In the world of treks, we find ourselves drawn and being led to climb up and make our way to high-altitude summits, putting our efforts in to be led to an alpine lake or even through meandering meadows. Mostly, treks lead us to some beautiful sights amongst all these. One of the rarer geological features that has trekkers setting out on foot is a ridge. Not for any particular reason except I think the sheer lack of accessibility of such treks.
Ah, so, what’s a ridge, you ask? It’s a continuous path connecting one mountain to the other, i.e., a path where two sides of a mountain meet. The draw of a summit is to reach a challenging top and soak in its view but one gets to do that just for a little while because at most summits it wouldn’t e safe for you to stay longer. This is where the draw of a ridge trek comes in, not to say summits are any lesser because of course, they make for the memory of a lifetime, it is just to say that nature offers us many wonders in different forms. And, the one of a ridge trek is such that you can gaze at the view from the top for hours! Through the day as you progress, you’ll have the overlooking mountains in your sights for as long as you please, making for quite the rare treat!
Within the already rare ridge treks, one of the most promising ones is the Phulara Ridge Trek in Uttarakhand. Further enhancing the attraction to this trek is the fact that you get to explore vast and green meadows, dense forests and even sight some birds if you’re lucky. Now if you decide to head for this trek, here’s chalking out a rough plan and telling you what you can expect in it.
How to reach: Fly down to Dehradun or take a train till Dehradun and from there board a local bus or taxi till the village of Sankri.
Best time to trek/visit: April to June, September to November
Duration: 6 days
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Altitude: 12,171 ft.
Trek route: The route will of course depend on what you decide with your local trekking guide, but possible options include:
Dehradun – Sankri – Sikolta – Bhoj Gaddi – Phulara ridge – Pushtara – Taluka – Sankri – Dehradun
Day 1: Dehradun to Sankri
Altitude – 6,397 ft.
Approximate Distance – 187 kms (by drive)
Firstly, you shall have to arrive in Dehradun which is well-connected to most major cities. After arriving in Dehradyun your journey commences towards the village of Sankri which is the key starting point of a number of treks in Uttarakhand. Some of the most popular ones include the trek to Kedarkantha and Har Ki Dun. The one you’re headed to is quite the offbeat one in comparison. Channel that excitement as you cover Day 1’s journey which will take approximately 8 – 9 hours.
Day 2: Sankri to Sikolta
Altitude – 9,300 ft.
Approximate Duration – 5 – 6 hours
Pine forests shall be your new best friends through the course of the trek as you two will become attached at the hips! So, as your new friend and you make your way through this day, you will also be making the acquaintance of birds every now and then. This is their land that you are visiting, so, be gentle as you see them and observe them revelling in their lifestyle in the wilderness. In this manner, you will pass through multiple clearings and even get your first glimpse of the Phulara Ridge. Say hello and then as off you go, you will be joined by a ridge to your right and lofty mountains to your left. All this and more are the true joys of trekking, right? How it isn’t just about making it to the top but also so much about the trail that takes you to there, unfolding little pieces of itself for you to explore along the way?
Day 3: Sikolta to Bhoj Gaddi
Altitude – 11,155 ft.
Approximate Duration – 4 – 5 hours
On this day, you will first make start off by making a steep ascent which then leads you to another clearing. And, this time, this clearing, if visited in the right seasons, is a bed of flowers spread all around it. Their colours and delicate forms all laying across the land they call home. As you proceed further, you will also be rewarded with the sight of the peak for which so many travel across India for one visit, Kedarkantha, a famous winter trek. Take a few minutes to observe it and its might. Then you step through a meadow of bhoj trees which leads you towards your campsite for the night.
Day 4: Bhoj Gaddi to Phulara Ridge and then, Pushtara
Altitude – Phulara Ridge (12,127 ft.), Pushtara (9,500 ft.)
Approximate Duration – 6 -7 hours
Today is the much-awaited day! Your campsite already starts to tease you with the outline and glimpses of the ridge. And, as you eagerly yet steadily make your way, you find yourself there. A stretch of land with mountains and peaks everywhere you look! The more you’ll walk, the more something will tug at your heart to stop because every angle presents a view in itself. Kedarkantha is once again in your sight but joining it are Bandarpooch, Swaroghini, Vijay Top, Ranglana, Baraadsar, Lekha Top and Devkyara Valley. In fact, the locals maybe able to make you spot more too if the skies are clear! For mountain lovers this is quite a magical sight as it seems as if a fence of peaks has formed all around you. Start well in time so that you can spend sometime enjoying this landscape. Next you start to descend and find yourself in the Pushtara meadows which are decked with forest greens and flowers in flourish!
Day 5: Pushtara to Taluka, then drive to Sankri
Altitude – Taluka (7,950 ft.), Sankri (6,397 ft.)
Approximate Duration – 5 – 6 hours trek, 1 hour long drive
It is the last day and as you descend, your best friend, the forest and its family, of flowers, trees, shrubs, bushes, etc. all come along to see you off. They keep you company as you trek down the hill to conclude your trek, making themselves a solid part of your experience too. From Taluka take a vehicle till the village of Sankri.
Day 6: Sankri to Dehradun
Altitude – 1,470 ft.
Approximate Distance – 187 kms (by drive)
With this your trek and the week comes to an end with a rarer sighted ridge trek experience now in your list of adventures, giving you quite the reason to beam!
Do you know of other ridge treks in India? Which one are you most eager to head for?!