It was a warm and comfy night at the primary govt school at Kheta. A road construction JCB woke us up at day break. We packed up and descended to a small road side bakery for some bread buns and sweets to kick start the day. We climbed up a small path into the grass lands above Kheta. It took some time before we got onto a proper path in sync with the Survey map.
The steep ascent continues till we hit 2100m on top of a flat ridgeline above Kheta where we pass a single farm home. From here a wide path contours Northwest along the valley slope towards the hamlet of Manmatti along the stream high up the side valley. The path nearly contours horizontally through beautiful lush green forest. We pass one more small settlement along the way.
At Manmatti we cross the stream and a kind gentleman invited us into his traditional home for a cup of black tea. Two furry black puppies are playing outside soaking up the morning sun. From here we cross the stream once again and climb up initially steep until a wide forest path gradually contours towards the Dani Khal pass at 2800m, a 1300m climb above Kheta near the Pindari river. Mid way we pass a small settlement of two homes.
We take a late breakfast break at the pass – jaggery mixed with fruits and nuts while soaking up the late morning sun overlooking a small lake. From the pass the path proceeds East on top of the ridgeline until it contours North towards a second pass into the Kali Ganga river valley. From the pass the path gradually descends into the valley through the first Hamlet of Sarmata. A friendly elder gentleman invites us for a cup of tea with biscuits. He farms medicinal herbs and gives us a sample (kutaki) for the road ahead.
We continue our descend to the road side village of Ghes where we have a late lunch in the one and only dhaba. From Ghes a path drops down into the Kali Ganga river valley (1800m) to cross over to the hamlet of Pinau on the opposite side. An steel cable cart powered by a generator is used to transport goods and people across the river. A temporary bridge allows us to cross the river as the cart appears to be in disuse.
A clear path hair pins up on the steep opposite side and starts contouring South towards the hamlet of Pinau where a handful of homes cling to the mountain slope. We meet two gentlemrn carrying a big shotgun on their way back from hunting. They immediately invite us to stay over at the hamlet as there is nothing ahead for 18km. Soon the temperature starts dropping at the wind exposed slope of 2100m.
The locals are playing caram board at the closed primary school. A kind family living in a beautiful large heritage home host us in a nice cosy guest room. Comfy beds, hot tea, yummy home grown lunch and a peaceful night rest 400m above the Kali Ganga river below. The evening sky is slowly turning deep orange as the sun slowly sets in the West. Yet another beautiful traverse through interior valleys from Pindari to Kali Ganga across 25km with a total 1800m climb.