Absence of snow at Auli had a silver lining to it. We could go for small treks around the place with our normal trekking shoes. The easiest trek was just 1.5 km, to R.R Point, an army communication center.
From R.R point one could see the Hemkunt range and the Valley of flowers enveloped in clouds far away. Immediately below is a village, which is shaped like the map of India.
India map village against rhododendron flowers blooming in February
Gorson Bugyal 3.5km
Many ventured on this trek as Gorson meadow had a patch of hard snow where one could get basic lessons in skiing.
Gorson from the hotel
Bharati, a black dog and Sheru a brown dog faithfully accompanied us on all treks. In the pic below, Sheru waits patiently for the tekkers to catch up while Bharati is following us close on the heels. The feeling of oneness with nature one experiences on treks is reinforced by these two best friends of man.
Sheru and Bharati
This trek is indeed beautiful. A temple called “Padiyar Devta’greets you half way up the climb.
As we near Gorson point, one is within reach of the snow clad peaks.
The Forest Trek- 4km
This trek through steep golden oak forest is rated as difficult-mainly because the climb is continiuosly steep without plain resting spots. It is made tougher these days since one has to climb up the ski slopes- now being shorn of grasses and bushes thanks to the bull dozer razing through it many times to create the artificial ski slope.
As we neared the golden oak trees, we saw some with huge cavernous holes ( Black bears sleep there, our guide informed). Fresh diggings in the mud were attributed to wild boar. Distant trees moved with the weight of animals or birds flying about-monkeys or Himalyan monals? Here is the lichen with which monals make nests on trees, our guide showed a clump on the ground
As we moved down I collected a few branches of golden oak leaves. The trees marked with the "death warrants" continue to haunt me when I look at these leaves dried but golden, weeping silently in my vase.
More on the destruction of the forest in my next blog!