Why Kafni Glacier
- Magnificent views of the Himalayas
- Reaching two massive glaciers
- All-rounder trek
- Varied Himalayan flora and fauna
- Picture postcard perfect places
The next day morning we woke up groggily just to find out that the torrential rain has no sign of stopping. It had rained through the night and water seeped in the hall from the roof, which in turn wetted all our bags and everything inside it. Our blankets were also too damp to give us any comfort. It rained throughout the morning. The caretaker of the KMVN cottage cooked khichri for lunch and the hot meal was all that we wanted on that rain-soaked day. While we were having lunch in the kitchen with the caretaker, we heard about the Bombay flood on the radio. As we all know, in 2006 Bombay flooded dangerously during the monsoon. Upon hearing the news we realized that the rain here was an effect of the flood raging at Bombay.
All the small water creeks, which one could easily cross by simply a jump have taken the form of ferocious mountain streams which is capable of washing away anyone with it. All the mountainsides were filled with such creeks and now they are roaring down and almost threatening to drown and wash away Khatia.
We could see landslides happening in front of our eyes on the mountains surrounding us. There were even huge sparks from the friction of the big rocks falling in the landslide.
The loud cacophony of rocks crashing mixed with roaring streams and unstoppable rain filled our hearts with fear and coldness that we couldn’t shake off from our bones.
Every moment, every sound, every sight made our hearts skip a beat. All these scared us very much, especially me and my mother. That’s how our day ended, without us going anywhere except the kitchen and the hall.
The next day, the scenario and the situation remained the same. The day after that, the torrential rain lessened to a drizzle in the evening.
At around 4 p.m. the clouds cleared a little bit and we could see the Kafni glacier from Khatia. It was not that clear but better than the days we have seen. My father wanted to walk to Kafni glacier at that moment. We needed to walk 5 km to reach the glacier. Being cooped up for so long, our wish to see the glacier has only increased and that’s why we all started walking towards it in the evening itself. We had only walked 100 mts or so when we encountered a gushing waterfall over the trail and we needed to cross it in order to go any further. The task was next to impossible for amateurs like my mother and me and also for many experienced trekkers too, thus we had to return to our cottages from there with a heavy heart.
As it was our last evening there and the rain has also almost come to a stop, we ate and enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Early next morning, my father again attempted to reach the glacier along with Condi (our guide) but even though he could cross few waterfalls on the trail, he couldn’t cross the last stream to reach the glacier, he went quite close though.
That day we left Khatia and started walking towards Dwali. I felt bad for the caretaker who needs to be there through everything. I have mentioned before about the boulder zone and after this horrendous climate, the situation has only gone worse. For the full stretch of that 2.5 kms, we practically ran. The possibility of a landslide has increased now more than ever and we can’t afford to walk at a normal pace or stop to catch our breath, the only way to cross that boulder stretch was to run as fast and as carefully as we can. We also needed to make sure that we don’t step on an unbalanced rock cause a twisted ankle in that situation was not desirable. I crossed the whole section on our guide’s back and my father took my mother’s hand, led her way, and made sure she doesn’t stop. After we successfully crossed it, all of us rested for some time and caught our breath. Soon we reached Dwali.
This time, fortunately, we got a room and that too the best room at the KMVN lodge, it even had a balcony facing the Pindar Ganga river.
All our clothing item that was inside the bag was still drenched in the rainwater that seeped inside the hall. Also, the clothes we were wearing were almost wet.
It was a miserable condition and we were also too heartbroken as we had walked so many km to visit a glacier and just for a few more km we couldn’t. Feeling extremely disheartened we decided to start walking back the next day and aborted our plan to visit Pindari Glacier. At night we planned to stay at Dhakuri for a day or two and then return back home. The next day morning, as we were busy packing for our return, a group of Sainik School teachers reached the KMVN lodge. We got to talking, they told us that they are coming from Phurkia (the last point of habitation before Pindari Glacier). They were there during the time we were at Khatia and likewise, faced the wrath of the rain. Today morning, they visited Pindari Glacier and they were absolutely mesmerized. They were the ones who advised us that we should give it a thought and not return back that day. Motivated by them, we decided to start walking towards Phurkia (10,662 ft) that day only. Before we could start, we were surprised by the sight of the caretaker of Khatia’s KMVN lodge. He came down to Dwali because he also got much scared by the increasing water flow from all around and being left all alone after we left, he rushed back down the next morning. Phurkia was a short distance of 5 km and it took us around 2 hrs to reach Phurkia. Sadly my mother’s shoes were still wet from before and she had to walk the whole way in her sandals. The short trail was nothing short of a delight and in one word we can describe it as ‘green’.
There were many small waterfalls along the way.
The trail was moderately steep filled with an abundance of wildflowers and fruits.
As we climbed on, we noticed that the forest decreased and gave way to small shrubs. While we were walking, my dad suddenly asked me to look at the opposite hill and asked what was the white thing that was scattered all over it. At first glance, I thought it was puffed rice (muri) scattered all over the mountainside, then I realized that it is not possible, then I saw one moving! I was shocked and then my father told me that those were sheep, a herd of sheep, out for grazing but they were so far away that they looked minute.
The mountainside didn’t look too far but it was all an illusion, it was much much far and I cannot reach there by one jump as I thought.
We were accompanied by two teachers from a school at Konnagar (West Bengal), they were also visiting the Pindari glacier and tagged along with us but they could not match our pace and thus lagged behind. We reached Phurkia and were absolutely delighted. It was a small beautiful place surrounded by greenery.
We got a good room at the KMVN hut and had lunch made by the caretaker of that place. The food was nothing we have ever tasted before, it was literally heaven on a plate. The lunch was absolutely simple but better than any fancy food any day. We believed that he had magic in his hands.
Stay tuned for the next part to know if we got to visit the Pindari glacier or were we again faced with impossible hurdles.
(Some dates in the photos are mismatched due to some technical failure)
Other posts of the trip: Pindari and Kafni Glacier Trek❮ ❯