Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh has all that Himachal offers; scented air, blue skies, white peaks, tall trees but it is heavily touristy as well. His holiness Dalai Lama also calls it home and you get a heady cocktail of people. Everywhere. To make it off beat or to say customise it to our palate was not that difficult. We threw some ancient ruins and a high altitude trek to Kareri Lake in the itinerary. The base was of course touristy Mcleodganj, which offers delightful people watching time and tasteful food to make for its hopelessly crowded space.
The Kareri lake trek is usually done as a two-day trek, with first day halt at Kareri village, and next day at Kareri lake itself. The lake is situated at an altitude of approx 3000 metres in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, and we had to start trekking from Satobari village which sits at an altitude of 1700 mts; thus the total gain in altitude was 1300 mt which was not a mean feat as the youngest trekker for this trip was only seven-year old.
I requested Mr Arvind Sharma, our tour enabler, to make it a three-day trek keeping in view that we were to do it with kids and we too did not want to just finish it; we wanted to know about the vegetation, do bird watching en route and of course play in the streams and Niyund river as and when, and as much as kids wanted.
Mr Arvind Sharma suggested the following plan:
Day 1. Trek from Satobri village(1700 mtr /5600 ft mtr) to Kareri village (2500 mtr/ 8000 ft); night in a home stay at Kareri Village.
Day 2. Kareri village to Liyoti Campsite along Niyund river; camping at Liyoti Campsite
Day 3. Liyoti Campsite to Kareri Lake (3000mtr/ 9600 ft); camping at Kareri Lake.
Day 4. Descend from Kareri lake to Kareri village
Before a month from the proposed trek, kids were put in a routine to climb up and down seven floors every day, besides their usual playing routine. We also increased our on foot time in the park besides climbing up and down the stairs. A week before the departure, every night, instead of the bed time stories, we talked about all the wonderful and new things we will do and for that we will have to walk a lot everyday. Kids dreamed of snow and camping and were very positive before our departure.
I cleared all of my doubts about the difficulty of climb, food and shelter before finalising the trek. Mr Arvind Sharma proposed to have an exclusive guide for younger one. This advise proved a great help during the trek, of which you will read in coming posts.
I will be detailing about the trek day wise in upcoming posts. While day one ended on an ominous note, day two brought unexpected adventure. Day three took us to our destination, while day four was when everything ended well. All enjoyed this trekking expedition so very much that kids have been demanding more such trekking trips.
difficulty: Moderate. T2 on Swiss Alpine Club Scale (SAC)
Max Elevation: 3000 mts.
Weather: Fickle due to its being close to Dhauladhar Range.