Wonderful sleep on a big hay bed inside a rock shelter at Dhakuri hamlet at 2300m altitude. Woke up as the sun was rising above the Eastern high ranges. We resumed our way up the wide rock steps towards the Dhakuri pass at 2900m. A touristic pathway built with periodic shelters, benches and sign boards leading to the Pindari glacier. On the way we met a group of local ladies walking in the opposite direction.
Part of the path was covered in frozen snow on the North facing slope leading into the Pindari valley. Mid way to the base village of Kharkiya there was a larger complex of buildings for night rest and food towards tourists, now completely deserted during winter. The rock path was gradually hair pinning down through beautiful forest into the majestic Pindari river valley. High above the snow capped peaks of the Southern Nanda Devi section.
Before Kharkiya we left the path into a trail contouring left inside the valley through a few remote settlements and eventually joining the road towards Badiyakot. The road contours through small hamlets on the valley slope above the Pindari river. Not a single vehicle passed us during the entire road traverse. We dropped into a small dhaba on one of the road turnings where we got served excellent lunch: paratha with spinach sabji and chowmin.
We continued along the peaceful road crossing the Pindari river through a bridge towards Badiyakot. We short cut the road through a nice pathway leading us to Kilbara where a new road was built high above the Pindari river along a steep rock face causing huge landslides and scarring the landscape. Where the road was heading into the side valley we entered into an old rock pathway descending back into the Pindari river valley along a steep ridgeline.
At this place the Pindari river valley is completely virgin with lush green forest and no settlements in a narrow, deeply cut valley. The trail continues along the right side (downstream) above the river in no man’s land till the first Hamlet of Harmal, a picturesque settlement surrounded by terrace farms above the river banks. A clear path continues along the valley slope above the Pindari river crossing a side valley at the village of Chothing where a kind gentleman offers us lemon tea on his terrace overlooking the Pindari valley in late afternoon.
Unable to make contact with the home base for the last 4 days and having not reached any network zone yet we push forward to the road head village of Kheta by evening. We get treated on a beautiful sunset above the Pindari valley as we hit the road. The BSNL tower at Kheta appears to work intermittently and it takes me a while to get through finally. Electronics are charged after two days.
After a 35km stretch with 900m elevation gain through the beautiful upper Pindari river valley we settle down in a small road side dhaba and indulge in a sumptuous dinner. Many locals inquiry on our night stay eager to offer a room on rent. We kindly deny and settle down for the night in the primary School of Kheta. Before sleeping I blog the proceedings of the day and plan the next traverse towards the Kali Ganga valley flowing from Wan.