Sunday, November 4, 2018

Landscapes - Gogina To Munsiyari

I just finished a fabulous trek in the Kumaon Himalaya, Uttarakhand. We started from Gogina village. The route took us to Namik, then northwards along some high ridges towards Sudamkhan Pass. The plan was to turn eastwards at Sudamkhan Pass and walk along a high shepherd's trail towards Khaliya high ridges, and then descend towards Munsiyari. But some very nasty weather forced us to turn back from Sudamkhan. We then took a lower altitude route southeastwards, and after a few days walk ended up just near Birthi Falls roadhead. A taxi picked us there and took us on an hour long drive to the town of Munsiyari.

The map below shows the location of Gogina, Namik, Birthi and Munisyari.

We climbed from around 5000 ft starting at Gogina to a maximum of around 12, 500 feet near the Sudamkhan area. After Namik there was no village until  we reached Birthi, and so we passed through some glorious isolated wilderness areas, ascending from temperature broadleaf forests to alpine tundra like environs made up of grasslands and meadows and up to more bare rocky heights.

The terrain is made up of medium to high grade metamorphic rocks of the Greater Himalaya Sequence. I noticed amphibolites, mica, garnet and feldspar gnessises, mica schists, phyllites, calc silicates (metamorphosed clay bearing limestones) along the way. However, the pace of the trek required me to keep walking along with my friends... so I did not do much geology on this trek.

Below are some pictures I took during the trek.

1) A view of the Lesser Himalaya from Gyan Dhura village (before we reached Gogina).

2) A house in Namik Village

3) So many geological stories written in to the lovely building stones of Namik Village

4) We climbed above Namik Village and set up camp in this lovely meadow.

5) Walking through a lush forest above Namik

6) Above the tree line, a trail leads to a shepherd's lonely outpost.. route towards Sudamkhan Pass.

7) The desolate yet hauntingly beautiful landscape near Sudamkhan Pass.

8) That's me, taking in the stunning surroundings near Sudamkhan Pass.

9) Gneisses of the Greater Himalaya Sequence exposed along the high bare ridges.

10) At Bajemania meadows after we descended from the Sudamkhan area. Watching an afternoon storm build up in a distance.

11) Our pack horses enjoying a meal as fresh snow cover the higher slopes.

12) Autumn colors glow in the late evening sun.

13) The majestic Panchachuli Range at sunset. View from Munsiyari.

.. with promises to keep traveling in the Himalaya.

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