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Miyar Valley trek(DIY)

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In July 2022 I approached Indiahikes with a request to attempt Miyar valley trek, DIY style, all by myself. Since it is a secluded trek, I was suggested I go parallel to a team so that in case of any emergency there is someone approachable on the trail.

A day before the trek I reached Manali where the DIY experience team helped me locate the basecamp at Manali where the DIY kit was packed and ready for me. After a thorough demonstration of how the kits work, I started from the basecamp to reach the meeting point for the trekkers of the team that was starting the trek with the same itinerary. With a shared cab ride we reached Udaipur and the next day after a quick breakfast in a dhaba we started for Khanjer, the starting point of the trek. We reached Shukto, the last village with any kind of homestay for tourists and took a jeep ride till Khanjer village, the starting point of the trek.

Day 1: Udaipur - Shukto - Khanjer - Yolling

At 1 pm, after a short briefing about the trek by the trek leader and guides, we started our ascent. I had decided Yolling as my first campsite, 2 km away from the first campsite for the other team, and had to reach there before 4 pm to avoid trekking in the dark. The campsite was as big as a few football fields combined. It was raining when I reached and in the process of pitching my tent, I got most of my gear wet. I made myself some hot soup and kadhi chawal and went to sleep at 7 pm itself. There was a heavy silence all around the tent with a few occasional groups of shepherds walking by.

Day 2: Yolling - Zardong

The next morning as I finished breakfast and was unpitching my tent, hundreds of sheep came walking from the mountainside, and along with them two dogs, running ferociously towards me. My immediate reaction was to try and contact the parallel team but as they got closer I figured I was worried for nothing. They were gently playing with my bag and waging their tails. That gave me a lot of reassurance that I have other friends on the trail. Further on as I was walking I met a lot of locals who were praying near a shrine. One of them, Mahipal ji, offered me cheeni roti and asked if I am liking this place better than my village. He even gave me a little extra to pack for the trail.

The next campsite was Zardong, a vast clearing right before a vast boulder section, which also had a shrine, called the rock temple. This was the shortest day of the trek, so I decided to do a recce of the river I was supposed to cross the next day. After pitching my tent and keeping my belongings inside I started the recce with a day pack. It was barely 3 km away and didn't take much time. It was drizzling all the way which made the water level increase a lot in the river. The view was a little daunting at first but I thought the next morning the flow may decrease. I came back by 5 pm and enjoyed the evening with a nice view, and hot soup in the company of mules that were carrying ration for the parallel team. 

Day 3: Zardong - Tharang - Summit push - Tharang

For any river stream in these regions, the flow of water changes with the time of the day. Early in the morning, it is colder but less rapid. I started at 6 am, after a light breakfast of upma and a few apples towards the river crossing. At 7am I reached the first stream. The water was ice cold, freezing my feet and every few seconds I had to take a rest on a boulder. The flow of water was different at different points and so was the length of the channel to cross I had to assess the risk with my trek pole at different points to finalize which way to cross. I managed to cross 3 out of 5 streams but the fourth stream was scary, with both the flow of water as well as the width of the channel more than the others. I informed the parallel team and waited for them to come by. As they arrived I learned how to attempt the crossing and was allowed to try it by myself. It was fairly easy as now I knew what to expect and what the technique was. I crossed the last stream and went ahead to the final campsite, reaching there by 1 pm.

I quickly unpitched my tent, picked dry fruits and apples in my day pack, and started for the summit. There were two more river streams to cross, but with the technique, even though they were more ferocious by now than the previous ones, I could manage to cross. Walking beside the Miyar river, trying to find the origin, and not having to cover a long distance, made this walk very quiet and joyful. I came across a section that looked like a high-altitude beach, a quicksand section, and towards a point where a narrow stream of water swirled away from the source of Miyar river. Finding the route through the boulders and the skrill was difficult and so I couldn't locate the source.  I had decided on 2:30 pm as my turnaround time because there were still two rivers to be crossed. 

Coming back as I crossed the final stream, I was crying for multiple reasons. For having covered the most difficult part, for not losing my footing, and for understanding how important it was to seek help. I reached the campsite by 4 and spent the evening chatting with the guides and the kitchen team of the parallel team, pitched on the same campsite, about their life stories and it was fascinating to know how they see life and money. 

Day 4: Tharang - Shukto

The longest day of the trek with over 25 km distance to cover, with the sun high up, a low supply of water, a broken bridge, and a changed route because of a shift in water channels. I reached Shukto at 9:30 pm looking for Aunty ji ka homestay. Looking back I feel I could have spent more time on the trail. There was no one taking note of how soon I finished the trek and in the whole process, I also forgot to look at the beautiful sky. 

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