'I believe any trip in search of wildlife can be coupled with physical activity and elements of cultural diversity to form a thrilling opportunity '
I think the longer and more trying the trek, the more there is to gain. Not the gain from achieving an end, but the self-learning which takes place during the journey. The classic trek to the Milam Glacier under
the shadow of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi is such an opportunity. The 16-day trek starts from the town of Munsiari after a long ride from Almora. Both villages are in Uttar Pradesh close to the border with Tibet. The trail winds downhill to Selapani and then
up the Milam Valley, the Milam Valley all the more impressive because of the Gori Ganga gorge. The route follows the ancient trade routes between Kumoan and Tibet. This is one of the most regions of the Indian Himal.
The way is generally not steep but continuous with long periods of sustained walking. Bamboo forests line the route in the beginning, giving way to arid empty fields by the time the eastern summit of Nanda Devi can be seen. The trail continues up through
rhododendron, fern, peonies, and hydrangea. During a rest stop, an astonishingly large butterfly landed and rested on my hat. My guide explained to me it was good luck to have one of the many and large butterflies become so personal during the walk up to Milam
Village. I was flattered. Along the route to Milam Village is a side trek to a Hindu shrine named Naha Devi. Unfortunately for me, I did not make this particular side trip. Perhaps one of you has been to this shrine and could relate to me what I missed! Eventually
the wide, well engineered trail leads to Milam Village. From this village it is possible to do a number of day hikes. Using Milam as a base, a stout trekker could visit Nanda Kund and Suraj Kund (both are beautiful alpine lakes), Milam Glacier, and Tirsul
base camp, which is named Nitwal Thaur.
The Pachhu Glacier can be visited when at Nanda Kund in a long day. Don’t forget to take a rest day or two in Milam, meet some of the villagers, and enjoy the scenery. On the return trek, a different route can
be taken. After crossing Brijganga Pass and the spectacular scenery of the Panchulis pinnacles the trail drops steeply down to Ralam. The trail then follows down the Ralam Valley returning to Munsiari.
If you crave a long, though not difficult trek, originating in subtropical forest where lizards watch the trail and ending at a remote alpine glacier with only birds for company, this may be the one. I like
walking in the company of sharp white peaks. How about you? Almora can be reached via Ramnagar north of Delhi. Plan a layover in Ramnagar and spend several days visiting Corbett’s National Park. I hope each of you gets a chance to get out soon. Be sure and
take the time, when you do go, take your time. I love India. Cheers.
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