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- Mountain Biking
Length : 70 Km Sonmarg to Narang
Access : Trek starting point is Sonmarg, 90 Km from Srinagar
Highest Point : Gadsar Pass ~ 4200 m/13750 ft.
DAY 01 - Drive from Srinagar to Shitkadi (Trek base 2 Km before Sonamarg) – 85 Km – 3 hours We can arrange pick up vehicle from Srinagar on actual cost sharing basis. Otherwise you can reach directly at base camp Shitkadi village. Its 2km before Sonamarg town. Reporting at base camp. Stay in tent/homestay.
DAY 02 - We start our trek today after breakfast. First 2 hour you have ascent then some part descent. The trek goes down to the level of the Sindh river which flows in between the mud track and the main road. The trekking trail starts along the track but quickly diverts higher up. 10 minutes into the trek, the trail bends left and enters a green meadow. This directly overlooks Sonamarg town. At the tree line, the trail quickly descends to a tiny brook and then climbs again. What follows next is a lovely dense forest of Maple trees. The trail now is along the right bank of the river going upstream. Look behind to see snow-clad peaks from Sonamarg valley. Stay in Tent.
DAY 03 - Medium climb to Nichnai pass 13,500ft. Small descent followed by a long flat meadow walk ending near Vishansar Lake. The days trek is a long walk on meadows with the scenery changing for the better all along. The pass is visible at a distance from the campsite. It lies just to the right of the twin snow clad peaks as you climb notice e a small lake at the foot of the mountains. The lake is deep blue in color and you can sense your expectations rising of the main lakes to come on this trek. The pass is deceptive. The ridge seen from the meadow below is not the pass. BSNL phone network tends to work here most times. This is the last point on the trek where you get phone network. The next sign of network is only when you move beyond Gangabal. In the next hour the rocks give way to grass. Red flowers spring out next to your feet. What you see ahead is a wide green meadow stretching for miles with mountains lining the sides. A new river flows down from the pass into the meadow ahead.
DAY 04 - If the weather is not good we will use acclimatisation day at Vishansar or else move towards next camp site. This day we have kept spare for rest and acclimatisation, If weather is good the we will start our trek on next day.
DAY 05 - The next lake in series is the Kishansar lake. The Kishansar lake lies just about half km away and 500ft higher than Vishansar. The Kishansar lake lies at the base of the Kishansar peak. It takes about 45minutes to reach Kishansar lake from the campsite. On the other side of the Gadsar pass stretches a long valley with 2-3 small lakes visible. Far in the distance lie a series of snow clad peaks. The peaks lie outside our Line of Control. Choose to make Gadsar you campsite for its sheer beauty but only if you can vow to leave the ground as neat as you found it to be. No one camps at Gadsar. There is a small abandoned army shelter near Gadsar. If you choose not to camp next to Gadsar, the next place to camp would be the Gadsar army camp. Continue on the downward trail from Gadsar and in half an hour the valley widens up. Spot another blue lake on the left of the valley. Notice the snow clad mountains now give way to lower barren mountains.Continue downhill and at the end of the third half hour, the army camp comes up. Gadsar army camp is just a small hut housing 5-8 army men.
DAY 06 - From the army camp move left towards the stream. The trail crosses the stream and heads up the mountain. The altitude at the stream is 10,600ft. The Satsar camp is at 12,000ft and almost 10 kms away. Crossing the stream is the easiest way to trek. If one really wants to avoid getting their feet wet in the icy cold water, then head to the bridge which a km away and cross the stream. The climb up is steeper if one goes to the bridge. The landscape ahead is captivating. It is the 3rd line of defence from the LOC. The same process of ID checking, collection and questioning repeats here too. Finish this today so that tomorrow is a clean day of trekking. Ten minutes out of the army camp is the first of the Satsar lakes.
DAY 07 - The days trek goes up and down replicating the trek as a whole which mostly goes up and down. Trek up half an hour out of camp, to reach the biggest Satsar lake. The terrain is bouldery and it is more of a boulder hopping exercise than anything else. The Nundkhol lake lies at the base of the Harmukh peak. The Harmukh glacier hangs on the the sides of the rocky edges of the mountain. Both the Gangabal and Nundkhol are famous for trout fishing.The Gangabal lake is about 20 minutes away from Nundkhol. A fiery stream flows on the right of the two lakes connecting them. The stream has to be crossed to go to Gangabal from Nandkol. Gangabal is huge. A Parikrama of either of the lakes will easily take an hour.
DAY 08 - The days trek is a killer on your toes and knees. From the Gangabal campsite head down along the stream towards the tree line. The Harmukh peak looks impressive when you look back. The green meadow has little yellow flowers growing all over and you start walking gingerly to avoid stepping over them. It is not rare to spot lot of people trekking up here from Naranag headed only to Gangabal. Naranag slowly comes in sight at around 8500ft but there is quite a bit more to go. The last stretch of the last day does become an endurance test but soon the stone paved village trek comes up and in no time you enter the main road of Narnag.