Trek To Vashisht Valley – Acute Mountain Sickness Prevention

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Vashisht Valley Trek To Jugni Waterfalls

I reached Manali with my cycle in the last week of May 2018. I had plans of cycling to Solang Valley, Nagar, Rohtang Pass & Manali. Cycling in mountains is tough. Especially when you have to cope up with the AMS (Acute mountain sickness). My friend advised me to do a small trek to Vashisht Valley so that I get acclimatized to the mountains. I started around 11 AM from Manali and reached Vashisht temple via the Leh-Manali highway. Just take a left from the Bridge which connects Nagar and Leh from Manali.

“The best part of hiking up Vashisht Village is the Jugni Waterfall. Amazing as it sounds, the scene is quite spectacular”

Nature Park In Manali On The Way To Vashisht Village
Nature Park In Manali On The Way To Vashisht Village

What Is AMS? Is It Dangerous?

Acute mountain sickness occurs in high altitude places like Ladakh when there is a scarcity of oxygen in the air. This is, in fact, the biggest challenge which people face while traveling to high altitude areas.

“Symptoms are nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue or weakness, dizziness or lightheartedness and lack of sleep”

Severe AMS can cause brain damage and even death.

I would advise people to travel Ladakh via Simla route taking the Kaza valley. Reason being that the altitude increases gradually, which gives your body to get acclimatized to high altitude places with low oxygen. You can also take the Srinagar-Leh route. Srinagar – Leh Highway is lower in altitude than Manali – Leh Highway, with the highest point being 13,479ft (4,108mtr), Fotu La pass. In comparison, Manali – Leh Highway’s highest point is 17,585ft (5,360mtr), Tanglang La pass. And for the 200km long stretch between Zingzing Bar and Rumtse Village, altitude never dips below 13,780ft (4,200mtr).

Do We Have Any Medicine To Counter Act The Symptoms Of AMS?

Yes, we do. Diamox is the name. This lifesaver is available at any medical shop in the valley. This medicine speeds up the acclimatization process. I had a word with one of my friend who is a doctor and tried finding out how does this medicine actually works. Here is what he had to say about Diamox. PS: He did a trip to Tibet and this is how he took the medicine.

It is recommended to take half a tablet (250 MG), twice per day. Once in the morning, once half an hour before bed.(Consult Your Doctor First) Also it is advisable that you start taking Diamox once you reach Manali.

About 1 hour after taking the first 1/2 tablet, you need to visit the toilet few times in fairly quick succession. Diamox is a mild diuretic – it makes you expel water from your body. Drink plenty of water.

Throughout your trip take the Diamox every day in the same manner – 1/2 a tablet in the morning and 1/2 a tablet 30 minutes before bed. Drink copious amounts of water – 2 to 3 liters per day. The air is incredibly dry and dehydration can increase the chance of altitude sickness.

It is useful to take the Diamox at night before sleeping. This helps to reduce the strange phenomenon known as “periodic breathing” or “Cheyne Stokes respiration.” When this happens, your breathing alternates between rapid breathing and almost not breathing at all for a short time. You might sleep better if it can be reduced as it is a bit frightening for some people.

Observations If You Do Exactly As Stated Above
  • No symptoms of altitude sickness – not even headaches.
  • No noticeable side effects from taking the medication.
The Way To Vashisht, Jugni Waterfall

You take a left from the bridge and walk towards the Vashisht Temple. It is hardly a couple of kilometers to the temple.

Take a left from the Manali Bridge towards Leh Highway.
Take a left from the Manali Bridge towards Leh Highway.

The way is amazing and the scenes are spectacular. Once you reach the temple there is a way to Jugni waterfall. Nothing like build roads but a nature trail. The experience of walking through the nature trail is blissful. Take a look at the picture below! Something like this you would encounter.

Nature trail at Vashisht Village.
Nature trail at Vashisht Village.

Do not get confused with the small water fountains on the way. You have to hike till the top where the waterfall originates. Beyond this point, you can go, however, you will have to do “Brighu Trek”. This trek is next on my list.

Another picture of the trail on which we hiked and reached Jugni Waterfall.

Nature Trail At Vashisht!
Nature Trail At Vashisht!

Upon reaching the top of Vashisht Valley, the feeling of accomplishment kicks in. Your body gets used to hard physical activity and starts adjusting to the high altitude.

My Vlog

I started making Vlog while I was hiking this beautiful hill. Upon reaching the waterfall the view looks like this.

Jugni Waterfall At Vashisht Valley
Jugni Waterfall At Vashisht Valley

I made a Vlog and uploaded it to my YouTube Channel. I am sharing the same Vlog in this article as well for you all.

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Happy cycling!

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