Taking a different trail is always an exciting prospect. An alternative trail from Didina campsite to Ali Bughyal can be attempted by the adventurous lots. The trail passes by the dense oak forest of Tolpani village and the meadows of Tolkaan. The trail to Tolpani is to the left of the Didna camp site. The trail to Tolpani is a steady climb through some of the densest oak you’ll see and a never ending brown carpet of leaves. Tolpani a cluster of shepherd’s hut 3 kms away and 1,000 ft higher. They are found inhabited only during the trekking season. At Tolpani the trails wind briefly in a northerly direction, and then climbs a ridge through a series of switchbacks. The steep switchback climb through the dense oak forest is seductive. After ascending 1400 feet (from Didina), you reach Tolkaan, a small grassy clearing in the oak forest.
Tolkaan at an altitude of 10,000 feet, is a welcome grassy opening at the top of the switchback climb. Surrounded by dark oak forests all around, it is a delight to rest at the clearing. At Tolkaan, the trail turns left to head towards Ali Bugyal. The steep climb is replaced by a steady gentle climb on the ridge top. At a distance you can glimpse the start of Ali Bugyal and the end of the tree line.
If you are taking this route remember to fill your water bottles next to the stream in Didina. The next water point is at Tolpani, an hour and half away. Keep in mind the next water point will only be at Ali Bughyal. So try taking this route as the climb to Tolkaan is refreshing and helps you acclimatize and be better prepared for the Roopkund trek.
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