal
Chandershila, the final goal, rising up in the distance. A couple of raptors are still out on the thermals.

eagle in the sky
One of the eagles gliding around on the thermals.

the local cliff and the far off terraces
More of the terraces running on up and down the mountain from the road that snakes its way between.

ferns growing on the tree branches
Ferns growing all over the tree showing why they look oddly fuzzy all over.

a small shrine along the trail
A small shrine that was set up in the middle of the woods along the trail.

We started down into the canyon to cross over to camp, being set up outside Chopta. Again it was on the north slope of the mountain, so much cooler than it might have been. It was warm as we made our way down. At the bottom, I was pretty sure I'd got a blister, or at least had one trying to be, so got out the tape to treat it and try to keep my feet happy.

the ridge further along
Further up the canyon, it looks like there's a snow filled fissure.

log filled dry creekbed
A place for water to flow in wetter times.

bridge over the little bit of water
At the bottom, just a little bit of water to feed the huge river down below. We get to cross it on a bridge.

From the well shaded valley bottom, we had to climb again to get to camp. The trail down had been extremely steep but the trail up was pleasant enough. We crossed over another stream along the trail. We came to the road on a sharp curve and still had a short distance to go to the camp.

a white flower along the way
In the shallow water of the stream, there was a white flower. They always seem overexposed even when the picture time is drastically decreased.

tents set up on the hillside above the road
Camp for the night is set up not too far from the road.

Arriving at camp, we still had a little bit of light left. One small cloud was forming in the bowl of the peaks of one mountain, but otherwise the mountaintops were clear again.

snowy mountains
The mountains, a couple ridges away, looking crisp in the late afternoon sun.

a tall mountain making an attempt at weather control
Just one little cloud seen among the peaks large enough to generate their own weather system.

rock walls and traditional building
Just up the hill is a fairly traditional farmhouse that is only occupied in summer. Thatch roofs will be replaced come the next occupation. A little further and there are some less traditional homes.

orange sun falling below the hills
The sun goes into hiding again.

We had a big dinner and with the lighting of a big campfire, a fancy desert. More luxury before snuggling into our bags for bed again.

tents at camp
Tents at camp. On the left, the cooking tent where the guide and cook stayed as well as cooked. On the right, a tent for a dinning room. The fire is freshly lit.

On to day three ->

©2010,2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 10 May 2012

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