Taluka to Osla/Seema

The next morning, I was woken up by a rap on the door at 6:00 AM. It was morning tea. As far as rude ways of getting woken up go, this wasn’t terrible. I put my stuff together quickly, drank up my tea and got ready to leave. We walked to a little restaurant type place next door to get breakfast. All it was was a small room with a few wood tables and benches set out at the end and a couple of benches along the wall. It was attached to a smaller section of a room with a wood fire and oven where all the food was cooked. We ate alu parathas with mango pickle for breakfast.

We left a few of our belongings in Taluka where they would be held for us until we returned. The mule and porter for the trek had not arrived, so our guide told us to start the trek and that he would catch up with us. He directed us to walk to the end of the town, which took all of two minutes, and follow the steep downhill trail towards the river. He told us to keep the river to our left for the entire day and we wouldn’t go off-track.

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The way out of town was indeed extremely steep. This would not be fun to return on! It was also very well maintained and laid with big stones. I would find out in subsequent days that most Himalayan trails were very rocky compared to the ones back home, and would be very hard on the feet.

We took our own sweet time covering the first few kms by which time our guide caught up with us. We also saw a ton of other people from YHA India out on the trail. This was about the time when I realized what piss-poor shape I was in because practically everyone passed me. :P Our guide tried to get us to pick up the pace but I wanted to conserve my energy for the long 14 km distance we had to cover that day. It would suck to go fast in the beginning and run out of steam towards the end.

This might or might not have been a good idea. After walking for 2-3 hours, I realized that we had a looooong way to go still and I wasn’t getting any less tired. It suddenly dawned on me that although I had done 5-7 mile hikes, they had almost all involved walking up 2.5-3.5 miles and then going back down. I had never before walked uphill for 8-9 miles! What on earth had made me think that I could do this?

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During lunchtime it started raining and we had to break out the ponchos, which worked well but also made us pretty warm. It rained for about 2-3 kms.

We saw very beautiful things along the way, a gorgeous river flowing to our left, really well-build stone trails under our feet, cool little mountain towns tucked away in the distance, and of course, locals out doing their daily work with their cows or horses. We met some adorable kids along the way, all of when kept saying – “Mithai do!” (“Give us sweets!”) to us. Unfortunately we had none on us.

I was soon very very tired though. We contemplated stopping earlier before Seema but it would mean walking only 4 km the next day, then doing 12 km to Har Ki Doon and only spending one night on top instead of two. This didn’t seem like such a good idea so we kept going. The last 3 km were a bit of a death march. By the end of the day we had climbed more than 2,000 feet.


We finally arrived at Seema which really only consisted of a couple of guest houses and a tea shop across the path from them. The main settlement in this area was the town of Osla but it was way high up in the mountains.

The guest house was fine. It had a couple of rooms with beds and very clean modern looking toilets with no running water or electricity. Water had to be hauled in in buckets, which were filled from a stream in the compound.

It was much colder at this higher elevation and I had a hard time falling asleep that night.