After completing our Bona to Sungdom traverse across 3 passes around the Panchchuli range it was a long travel back to Mathkot. We hitched 4 rides in a a jeep, share taxi, car and van to reach back to base through the Sharda and Goriganga river valleys. We reached Mathkot around 4pm and indulged in chowmin and mommo’s. We decided to get outside this road side town and camp further ahead in a village.
We crossed the Goriganga river and climbed up 400m to the hamlet Imla. It was dark by the time we reached and a group of drunk locals who started questioning us as to the purpose of our visit. Sensing a non friendly atmosphere we moved on in the dark climbing 200m further up to a single home where s nice family took us in. Hot tea, followed by rottis and green salty chutney and a comfortable overnight stay in a warm room below thick blankets.
Our host woke us up at day break with steaming hot chai as the sun was rising above the snow covered ranges of Panchchuli on the opposite side of valley. We bid adieu to our host and continued our way along a nice rock path contouring up above the Goriganga valley. From the forest we entered the hamlet of Chamle where the locals invited us for yummy black tea with jaggery and had our samosa’s for breakfast packed up from Mathkot.
We enjoyed the warm rays of the sun after an initial cloudy morning. After Chamle a beautiful rock path contours up gradually through the forest till it hits an unnamed 2750m high pass. We heard the sound of shepherds grazing nearby. There s a small mandir at the pass from where we get into the Bhuipatti Gad river valley. The upper valley is virgin forest with an isolated dwelling a few hundred meters the pass.
A nice rock path drops from the dwelling into the valley below, initially steep and then contours gradually down to the hamlet of Kota Malla. There s a large landslide just to the side of the hamlet. We touch the road head which leads us to a small shop where we have Maggie for lunch. From here we descend to the Bhuipatti Gad river through a cobbled path. We cross over and climb up steeply on the other side to the hamlet of Talla Tumera. A new road being built has nearly reached the settlement.
The local villagers gathered on a roof playing cards invite us over for lunch. Freshly prepared chaval and dhal is served with genuine hospitality. We thank them and continue our way up along a small rock path through picturesque green step plantations dotted with yellow flowers. We cross over the ridge at the hamlet of Malla Tumera where a narrow rock path runs along a massive vertical rock face offering mesmerizing views on the opposite valleys full of terrace farms.
The rock path climbs up and down along the near vertical rock slope with breath taking views on the valley down below. The path takes us to the hamlet of Samkot Malla which is taken straight out of a fairy tale. Green terrace farms, yellow flowers, traditional homes spread across, friendly people and … a road head. We pitch up our tent in the farm lands above the hamlet late afternoon.
After blogging for the day we head out after dusk back to the road side dhabas for dinner. We gather around a small, warm fire in the cold night while the lady prepares super tasty aloo sabji with rottis. Absolute silence in the hamlet nested in the corner of the valley. Tummies full we head back up to our campsite where we dream off beneath the stars