Pangot - Naina Peak - Kilbury - Pangot
Trek and Wildlife Safari in the Kumaon Himalayas
Duration: 5 nights and 6 days
Nature of trek: moderate
We start our day early at 0630hours and begin with a hot cup of coffee/ tea at the dining deck.The area near the dining deck also serves as a feeding ground for the birds who turn up everyday without fail. Sit back and take time to finish your tea/coffee as you watch the birds feed and soak in the fresh mountain air.
After breakfast we start our trek from the lodge and first arrive at the Pangot Village. Its just about 150 meters away and is a small village made of a few houses, local shops and a post office. As we pass through the village we get to watch the local people getting on with their daily routine and helps get a glimpse of the humble local culture, ways and mannerisms. One such house is of Mrs Kanti Budhlakoti, an old army widow, from whose house a magnificient view of Corbett national park area & villages around like kotabagh & pawalgarh where Jim Edward Corbett killed 10ft long tiger which was called " Bachelor of Pawalgarh " can be seen. The last house on our way out of the village is extremely attractive with its unique architecture. After walking for about 1.5 kms we reach DHAMDHAMIYA, from where the views of the Himalayan mountains and the nearby villages is a treat to the eyes. From this point, on the right hand side, under the thick oak forests we see the Kilbury Forest rest house camouflaged with its green tin roof.We will make our way there on our way back from Naina peak.
Moving ahead we reach " AKHORWADI where we take a short 10 minute break.In the earlier days this place was used as a shelter for traders who used to travel from one place to another. Its name "akhorwadi" comes from the fact that it is home to a lot of walnut trees. There is also a drought tree that we come across here which was known for its height but now has been reduced to half due to a lightening attack a few years ago. This place is also a birdwatchers playground and we can spot many like the Himalayan woodpecker, fulvous breasted woodpecker, brown - fronted woodpecker, common kestrel, crested serpent eagle & many more species.
Along the trek we also find a lot of diverse landscapes, flora and fauna. There are deep ravines created in the monsoon seasons and small spring water streams along the way. Ghorgatti has a small thin spring where many animals turn up to have a drink. Salimdhar (salim is the name of a type of grass) is beautiful and is especially spectacular when the fog covers the whole area giving it a cloud like feel.
Upto this point we have done about 5kms and are another 2kms short of reaching the highest point of Nanital. Another 30-40 minutes and we reach a height of 2311 mtrs i.e. 8622 ft from the sea level, known as Naina Peak where wireless centre of forest department is located. This place offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks which you can also view with the help of a powerful telescope. The centre run by the forest department generate electricity through solar panels. As we walk a little further down we get a view of lake city "Nainital", with its lake, various buildings and playgrounds. With this picturesque backdrop we stop to have our packed lunch and tea/coffee.We take a break for an hour before we head back to Pangot via Kilbury.
After the much needed break we trek back to Pangot through the Kilbury forest covering a distance of seven kms. Initially you walk down about a kilometre & half towards Nainital, and then turn left towards Kilbury forest. This forest is full of trees mainly oak and rhododendron.This is also a good path to spot many bird species like koklas, kalij pheasants, common kestrel,grey winged blackbird, black red start, bar-tailed treecreeper etc or leopard, Himalayan black bear, civic cat, porcupine, spotted + barking + sambhar deer & wild bore etc. We can also spot the village folk in the forest collecting fodder for their cattle and firewood for their homes. The scenic beauty around reduces your tiredness as you quickly take a 5 minute break.
The Kilbury rest house is just another 3kms. The walk is a little fast paced as its downhill and from the forest rest house we soon walk down to the main road leaving the forest behind. The main road is also although covered with trees on both sides. Another 40minutes and we arrive back at Pangot where we are handed out warm wet towels to freshen up before we are served tea/coffee with cookies. Retire to your rooms and rest before the bon-fire in the evening where experienced of the trek are shared.
Things to carry : Good trekking/ hiking shoes, water bottle, walking stick (if require the support), a small backpack, pen and diary to note down your observations or just scribble your thoughts, Binoculars for a closer look and of course your camera!
Grade - Easy - moderate. Children below 8 years are not encouraged for this trek.