The 17 Km walk from Budhi to Gunji (both at 3220 m elevation) was the most beautiful of the trip. It was another early start with just a hot cup of tea – and the first couple of kilometers was a very stiff climb for which I has to use Shera’s services. After the previous day’s experience I did not want to take chances, although the night’s rest and lots of pain killers had done a good job. At the top of the climb at Chialekh, we stopped for breakfast and the ritual of the checking of passes by the ITBP. Only people with permits, including the locals, were allowed beyond this point, as part of the border security procedure. And this is where the porters without valid permits were stopped – and why at the start there was so much fuss about the validity of permits.
Beyond this, it was gently undulating terrain through Alpine pastures. Being August, the flowers were all in bloom and although no botanist, even I could count > 20 varieties.
Along this route is the village of Garbian, which can be called the “kheechad” (slippery, slidey, mud) capital of the world!! Fortunately, it had been dry and so we managed to get through relatively easily. We were not to be so lucky on our return journey – when many a brave and plucky walker found themselves sliding down onto the mud. At the village, the locals were all out enjoying the sunshine and we enjoyed the local specialty, samosas.