Trekkers Brave Heavy Snow to Complete the Season’s First Trek to Ali Bedni Bugyal
Today I’m writing this note with great satisfaction inside, with a lot of happiness, and above all with a lot of Pride in my heart.
Yesterday, our 17th January Ali Bedini Team has returned to our Lohajung Basecamp after the successful completion of the Trek.
Maybe it sounds like the returning of any other Indiahikes Trekking Group after the completion of the Trek. But somehow it was not just a return of a team, but a lot more than that.
Yesterday, at Lohajung Basecamp, we are fortunate enough to witness a story & incident of courage, mental toughness, and indomitable spirit to maintain the highest professionalism of Indiahikes.
A little bit of background story:
A few days back a 5 members Recce team started their journey from Lohajung for making a recce & opening the route for the Grand Ali Bedini Trek. They faced a lot of challenges throughout their recce for a huge amount of snow on their entire way. When the Team came back to the basecamp after recce, we were shocked to know the amount of snow & challenges they faced on the recce & thought that may be our 17th Jan Ali Bedini Trek will not be completely successful as going beyond ABIN KHARAK( second campsite) & camp at GHEROLI PATAL will not be not possible at all.
So, on the planning part, we were very much confused about what to do with the trek as we were not only worried about Trekker’s experience but also about the successful operation of the Trek from Lohajung Slope.
After a discussion with Arjun Sir & Nayana, we decided that we will take Trekkers to Bedni by camping at Didna ( 1st campsite) and Abin Kharak (2nd campsite).
We will camp there at Abin Kharak campsite for 2 nights and will bring Trekkers down by the same route of Didna village. The priority was to show Trekkers at least the majestic snow-covered meadow of Ali and Bedini Bugyal which is Asia’s one of the largest meadow.
To camp at Gehroli Patal ( 3rd campsite) and to go beyond Bedini towards Gehroli Pataal didn’t come to our mind not a single time as it was not possible at all at this kind of huge snow.
6 Trekkers – 4 males and 2 females. This was the first high-altitude Himalayan trek for four of them.
Trek Leader – Mrinal.
Head Cook – Harpal Da,
Campsite Incharge – Praveen Lala
Helpers – Gaur Singh, Nagendra, Pankaj.
Guides – Deepak and Viru Paaji.
Horsemen – Kuwar Gaaji and two other mulemen
What Happened on the Trek:
Our Ali Bedini Team camped at Didna village and according to the plan started their journey to ABIN KHARAK campsite. This, despite getting huge snow on the way.
The team couldn’t pitch the tent at Abin Kharak because of the huge snow. So they stayed in two forest huts for the night.
The team couldn’t get the water resource even after searching a couple of times. They melted the snow and collected water for cooking and drinking. That’s how they survived the night at Abin Kharak.
It seemed okay up to the second campsite of Abin Kharak. But during the night our staff decided that they will give a try to camping at Gheroli Patal as per to the Itinerary.
To execute this, we planned to bring the mules from Didna to the Gheroli side to Abin Kharak. This route was low, charted just for the mules. Trekkers were slated to take the route via Bedni Bugyal.
We planned our movement and the team broke into three sub-teams:
1) One team went to open the route to bring the mule towards Abin Kharak.
2) Second Team with the Trek Leader and Guides took trekkers towards Bedni Bugyal.
3) Third team packed the equipment.
Major Challenges and How the Team Overcame Them:
The biggest problem was to bring the mules upto Abin Kharak. It was impossible because of 4 feet of snow. 1 km away from Abin Kharak, the mulemen had to take a call to turn back.
The information was passed from Team 1 to Team 3.
On getting the news, Team 3, while packing the equipment decided to carry the heavy equipment for 1 km on their shoulder to reach the mile point.
So 5 staff along with 3 mulemen completed 4 rounds of to and fro to transport all the equipment. They were carried all the equipment through 4 feet of snow. Snow was coming to the waist Level all the time, sometimes even to their chest level.
On the other hand, communication was not reaching to Lohajung Basecamp from TL Mrinal, she called TL Kanishq who was at Brahmatal Trek & asked him to inform the Base for a certain communication to pass to the Horsemen from the Base. We immediately pass the message after getting communication from TL Kanishq from Brahmatal. Later We communicated with TL Mrinal also via Walkie Talkie and got a detailed update.
The team also faced bad weather. There was snowfall and whiteout. This made the movement even more difficult.
After putting in a lot of effort, the team reached Gheroli Pataal in two different ways.
But after reaching Gheroli Pataal, our kitchen staffs faced the same problem as Abin Kharak to make the toilet hole & put the toilet tent. They had to remove 4 feet of snow to put the toilet tent.
What Trekkers Took Away
In the debriefing, trekkers not only appreciated the Entire Team’s efforts but also mentioned that they are taking back sustainability along with them. They talked about that value and honesty we always carry in our organisation is exceptional .
I was happy to listen to trekkers’ takeaway and learning from the trek.
They said, “Yes, Trek has a great transformative power”.
Today after hearing all these incidents from staff and trekkers, my heart was overwhelmed.
So in the end, I would say…with all these incidents, We (Team Lohajung) are not only happy but feeling proud today after the completion of our season’s 1st Ali Bedini Bugyal Trek.
I’m overwhelmed by the performance by our team over here at Lohajung towards maintaining a high level of professionalism and showing courage against odds, I’m sharing the stories with you all.