First Himalayan Hike – Har Ki Dun

After having hiked quite a bit in the Cascades for the past two years or so, I thought it would be fun to go hike in the Himalayas while I was still in this part of the world. My original intention was to go hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. The day that I booked my ticket to Kathmandu though, Nepal was struck by a terrible earthquake, which led to me scrapping my plans and deciding to go hike in the Garhwal Himalayas of India instead. I picked the Har ki Dun trek from this list because it was listed as a beginner trek, it wasn’t at too high of an elevation, it seemed like the right time of year to do the trek, and the photo looked gorgeous. J I read up a few other blog reports of people who had done it, found a company in Delhi that could do a customized tour for two people, and enlisted my hiking buddy Chris into accompanying me.

Our route would be:
Day 1 – Drive from Mussourie to Taluka
Day 2 – Walk from Taluka to Osla (or Seema)
Day 3 – Walk to Har Ki Dun
Day 4 – Rest day at Har Ki Dun
Day 5 – Walk back to Osla/Seema
Day 6 – Walk to Taluka and drive to Sankri
Day 7 – Drive to Dehradun (we ended up driving to Rishikesh)


I flew out to Dehradun and spent a couple of days there. Chris joined me there and we went on to Mussourie a day later. Mussourie was a cool hill station that was obviously very popular with tourists. I didn’t love it as much people seem to do in India but we did get one really nice day of hiking in Jabarkhet Nature Reserve in the foothills of the Himalayas, in training for the real trek. We saw some great mountain views, some beautiful daisy fields, Tibetan prayer flags, and some black faced monkeys.

Mussourie to Taluka

Our guide Chain Singh came by our hotel in Mussourie early the next day to pick us up and take us to Sankri where we were to begin our trek. They had a 4 X 4 expedition vehicle with a high suspension, which indicated that some of the roads we would traverse would be rough.

We stopped for breakfast at Kelty Falls where I got an omelet and Chris got some alu parathas. Little did he know that he would be eating the same thing for pretty much the rest of the trip.

We drove up north towards Sankri covering a distance of 180 kms during that day, with a brief stop at a town  on the way for lunch. The drive was fascinating with beautiful views of the mountains. We saw many colorful little cities nestled in deep valleys along the way. There was lots of terrace farming on the sides of the steep mountain ranges we passed. The guide said that they mostly grew potatoes, tomatoes, onions and wheat. We also saw many goatherds, cowherds and shepherds minding their flocks of animals along the roads. There was at least one time when the entire road was blocked by a flock of colorful black and white sheep.

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We had thought that we would be starting our trek the next day from Sankri but it turned out that the road to Taluka, although unpaved, was passable on our vehicle, so we drove over it to Taluka. Little did I realize then that this drastically shortened our 7-8 day trek (according to internet reports and the trekking company) to a five day one.

We arrived in Taluka a little late in the evening and stayed at a little guesthouse for the night. It was freezing cold and the sounds of goats down below rang out far into the night. I bundled up into my comforters and put in earplugs to be able to sleep.