We had already made up our mind to visit this tiny hamlet, Gushaini and do the Rolla Trek in the Great Himalayan National Park after suggesting by one of the locals in Jibhi, who was also the campsite owner. Though, few of the group members were refusing as they were not interested to test their physical fitness. Fortunately, I convinced all the members and we headed towards Gushaini from Jibhi.
Read Part 1 – Exploring Jibhi & Jalori Pass
Gushaini is around 20 km from Jibhi and the route bifurcates from Banjar. We drove to Banjar and took the right turn to enter the region of Tirthan Valley. The scenes changed a bit and it became more gorgeous. The road was along the Tirthan river having tall pines, the valley turned narrow, the forest turned dense and the best thing was that it was lesser crowded as compared to Jibhi. Soon we reached the entry gate of the Great Himalayan National Park at Sai Ropa. The place has a forest office along with a rest house and a dormitory. We talked to the forest ranger and he told us that one has to acquire permits and a guide to trek beyond Rolla but we had planned only up to Rolla for which there were no permits and guide required.
Since we were already late, we quickly got into our car and moved towards Gushaini. Amidst the way, we found several riverside homestays and camp stays which seemed perfect for a soothing experience. In half an hour, we reached the village and got ready for the trek. We took our belongings (raincoat and other essentials), purchased some eatables (biscuits, chocolates, and juices), and enquired about the route from locals. Some locals also suggested that we shouldn’t go there as we were quite late but we thought that we could make up to Rolla and come back before dark by moving fast, hence we began.
Starting the trek
The distance from Gushaini to Rolla is 8 km and is an easy trek however it becomes moderate after passing the entry gate as told by some locals. The initial route was quite wide as it seemed like a road but it was full of mud and wet dirt. We walked around a km and found out that the route was closed due to a landslide. Luckily, we found one local guy who was going to a nearby village through the same route. We followed him but it was not easy as the terrain was steep due to shortcuts and he was walking at his normal speed which was a bit fast for all of us. He made us do that 2 km hike in half an hour.
After that, we were back on the trail and now there was no local villager going further. We were on our own. The trail became narrow and the forest was quite virgin. We continued the trek without taking any rest and reached another tiny village and decided to halt there to have some refreshments. There were a few cafes from one can get a mesmerizing view of the entire valley. Having tea and pakoras in those cute wooden cafes were a treat to us.
We resumed the trek after having delicious pakoras. The trail started getting steeper and as we were moving towards Rolla, the forest was also getting denser. The snowline was also becoming visible. Now there was no one on the trail except us. We hiked all the way to Rolla by singing songs and having fun and finally reached the gate by 6 PM. There was no one in the forest rest house. We spent some time there and then started descending down after clicking some photos.
As we began, it started raining but we decided to not stop as it was getting darker. So we put on our ponchos/raincoats, took a sip of old monk and continued the descent in the rain. The rain was mild so it was not a problem. In just half an hour, it got completely dark and we were alone in the forest. It was a pure thrill for us. We retraced the same route and completed more than half of the route in an hour.
Getting on the wrong trail
We were in a hurry due to the rain and because of that, we went on the wrong trail. We did not know that the route was going to Gushaini or somewhere else but we were sure that we would reach a village at least where we could stay because the water stream was going parallel to the trail. There was no option of returning, so we decided to continue the descent on the same trail.
After continuing for 15 minutes, we found a massive landslide on the trail. Now that was the moment when everyone was looking at each other without saying a single word. In short, we all got scared after seeing the landslide. Since there was no alternate route, we decided to cross that landslide after having a discussion. As I was the experienced one out of all, I volunteered and climbed through that landslide. It was a tough task and a bit risky as well because the mud was wet due to rain which made the climb too slippery.
One by one, all the group members traversed through that landslide and negotiated it successfully without getting injured. We wanted to stop for a while and applaud ourselves for what we did but it started raining heavily. So we began running on the trail to finish the trek as soon as possible. We reached a village in the next 15 minutes and fortunately that village was Gushaini. Then we came to know that it was the same landslide that we saw while going up in the morning. We couldn’t recognize the same as it was completely dark. We got into our car and searched for a hotel for the night stay.
While having dinner, we recalled that moment and discussed how we crossed that landslide. The moment filled all of us with an adrenaline rush. Though it was quite risky but we did not have any other option. At last, we made a memory. 😀
The Rolla trek from Gushaini is an easy trek and goes through the dense forests of the Great Himalayan National Park. The distance is around 7 km and the terrain is very less steep except some stretches. The trail remains lesser crowded and full of lush greenery. Beginners can go for this trek.
Check out the next part
Happy Trails 🙂