The Journey so far…
Day 2 | Nainital – Almora – Chaukori via Sheraghat – Berinag
20th December 2012: Well, we started late this day with a view of magnificent mist floating over the calmness of Nainital Lake in the morning. I clicked few pictures, the sky was clear and we were all set to witness the snow cladded peaks much closely from Chaukori Having just an easy drive of about 6 hrs in mind for Chaukori from Nainital via Almora, we decided to start the day late as well. Had our breakfast with ease, which was again tasty enough, cleared our bills and went ahead towards Chaukori without wasting further time!!
The BLUNDER I did was that I did not ask the directions to Almora from the local and had in my memories a signboard of Almora near Kaladhungi from last day from where we started our ascend to Nainital about 34 KMs down 😯 😯 … We kept driving for couple of hours only to find that I took the WRONG TURN and instead of going towards the direction of Almora from Nainital, we went all the way back towards Haldwani – Kathgodam 😥 almost 90+ KMs more and that too in PEAK TRAFFIC hours 😥 :cry:… It was seriously a painful drive and when I was about to reach Haldwani then I realized my mistake because Almora is just 65 KMs from Nainital and must have come within 2 Hrs. It had already been 2.30 Hrs and I cannot see any signs of Almora and we were near Kathgodam. Actually, there is a route of about just 16 KMs from Nainital that directly reaches to the point near Bhowali, the one route that goes towards Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal meeting on main Highway going towards Almora 🙁 🙁 … Almora is just 50 odd KMs from that junction :D. This along with late start of the day only meant that now we need to PUSH really hard to make it to Chaukori within daylight because in winters days are short too. We have covered a tiring 90+ KMs extra almost 3-4 Hrs of journey more owing to congested traffic due to peak hours. I pushed the accelerator without any other thoughts and all pictures of the day posing with the junior were gone for the party now… But, he was enjoying the drive, unaware of all things what has happened around and so was my wife :D.
Finally, around 4 PM we reached Almora where we were supposed to reach by 1 PM and then the bad thing happened that Junior threw out the milk and vomited. We had to clean the car, Junior, change his clothes and all resulted in more time. However, I was worried about the Junior if he was fine or not but he was. I felt the new dzire was responsible equally with the curvy roads of Kumaon and the extra speed with which I was driving to amend the lost time. Driving slow is the key (about less than 15-20 KM/Hr) while taking turns/curves to keep nausea of the passengers away and I was shooting it way ahead. Anyways, Junior was all set to travel ahead and after that he spent most of the time sleeping 😀 … At Almora, we took the route to Chaukori via Sheraghat – Berinag which was about 115 KMs, meaning about 4-4.5 Hrs more to reach. I started pushing hard again and we were all missing the beautiful drive through the dense forests on that route. By now, we were even seeing the snow clad peaks far away but the pressure was to reach Chaukori due to one blunder. We just ogled the beauty outside while drive only without clicking any pictures or relaxing. At one stage while Saurabh was driving, I too felt nausea and had to ask to stop the car. Then, I stepped out of the car to inhale some fresh air from outside. WOW, it was bone chilling outside in between the forest. But, after a little walk the nausea settled. I thought it as normal and then sat at the front seat from back. This helped somehow.
Soon the sun faded away and it was all dark. There was nothing to lookout but just drive that single long road towards Chaukori via Berinag. Finally we hit the T Section at Raiagar from where left goes towards Berinag – Chaukori and right goes towards Patal Bhuvaneshwar Chaukori was just 22 KMs away from there and we could take a sense of easy breath now. Thankfully the roads from Almora all the way to Chaukori were in really good condition apart from one or two small very bad stretches. I had seen pictures of the route and knew it was something magical what we were missing while driving at night and had already missed 🙁 … But, anyways we finally reached Chaukori.
I had booked KMVN Guest House at Chaukori and it was right on the road at the corner side with some fantastic or perhaps the best views of the snow cladded peaks in entire Chaukori. There was even a tower to climb up and get the clear view of the sun coming out of the mystic mountain peaks. We immediately checked-in after the tiring and running day. I had booked the room for 3 but Dhruv joined us at the last moment, so the guy offered us a room for 4 and luckily it was available for the 2 days we wanted to stay at Chaukori. Something getting our way finally in the day 😉 …
We quickly settled down, kiddo as usual immediately got a relief and started running around. We had our dinner in the restaurant area as the KMVN guys do not serve food in rooms. Food was decent enough, light and tasted fine. Kiddo immediately got his attention from all the tourists around with his naughtiness, mingled with them as if he knew them since long. After some fun it was time to call off the very long and forgettable day but with lesson learnt. The night appeared really cold but quilts were decent enough to save us from it. Next day was all set for relaxing in and around Chaukori and witness the fabulous work of nature at Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
The Journey ahead…
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