A Hatrick with Rupin Pass
The mountains are calling and I must go. I stared at my t-shirt that was saying this out loud to me. It was that time of the year when I gave up the comforts of my city life and home and went trudging up some Himalyan slopes for some peace, quiet, and stunning beauty. It had become addictive and this was the third consecutive year that I was going trekking.
The choice of trek was by chance. For me it was only Taarak a.k.a. the one-man army of Roads and Journeys with whom I wanted to trek. Again. The diverse and like-minded set of people I met every year always delighted me. Moreover, the group sizes were apt – small enough to be effective and large enough to be fun. He knew his stuff and he knew it well. That’s all that mattered to me. Moreover, a few people I’d made friends with on earlier treks too were converging for this one. And I’m glad that my 2018 saw Rupin Pass.
The trek is along the river Rupin and one treks along its course right up to the Upper Waterfall. The trek starts in Uttarakhand and ends in Himachal Pradesh. The views change everyday. As one ascends, the topography sheds layers – first of civilization and then of trees, then some oxygen, till one is amidst high mountains, alpine vegetation, and snow. The journey is meditative – as one focuses on breath, balance, and soaks in pristine beauty that becomes commonplace after the first day.
Every campsite of this trek is along the river, which implies that there is a constant water source for cooking, cleaning and washing. I took every opportunity to dip my feet in the flowing river, except at the higher campsites where it’s freezing. On the first two days, we all got into the water after we reached the campsite. While the water is inviting, it’s cold (read: single digit temperatures less than 5). However, it’s refreshing and relieves one of any aches and pains one might have developed over the day.
Spontaneity defined the high moments of this trek for me. These were always rewarding experiences – an un-scheduled stop to take a dip in a waterfall en route Jiskun, a fun game of kabaddi with local kids at a school we randomly walked into, an adventurous short trek braving the rain and cold to see the Lower Waterfall at Dhanderas Thatch, a challenging climb on boulders to reach the top of a hill whose base we were camping at. Be sure to arm yourself to with an open mind, a spare pair of swim shorts and a raincoat to indulge in these activities!
While the trek is challenging, it is well paced, and provides for recovery from its rigour with relatively shorter and easier walks interspersed amongst the longer ones. Wild mountain flowers, grassy plains, and birds of various types kept me hooked. The pass lies on a traditional shepherd route and we often encountered flocks of sheep herded by nomads.
All in all – be prepared for an adventurous, challenging, scenic and fun trek – Rupin has all of this and more!