Day 3: Ghangria to Valley of Flowers and back
Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,195 m) to 11,500 ft (3,505 m) and back
Time taken: 6-7 hours, 3.7 km each way
Trek gradient: Easy. Flat walk in the valley
Water sources: Carry 2 liters of water. You can refill your water bottles from streams that you will find in the Valley, after a couple of hours of trekking.
Leave Ghangria early (6.00 am) to give yourself the whole day to spend at Valley of Flowers. The trail splits in less than a kilometer. There is a gate to buy entry tickets to the valley. Walk inside and notice the small flowering plants springing up on either side. A kilometer into the gate, there is a scenic bridge across a stream gushing below. Tall rocky mountains rise before you. Notice that the well-laid-out trail has now become a small footway along the side of the valley. The stream flows below you and there are small, hard snow patches by the side. On the trek inside Valley of Flowers, you see very few people around you. This may come across as a big and welcome contrast to the previous day’s trek, where there were hundreds. The scenery has also taken a drastic turn for the better and any direction you turn to looks picture-perfect. Trek along for a couple of kilometers on the flat path and to your right opens up the valley. Cross another rickety bridge and collect water to drink from below. The entire valley is generally a carpet of colors – green, yellow, red, blue. It is surrounded by mountains with trees at lower levels, brown and grey soil in the middle and bright snow at the top. A bright sunny day will ensure deep blue skies completing the picture and taking it beyond your imagination. The valley is really a botanists’ dreamland! One can find flowers, leaves, buds of various shapes, sizes, colors, all growing together. Notice various types of bees and insects hovering on these strange flowers. Walk further into the valley and you will be engulfed with an amazing scent, which unfortunately cannot be captured but can only be felt. The valley stretches 5-7 km further until it ends with a glacier visible at a distance. The stream flows all the way through the valley. Take off your shoes and dip your feet into it to experience the icy cold water.
Prominent flowers that you will see in July-August include Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, White Leaf Hog Foot, and Dog Flower. Carry packed lunch from Ghangria on the Valley of Flowers trek day. There is no food available in the valley. Overnight camping isn’t allowed either. Plan your return along the same path by early afternoon. The afternoon sun falling on the valley from a different direction gives a whole new perspective to the same place you saw in the morning.