Everything was decided on Facebook!
While chatting with a fried a day before Dussehra we came across the idea that it was a long week end and we could utilize it in in doing something constructive.
Harish Tal and Lohakham Tal it was. The event was constructed but the response was poor.
Yes – 2 May be – 0 and Declined – 22.
So it was two of us me and Monts who decided to take the challenge. The check list was created and I went on a shopping spree had to arrange for every-thing from food to medicine, from toiletries to camping equipment.
There was one problem. None of us had ever been to the place and the people who met had taken the journey 15-20 yrs ago.
The itinerary was created and somehow we started the journey started.
Day 1: Nainital to Khutani to Dhanachauli to Patlot to Doba.
We started at 7 AM from Naintal. We took a jeep to Khutani then from Khutani we took another jeep to Khanshu and then a third to Patlot. We reached Patlot at around 11:30 am. Unfortunately we found out that the jeep leaves for “doba” in the morning and the next was only at 1:30 pm. Our fortune was testing us and the jeep at 1:30 did not turn up that day. The next was expected at 4:30 pm and but had no surety.
[Note: We would suggest all the travelers to either arrange for their own conveyance or make sure that they have researched about the correct jeep/bus timings.]
So the only alternate left was to trek all the way to Lohakham Tal through the less traveled “paidal marg”, which meant now we had to trek around 16km that is 12km more than the one we had intended to.
The route to Lokham Tal starts just opposite to the Bank of Baroda the stairs takes you up to trek route. It is situated just at the bend in the main market. It’s a grueling 3-4 km climb which then becomes a bit relaxing though it still elevates up and is a lush green jungle.
At times we came across the paths criss – crossing each other and there were no sign boards to show the directions and we did not meet anyone till the time we reached Doba village. Whenever we came across such crossings we took the one which were man made i.e stone laid paths as they were most certain to reach the destination. Later it came out that we took the left ones and finally reached the village at around 7:30 pm. It had become dark and we were getting freaked up with every sound that we heard.
We decided to ask the first house that we came across for help. It’s something with the people of my India (Jim corbetts India) that the very first house offered us a room to stay and food which we politely declined. It was supposed to be a camping trip and we did not want to stay indoors.
So, finally we camped at one of the field in the vicinity, we were given plenty of firewood that would keep the surrounding hot and possibly the wild animals at bay. We cooked our food on the fire and then went on a photographic frenzy till we had enough. It was time to gather some sleep before the trek in the morning.
It was a horrible yet exciting night we could easily hear the wild animals in the vicinity from the barking deer to boar we were sure we even heard the leopard call.
Day 2 – Doba – Lokham Tal – Harish Tal
We woke up at 5:30 am, actually the landowner’s son came in checking if the idiots had survived the night or not. Soon we bid thanks to the family and continued our trek to Lohakham Tal.
It was a short trek of around 2km we reached a small shop had a refreshing cup of tea and the Lokhamtal it was. The first look at the Lohakham Tal we had reached it.
It was a small lake about the size of the Khurpatal but densely forested, the old temple of Lohakham Dev is still awaiting renovation. One thing that excited us was the sight of fresh water Trout, but we could just watch as we had not brought the fishing line. After a round of photography, it was time for Coffee, backed beans and buns. We stayed there for around 4 hrs just watching the lake and admiring the beauty.
Then it was time for the 1.5 km trek downhill to Harish Tal. The route was comparatively easy and here comes Harish Tal dream come true.
It was awesome and we were awestruck by the beauty. A small lake full of fish we could see the red colored carp swimming freely. The lake was surrounded by the fields and a small hamlet. We just stayed at one point with our camera clicking like crazy. We again visited one of the families which owns the fields next to the lake and got permission to camp.
A small shop in the hamlet helped us replenish the depleted stock of coffee and milk. We also got a fishing line and a hook along with bait and lot of firewood, which we also gathered from the nearby fields (sorry for not asking). We soon were able to fish 4 small fish which we had for dinner along with Maggii and a lot of coffee. It soon became dark and we decided that it was enough photography for the day and went to sleep.
We were again woken up by the calls of the wild animals it was scary and we decided to sit near the fire along with some more rounds of Coffee. Finally the day ended at 1 am and we finally dozed off to sleep.
Day 3: Harish Tal – Gaza – Haldwani
The day started at 6 am some more photography and the 8 km trek to Gaza. There is a jeep service from Gaza to Haldwani wich leaves at 12 noon and not during the monsoon season when the Gaula river through which the Jeep comes becomes inaccessible. We rreached Haldwani by 2 pm and then back to Nainital. It was memorable trip of my life!