Gaumukh Tapovan Trek in the Gangotri National Park in Uttarakhand is, for me, one of the memorable treks ever! This day, as the weather cleared – after an incessant snowfall for the whole of previous day, slowing down much later into the night, we set out to explore the grand Meru Glacier.
Read about the Himalayan Wilderness that I experienced on this trek inside the Gangotri National Park.
You are literally walking on glaciers all the time, esp. around Tapovan, and barely touch the ridge of the Meru Glacier when you simply go out exploring the surrounding. Traversing the entire Meru glacier(or even any others, for that matter) in itself is an extremely challenging and adventurous feat that needs skill and time. We had just set out to scale as close as safely possible to the Meru Glacier this day.
In the pic above, a number of glacial ice blocks can be seen. The picture does no justice to the grandeur of the actual scene though; these ice blocks were much, much bigger, and expansive. An interesting thing to notice is that all these glacial ice blocks have different colours, ranging from blue, green, black, brown, and white; you can see only a few of them in this pic. The different colours are a result of their varying densities and impurities. The most common glacial-ice colour – blue indicates extremely old ice that is also extremely compact and hard.
It was quite a challenge for me to walk, not only because walking on the ridge was scary, but also because I had had a mishap right on day 1 of the trek – the soles of my trekking shoes had come off. And the terrain this day involved a lot of walking and a lot of it on moraines. I avoided stepping into the snow and instead took the longer route over the boulders or the trail sans snow. Yet tiny stones, loose gravel, and snow seeped into my shoes every now and then making it uncomfortable for me to walk and maintain a good pace.
This was also the closest we got to the handsome Mt. Shivling. And the closer view was even grander than what we experienced at the first glance from the camping site, when the mist finally decided to reveal that gem of a mountain, early that morning. When we finally reached the end of the ridge, the view was magnificent – no doubt, but also super scary. One wrong step-and-slip on either side and you’d roll rapidly down a deadly drop.
At some point, I did think I should have stayed back at the campsite. But I also couldn’t think of simply waiting and watching the mount Meru stand right there, in front of my eyes (the peak was visible from the campsite) To me the idea seemed something I’d regret for a long long time. And oh boy, for all the pain I endured (yes that’s what it was – pain, walking with bandaged shoes) what I was rewarded with was the terrific and soul-filling view of the glaciers and peaks all around me, from such proximity, a challenging and worthy by all means, the trail to walk on and supreme peace of standing so close to these beautiful beautiful snowy mountain peaks and to be in a certain way, embraced lovingly by them.