PANCH KEDAR 2018 Pic 1: Bells at Rudranath Temple "Once the Travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life." - Micheal Palin. I never knew that bug is gonna bite me. I have been traveling and exploring places since 2012. However, after visiting Ladakh on bike in 2015, it becomes like a seasonal infection to me and then I visited Spiti in 2016, Badrinath, Kalpeshwer Mahadev, Hemkund Sahib & VoF in 2017. This was fourth consecutive year for my exploration for which I take off for at least 8 days in May or Jun. This year I had an option to explore Sach pass/Pangi valley/Kishtwar/Mughal Road or Nainital/Kasauni/Munsiyari. After my solo trip to Badrinath, Kalpeshwer Mahadev, Hemkund Sahib & VoF in 2017, I was more interested towards trekking rather than just riding a bike. I realized that traveling solo is better than traveling in a group as it gives you flexibility to go anywhere, anytime and you feel free from boundations, eventually you explore more and learn more but it needs more preparation and experience. However, for new travellers traveling in a group is always recommended as its safe and secure. So, I dropped all the plans of riding and decided to complete Panch Kedar. I had already visited Tungnath & Kalpeshwer Mahadev the shortest of 5 and was left with all 3 lengthy treks. Approx. trek distance for Rudranath is 24 kms, Madmaheshwer is 18 kms, Kedarnath is 18 kms, Vasuki Tal is 8 kms and Chorabari Tal is 4 kms one side that means total trek for entire trip is approx. 144 kms which was too much compared to 55 kms trek which I did during my trip in 2017. I started 25 kms cycling every day to get physically fit, get my bike serviced and purchased essentials like dry fruits, water resistant trekking shoes, woolen socks etc. Finally applied for the leaves and got approval from May 19th to May 28th. With limited days I was supposed to cover each trek in a single day and the day I get down from any trek, I had to ride to the next point as well before the day ends. The plan was actually very difficult to cover in 10 days but I had no choice and I don't want to leave any of these for next year. So, decided to make an attempt and start from Rudranath trek first because it the most difficult & lengthiest one and I knew that if I plan to do that at the end then I would have not left with so much energy to complete it within a day. Pic 2: Planned Route PLANNING Day 1: Chandigarh to Gopeshwer (405 kms Ride) Day 2: Gopeshwer to Sagar Village (7 kms Ride) Sagar Village to Rudranath (24 kms Trek) Day 3: Rudranath to Sagar Village (24 kms Trek) Sagar Village to Gopeshwer (7 kms Ride) Gopeshwer to Ransi (90 kms Ride) Day 4: Ransi to Madhyamashwer (18 kms Trek) Day 5: Madhyamashwer to Buda Madhyamashwer to Ransi (21 kms Trek) Ransi to Sonprayag (64 kms Ride) Day 6: Sonprayag to Kedarnath (18 kms Trek) Day 7: Kedarnath to Vasuki Tal to Kedarnath (16 kms Trek) Day 8: Kedarnath to Chorabari Tal to Kedarnath (8 kms Trek) Day 9: Kedarnath to Sonprayag (18 kms Trek) Day 10: Sonprayag to Chandigarh (405 kms Ride) Day 1 | May 19, 2018 Chandigarh to Gopeshwer After a night shift, reached home at 4:30 am. Took bath, dressed for the ride, had light breakfast, packed my bags and loaded on the bike and left from Panchkula around 7 am. Sun was out but the temperature was still good as it was the early hours. Just within 25 kms I started feeling sleepy, tried riding with open visor but it didn't work and had to take first tea break in just 40 mins. Washed my face and had a strong cup of tea few kms after Raipur Rani. Pic 3: Fully loaded Pulsar 150 This time I choose Jagadhri, Roorkee, Haridwar, Rajaji National Park, Rishikesh route over regular Nahan, Poanta Sahib, Dehradun and Rishikesh route as this route has many bad patches with numerous speed breakers after crossing Nahan which is back breaking and time consuming. So, I rode nonstop till Roorkee, had light breakfast at Roorkee. Now the Sun was completely out and shining bright. Until I reached Haridwar around 11:40 am I was completely soaked in sweat. Reached Rajaji National Park around 12:30 pm, it was bit relaxing there and got many opportunities to click photos as well. Pic 4: View of Rajaji National Park With frequent breaks to get hydrate I managed to reach Devprayag around 4 pm. Temperature was still high but some relaxation with cold winds due to river Ganga flowing along with the road. Pic 5: Clicked before Devprayag Reached Rudraprayag at 6:20 pm, until I was completely exhausted and out of energy. Once I thought to stay there but then realized that I won’t be able to complete the Rudranath trek in one day hence I kept on riding. Now the clouds started gathering and the cool breeze boost the moral. Pic 6: Overcast sky just before Karanprayag As, I approached Karanprayag it started drizzling but soon it stopped. It was completely dark until I reached Chamoli, thanks to the newly installed lights which helped me to ride comfortably in the dark as well. Pic 7: Difference between illumination of Stock Light (Right) and Aftermarket Light (Left) Finally managed to reach Gopeshwer by 9:15 pm, it was pretty cold there as the town has received a good rainfall in past one hour. By the time I found only few hotels and dhaba which were open. So, booked the room instead of riding till Sagar Village as there were very limited hotels most of them close between 8-9 pm. I was very tired by the time so just unloaded my luggage and put my gadgets on charging and slept.