Jack Morison, a famous river runner from America, rafted through the Tons for the first time in 1980. A commercial trip covering full length of the glacial Tons, the largest tributary of the Yamuna River, was organized six years later for an extensive exploration. Jack died in 2008 but many runners have stepped into his shoes and they keep trying to tame delicate froth of the Tons.
Fifteen-kilometer-long commercial rafting section in the Upper Tons has become popular. But other parts are not rafted frequently.
What makes the Tons River challenging and interesting?
The boulders and rocks hemming the minty Tons cover large part of the course, making it a narrow stream. The river is also not as deep as the Ganga in Rishikesh. Therefore, whitewater of the Tons are more challenging. These boulders and rocks create trains of small currents within the rapids, making rapids difficult to negotiate. If your raft overturn or you fall in the river, you have more chances to get hurt. In addition to physical challenges, Jaunsar Bawar settlements in the Valley of the Tons that is known for moody weather offer an opportunity for a rich cultural experience.
How does the Tons River form?
The Tons has four principal glacial tributaries: Rupin Gad, Supin Gad, Harkidun Gad, and Ruinsara Gad. Except the first one, all four are native of Uttarakashi District in Uttarakhand. The source of the first two tributaries lies near the state border of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. However, the source of the Rupin is in Himachal Pradesh and that of the Supin in Khimloga Glacier in Uttarakhand. The source of the Harkidun Gad lies in the Jamdar Glacier, whereas the Ruinsara Gad originates from the Banderpunch Glacier. The Harkidun and the Ruinsara mountain torrents meet at Harirai Thatch. This composite stream tumbles down as the Tons River and receives waters of the Supin near Sankri and waters of the Rupin near Netwar. The Rupin and the Supin streams join the Tons from west. The Ruinsara connects with the Tons from the east.
Then the composite stream of the Tons merges into the Yamuna at Dakpathar in Dehradun District. Since the sources of these rivers lie in the Greater Himalayas, the rivers carve their courses through difficult terrain and roar and jump over many obstacles, creating white frothy waters that draw attention of kayakers and rafters. The river sources afford views of tall Himalayan peaks, including Bandarpunch (6,320 meters) and Swargarohini (6,250 meters).