Next target in my 3 months Trans Himachal exploration was a nice loop mid way inside the Dhauladhar range. Plan was to hike upstream the Channi Khad towards the Bagga temple at the base of the Gaj pass, proceed West over a small saddle towards Kareri lake at the base of the Minkiani pass. Finally hope into the neighbouring Baleni Nallah valley and exit downstream via Salli village.
After a peaceful night below the pagoda at Dal lake we climbed up to Naddi village where we swapped a few gears at our base camp. We packed up some fried mutton mottos and chowmin for our planned 2 day traverse and were on our way. From Naddi a small rock path descends into the river valley which flows down from Laka Deep at the base of the Indrahar pass.
The path passes through the small hamlet of Gatadu and crosses the river to the opposite side and hops across the ridge into the Channi Khad valley. We meet a solo hiker from Mumbai who is on his way to Kareri lake navigating his way using Maps.Me, a popular Open Street Maps based app. Most people follow the touristic route from Kareri village through the Nyund river valley towards Kareri lake.
We separate ways at Rava village where we cross over a bridge into the Channi Khad river valley. A second hanging bridge gets us across the Bhated Khud side valley also flowing down from Laka deep to the final farming hamlet of Dhradka. We treat ourselves on two yummy cornetto ice creams in a small shop. A nice rock path with stone steps climbs up along the right side of the Channi Khad till a hydro power plant.
Water gets diverted higher up the river and dropped down steeply through a big metal pipe onto the turbines to generate power for the local region. The pipe is ice cold carrying the freezing melt water from the snow covered Dhauladhar above. The rock path now enters a lush green forested valley and passes by a small mandir called Parala Mata where we meet an elder couple in traditional local clothing.
A bit further upstream we meet an elder lady at the trail head which leads to Deep Got, a remote dwelling on the saddle above, seperating the neighbouring Bhated Khud valley on the East. She invites us for a cup of tea but we kindly excuse as the time is already running late to reach our destination for the day. Further upstream we cross another place where stream water gets diverted into a rock tunnel to the hydro power plant below.
We now cross the stream to the left side and enter into a side valley which leads to the saddle that separates the Nyund valley to the West. Going straight would have led us to the Bagga temple at the base of the Gaj pass. After a short while we reach an unknown isolated dwelling, half in ruins, with two rock homes still in tact.
One of the homes is in use by an elder gentleman herding cows in the surrounding meadows. Above the hamlet a shepherd has put up his camp grazing his sheep in the bugyals above. I missed to mention that meanwhile two dogs had been giving us company all along the way. One joined us from the mommo shop at Naddi and one joined at the bridge at Rava village.
The shepherd treated us on two cups of chai prepared with fresh goat milk and yummy rottis for both us and our two four legged companions. The isolated dwelling was settled in an open space in the valley at 2300m offering mesmerizing views on the high ranges of the Dhauladhar above. Sheep and goat where gathering above the dwelling preparing to settle for the night.
We checked out the second rock home in the dwelling which appeared to be in good condition and decided to settle down here saving us time not to pitch up the tent. We lit up a small fire to keep the place warm as the night temperatures were dropping fast post sunset. Both dogs settled around the fire in opposite corners of the room, the soothing sound of the stream nearby.
Later at night we ventured into the cold outside to admire the star dubbed night skies. Playing around with the long exposure camera of the OnePlus Nord we could capture the firmament beautifully above the orange glow of the fire in our cosy rock shelter. The snow clad peaks of the Dhauladha were touching a myriad of bright stars in the skies above.