UPDATE: Now read my complete GHNP Guide here.
The Bashleo Pass Trek was one of the primary objectives of this foray into the ecozone of the Great Himalayan National Park along with Shangarh. In between I ended up doing other things but time had now come for the actual trek. I started along with Travelshoebum from Thewaramji’s homestay (also mentioned in the previous post), after having a quick breakfast and with some Bar One chocolates as ration for the rest of the day. The trek starts right from the village. The route is well marked and there is a official board that psychologically prepares one for a 10 KM hike to the 3300 meter high pass.
We initially walked fast, passing by scattered homes, small terraces of wheat, apple orchards, and getting a better view of Bathad village from a higher altitude. After a while, it got a bit tiresome but then we saw some school kids coming down. They live somewhere up in the hills and trek everyday just to reach school. This made us push harder and soon we passed the inhabited stretches and entered the jungle.
Although it was a sunny day, the thick canopy of the jungle was filtering the light, turning the path into resplendent green tunnel. It took around an hour to finally rise above the forest and arrive at a open meadow but I could see more jungles in front of us. However, there was a distinct change in the nature of vegetation at this point. Instead of green, the trees are now full with leaves displaying various shades of yellow and orange. Such autumnal colours were not what I expected but I guess I’d underestimated the late spring.
The top of the Bashleo pass was still a bit far away and we soon entered another jungle stretch. It was getting colder and I could feel that we had gained significant altitude by then. After another half an hour of hike, we overcame the jungle again and arrived at an open, flowery meadow dotted with yellow blossoms and patches of fresh, pristine snow. For someone escaping the furnace of the plains, it was the sight worth all the effort.
One can cross this pass and reach the village of Kullu Sarahan. However, we had based ourselves in Bathad and we would have had to come back to pick our luggage again. So, we reluctantly decided not to cross over to the other side and just decided to rest for a while at the top. Although it was still sunny, sharp, chilly wind was making it difficult to stay at the top. As a result, we did not really last long out there and after taking a few photographs of the snowy peaks, decided to start our return.
We had not seen another human being till that point but as it turned out, several locals were following us. The first one was a local woman with her kids, all with exotic hazel colored eyes. She told us about some temple nearby but we had already made up our mind to return and did not want to climb back. She was crossing the pass to meet her relatives in Kullu Sarahan.
The next bunch of people were no ordinary people but the orchestra of the Devta of Kullu Sarahan, followed by the Devta himself, carried by a lucky servant of the deity. Apparently the deity was making a round of the other villages and now going back to his place across the pass. They rested at the top for a while, happily posed for photographs and demonstrated some of their instruments.
The return was event-less after that. But with the trek done and no pressure to speed up, we had to time to observe the jungles and the plants more attentively. There were large mushrooms, moss covered rocks, and scores of unknown creepers that should keep a botanist busy for a while. As for myself, the most camera friendly were the primulas growing all over the ground.
We returned back to Bathad with enough time at hand. The refreshments were served by Thewaramji and I think here I should say a bit more about him. We spent two days in his newly built pinewood house and a lot of work seemed to have gone in the decor although not all the rooms have been completed yet. Those two were some of my least expensive but coziest days during my travels so far.