Trek from Goshiani to Shilt via Rolla. It was raining in the morning, and we were still undecided whether to start our trek or not. But as the rain gods took a breather, we jumped the gun and started the trek.
The weather was overcast through out the day, and rain made sure that the park became lush green and impeccably clean.
We only covered a tiny part of the national park during our three-day trek. I have already posted a blog post on it on this blog. I am sharing some more photographs from our trek and also things that I learnt during that time.
It was important to know someone to actually finalize the trip as dependency on locals is very high to make it a memorable expedition. The first connect with whom we had interacted had all the answers to our queries. GHNP is one of the youngest national parks in India. It was established in 1984. There are many places for trekking in Himachal as well as neighboring Uttarakhand. We could have easily picked up other routes but the name “Great Himalayan National Park” has something in itself. Moreover, it also fulfilled our interest in bird watching.
Flexibility is the biggest asset which helped us to enjoy the trip. Flexibility in all sense. Unless you are going for a single agenda like researching on something for a greater purpose, it is better to be flexible in all aspects like stay, food, what you see and what you enjoy. Moreover, if I am not sure whether I will ever visit the place again, it makes more sense to enjoy as much as possible in the first go. In fact, an extra day in hand makes sense too. A trip size of 6 to 12 is good but finding so many likeminded people would be difficult.
Were we well-equipped and well-planned? This question was raised again and again by one of our team member when he got to know that we were not carrying the route map during the trek and we stayed a night at Shilt top which was not as per plan. We have booked the whole trip through a trusted source or honestly speaking, a source whom we put all our faith and the above team member had joined us later and was not aware of the whole transactions. Although that trust only went stronger by the time the trip came to an end, the question asked by the member was justified. According to him, every member of the team should be self-sufficiently equipped. Although, we didn’t go too long from the last manned post of GHNP, we were far from other facilities like medical, mobile connectivity or motor-able roads. Moreover, one must not ignore the fury of nature and therefore whether it is a short trek or long, one must be well equipped.
We had debated a lot on building stamina for such treks during this trip. Cycling and swimming are supposed to be the best way to build stamina required for trekking. Long distance walking or running is helpful. Cardiovascular exercises are best fit. I have realized that a bit of such workouts could have made me more comfortable trekking up to Shilt. I am around 90kg and I am not doing any of these since long. I made it nonetheless but it is good to stay fit anyway.
It is ideal to have a naturalist as a guide who knows the area well and can guide you to identify various bird species. Although I am birding for the past few years, I have comparatively less knowledge on high altitude birds. A bird book was not handy enough to quickly identify a bird. Having such a guide could have made our trek more enjoyable. GHNP is a great place to enhance your knowledge on various flora and fauna and one must utilize such opportunities. It is a good learning for our next trip.
I think the best time to trek inside the park, specially the lower altitude parts, is between March till May. The temperature will be moderate and the jungle will be beautiful with fresh leaves and different types of wildflowers. The rivers and their small tributaries will come alive with fresh melted waters from high mountains.
Things which came very handy to me in this trip were extra pair of socks, soft cotton t-shirts, trekking shoes, tissue paper, energy bars, flashlight and walking stick. These essential things shouldn’t be ignored. Well, it was a porter assisted trek and hence rest of the essential things were managed by them. Warm clothes are subjected to temperature. To beat the cold, light warm clothes in multiple layer is ideal than wearing some heavy stuff. A warm cap which can cover up till the ears and a pair of gloves are must to have.
The trek was enough to create curiosity about other treks inside the park. Post this trip, we kept googling on the topic and few days back we did a day trek near Surajkund to flex our muscles. Trekking is the only thing we are talking these days other than BBQ and probably one day soon we will mix both – a trek-cum-BBQ trip to somewhere.
For more details on other treks in GHNP click here.
Few Common Birds from Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pardesh:
Great Himalayan National Park: Breaking into my first Trekking Shoe: