On this holiday we will be constantly at an altitude of more than 3000m and you will be crossing one high pass at 4200m pass. Therefore, it will help that you acclimatize well in order to make the best of the week. You will be advised by the UFO guide to rest and keep your body hydrated, walk slow and steady and eat well. Even then it is not a hard trek and first time trekking enthusiasts can also join in this adventure holiday. There is fair bit of walking to be done every day, and we would encourage you to do a bit of walking/running and breathing exercises to enjoy this trek. A decent level of fitness will help you enjoy the trekking holiday better.
After early breakfast, we get on the trail for our first day of the trek. We head out towards Nichnai, walking an old jeep track. You will be walking through wide green alpine meadows, lovely dense forest of Maple, Birch and Bhoj trees with some stunning views of the Sonamarg valley.
Today we will be walking in vast green meadows and our first challenge. We will cross Nichnai pass (4000m) which is a medium climb and take in the views of the day. We will now be gaining altitudes, so walk slow and steady and keep drinking water. After crossing the pass we are again walking in the meadows and camp next to a stream for the night.
Today will be a rest day and you can spend it exploring the twin lakes of Vishnusar and Kishansar. Get up early morning to catch the sunrise, walk the meadows of Kishansar, read a book and watch the sun go down on a beautiful day. The campsite is in a beautiful meadow and offer opportunities to explore and see flowers growing at high altitude.
After a hearty breakfast, we follow a thin trail traversing the mountain side next to Kishansar lake side to the top of the ridge. You will have the views of the twin lakes till you reach the top of the pass, Gadsar. This will be the highest point ont he trek. You will come across two-three small lakes after you cross over the pass. The first small lake that is seen on the left is the Yamsar lake. The locals believe that lord Yama has some association with the lake! Beyond Yamsar is another nameless lake. Nestled under snpw capped peaks is Gadsar Lake , one of the most beautiful lakes on the trek. Choose to make Gadsar your camp site for its sheer beauty but only if you can vow to leave the ground as neat as you found it to be. Usually 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. You have lost considerable altitude again. In another half an hour down the trail, a few shepherds’ huts come up. 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. To move beyond the army camp, one needs permission from their Headquarters. The Headquarters is 4.8 km further away down into the tree line near a village. The Gadsar camp communicates with the HQ through walkie-talkies. The HQ is equipped with a satellite phone for the army. If you are near the Gadsar army camp, it is best to report to them as soon as possible. It takes 2-3 hours for their green signal to come through. All details of the trekkers and staff, including original identity cards, are recorded, collected and checked.
Another beautiful day. You will now notice the change in the landscape with green meadows giving way to barren hills. You are still above the tree line and they can be seen below, walking on a flat trail surrounded by mountains on a meadow. To your right are a few deep craters. This place is called as Maengandob. The landscape ahead is captivating. Isolated mountains stand in front. Towards the right is a small ridge. In between is a flat green bed with a stream flowing through. Choose to camp here if Gadsar lake was your last camp. If the army camp is where you started, it makes sense to cover a little more distance today and camp near the first of the Satsar lakes. Satsar is actually a collection of 7 lakes. You can find 4 or 5 lakes with water, depending on the season. Beyond the ridge, on the right, is the Satsar army check post. It is the 3rd line of defence from the LOC. The same process of identity checking, collection and questioning repeats here. 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. The lake is pretty big and looks picturesque in its green setting with mountains in front. Choose a place to camp here for the day.
Today will be another challenging day. Mild ascent followed by gradual descent followed by long steep ascent and long steep descent followed by gradual up and down walk. The day’s trek goes up and down replicating the trek as a whole which mostly goes up and down. Your destination is either the Gangabal or the Nandkol. The Nandkol 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 Nandkol are famous for trout fishing. The Gangabal lake is about 20 minutes away from Nandkol.
After an early breakfast, we head out back to civilization. This day will take a toll on your toes and knees with a steep descent. The last 4 km will see you dropping almost a 1000m. We reach the town of Narnag where our transport will be waiting for us to go back to Srinagar. This will be a 1.5 hour journey and we should be in Srinagar by 7 pm. Stay in hotel for the night. Evening at leisure.
After an early breakfast we will be transferred by private vehicle to the airport by 10 am.