Trans Himalaya 2019 – Sonprayag to Guttu, May 28

After a full-day journey traveling in 3 share taxis from Mondal to Sonprayag through madening pilgrim traffic and dusty under construction ghat roads we finally settled down at Trijugi Nārāyan 2200m, a peaceful hamlet above the pilgrim madness at Sonprayag 1700m.From Trijugi Nārāyan there is a clear stone path that gradually climbs up through forest to Kyunkhola Khal 3500m. Periodically there are sign boards along the way. At 3350m there is an old shelter and a few ruins from the times this route was more frequently used. At higher altitudes one gets treated on pink, mauve and deep red shades of the rododendroms.Yellow and purple alpine flowers border the path. The peaceful silence of the virgin forest with the distance music of the stream marks a start contrast from the Yatra chaos in the valley below. Regular helicopters and jam packed roads bring in a constant stream of devotees. Closer to the pass and beyond it we cross several snow sections which are yet to melt in the summer sun.The snow clad peaks above Kedarnath span across the horizon. The other side of the pass follows a long gradual descent along a ridge. At 3300m there is the small hamlet of Panwali Kantha which has a small shop cum dhaba. After satisfying our growling stomachs we resume the long descend through beautiful green rolling hills.A bit further we enter the beautiful lower altitude forest, walking on a winding trail across a carpet of yellow brown leaves with the rays of the late afternoon sun peaking through the trees. Deep down below we see the first glimpse of our destination: Ghuttu town at 1600m, nearly a 2km drop from the pass.After a day filled with pleasing sunshine the evening showers kick in as we close in on our destination. By 7pm, another 12 hour day of climbing and descending, we reach the village of Ghuttu where I indulge in my favorite dish crispy deep fried mutton mommos.