I woke up as the warm morning sunrays pierced into my Bluebolt solo tent. I had to pack up super quick as the local farmer was approaching with two bulls and plough. I descended back to Saluni to the same dhaba where I had dinner.
I had enough of rottis and jaggery and ordered 6 aloo parathas: 2 for breakfast and 4 for the next 2 days. I went shopping for chocolates, peanuts and aloo bujia, my favourite snacks for the trail. By 8:30am I was ready for the next traverse.
This time I chose the ridgeline North of the Siul river valley. I estimated it would take me 2-3 days to reach back to Bhaderwah in Jammu district. As i was ready to go, a bus passed by and I eagerly jumped on it to skip a 5km road section.
I got down near Dhar village where a steep path hair pinned down into the gorge below. I crossed the Siul river at 1250m and had to climb up to my target ridgeline at 3500m. Initially it was a steep climb out of the valley passing several small hamlets on the opposite side.
I crossed the road twice at different levels on my way up. Higher up the valley the slope was less steep and took me through beautiful pine forest. Once in a while I quenched my thirst in a spring along the way. Above the last hamlet of Nachnoti I entered the open slopes.
A group of locals were digging a new pond to recharge the groundwater. A clear path took me onto the ridgeline which steadily climbing up through forest. In one place I lost the trail and climbed up through a steeper gully back to the ridge on top following a vague no longer used trail.
Once on top a clear trail appeared to come from a different approach. I continued along the nice path climbing up further to a first peak at 3500m. From here I had to leave the ridgeline as per the Survey map there was no trail ahead across 4 peaks and a very narrow ridgeline
I had to descend 350m to a lower Survey trail to bypass the ridge. It was a steep free soli descend through a gully between vertical rock faces. It was raining and the soil was slippery. I finally made it to flatter meadows below where I could continue to contour as per the map.
Towards the evening it started raining heavily and hailstones. I took shelter beneath a big tree indulging in a juicy mango I picked up at Saluni. Rain and wind at 2900m made it very cold. The skies were dark and I decided to call it even for the day.
I checked the Survey and found a deserted dwelling nearby. I opened one of the homes and found a cosy wooden bed of leaves inside. Out of the rain and cold wind I gobbled up one of my aloo parathas and settled down for the night.