My first ever trek/hike…it was an amazing experience..mixture of emotions, highs nd lows, lot of learnings,lot of revelations nd finally a new perspective to life..life is all about appreciating little things !!!
Warning: this post will be long as it is more of self documentation as I do not want to miss any moment of ths experience …So readers, read it at ur own risk :p
There are 4 days to this trek nd I call d first two days as lows nd the next two days as highs, as u will knw once u read thru…
The journey starts frm manali…v wer all set wid hiking shoes,trek pole, jackets, ponchos etc etc..ther was a gathering fr all d trekkers at rambaugh circle..I was sitting there a bit excited, a bit worried if i wil b able to bear d cold weather, if I wil b able to do d trek, scanning d crowd fr ppl like me..since my gang (6 of us) was also ther, v got busy chatting nd analyzing d crowd :p ..
We were driven in jeeps to jobra from wher the trek is suposed to start…On the way ther was a small trail wher jeeps dint go and we were asked to walk with our luggage..me,prat nd sravs hav packed two quite heavy back packs…carrying one of them,wid my day pack, i was almost breathless half of d way itself…tht was like a trailer of the trek for me…I was not able to catch my breath nd was getting scared..i dropped d backpack and just sat ther..ther were others passing by asking “tired already!! This is just d beginning”…most of them wer able to move ahead easily along wid luggage..tht made me demotivated nd doubtful about myself..
While we waited fr jeeps to come back, All of us wer introducing each other..ther wer quite some passionate trekkers whch intimidated me and at d same time amazed me..I told myself since I wont b carrying back pack, it might get better…I tried nd got back d enthu…while v wer gng in d jeep, v had a good time singing songs at d top of our voice
We reached d base wher v shud start d trek..us gals in d group started looking fr a place to pee before the trek starts :p (c’mon its quite natural)…while v stood gaurd fr each other nd came back, food was already getting distributed..me nd sravs wer d last to reach nd by d time v cud eat, the TL announced tht v hafto start d trek…the excitement to start nd d fear of being left behind made me leave d food nd start immediately…initially it felt good when I realized I was able to walk on d narrow path on d side of d mountain (having no prior experience).. The mountains wer beautiful wid lush green vegetation (pine nd birch forests) all around..I was able to move with the group, moving step by step..My biggest thanks to my trek pole nd shoes..I realized I can trust these more than I know..however narrow nd steep d trail was, I was able to have a grip nd trek pole was ther for support..being a beginner, this was fascinating fr me..
Then v rechd a river crossing on a log bridge, which was hell scary nd exciting fr d first time..There was river flowing in all its glory below d bridge nd d bridge was nothing but couple of logs placed next to each other with nothing on d side..u hafto balance urself to cross…Thankfully ther was Ravi bhaiyya who held our hand nd helped us cross d bridge safely..
Then v reached a beautiful meadow wid tiny flowers, greenery around nd view of d snow covered mountains..it was a bit uphill nd thtz when I realized I was getting breathless fr almost every five mins…thankfully sravs was wid me everytime I stop for a break..the TL wud say it is ok to get breathless, v shud not sit nd keep moving.. But I was feeling scared, as my heart was racing fast nd was difficult to catch breath..I motivated myself nd moved ahead taking enuf breaks every time ..it was a bit demotivating wen I saw ppl moving ahead, ofcours ther wer ppl behind me also…but ther was none wid me…Tht was wen I realized tht “each of us hafto walk alone in our journey..no one will stop nd wait for us”…philosophy of life learnt in dis trek 🙂 :p
With great difficulty v rechd d camp at Chika….I was all down, but forced some enthu nd hope in me..after all it was d first camping of my life..camping in tents at almost 10,000ft above sea level was amazing.v had hot chai and got back into our tent..3 of us in d tent started sharing our experiences nd how scared v were..ther was dinner at 7:30 nd it got pretty chilly outside..v had our food nd got into our sleeping bags nd slept warm nd cosy…another thng tht I can never forget is d tibetan toilets 🙂 (u can google it for more info)
Next day mrng sun rays woke me up at 5:30 itself…but I was feeling tired nd lazy to get out of d sleeping bag…TL announced tht breakfast is ready by 7:30 nd v hafto start fr d trek by 8:30…Another major task was brushing teeth wid the ice cold water..I was a bit scared as today’s trek was supposed to b fr 6 hours and to a higher altitude.. If I was not able to do fr 3 hours previous day, will I b able to trek fr 6 hrs, was d question. But me nd sravs decided tht v will treat ths as d last day of d trek nd give our best…By d time v finished packing d sleeping bags nd our back packs, the TL was announcing all of us to get around nd get ready…
The trek started frm chika…it was all ascent and I was facing difficulty catching my breath…ther were mixed thougts in my mind.. At times, I was thinking tht I shud not give up nd push myself..after almost an hour…I was all exhausted, demotivated nd almost on d verge of crying…everytime I sat down to catch my breath, I felt down, depressed…I felt alone and der was none nowhere around…when ppl stopped fr d quick lunch break, looking at all d enthusiastic ppl njoining d trek I felt I was in d wrong place…trekking was not my cup of tea…now all I have to do is to get out alive..I thought I would never go to any trek in my life again..whenever TL told me to keep moving as I sat down to catch breath, I felt angry at him nd felt like saying “will u b responsible if something happens to me…no right!! U already hav a disclaimer signed by us…so let me keep myself alive” …I know it sounds a bit exaggerated and dramatic, but wat to do, thtz how I felt tht time :p
We set again walking,climbing rocks with my regular breaks…then v rechd a glacier, a steep stretch of snow with a river wid chilled water below it…as expected d snow is slippery nd one wrong step wud make u fall in d river…all of us were damn scared…initially our ATL made some tracks nd asked us to follow..but it was difficult to hold our foot in d snow.upon tht our ATL says tht ‘if v slip nd fall in d river, v will instantly die of hypothermia…ther r diff types of hypothermia-pulmonary nd nervous..it wil b lyk d Titanic mvie..blah blah’…all ths was not necesary at tht moment nd it scared us more…then ravi bhaiya came to d rescue, held our hands nd made us cross it safely..
After a bit more of crossing d rocks, there came the scary river crossing. V had to remove our shoes nd cross the river on bare foot in chilling water tht comes till above d knees..the rocks were slippery, we were asked to hold hands in a chain form nd slowly cross…the water was biting cold nd the rocks were slippery, v wer slipping nd almost falling many times… By the time v were out, our feet were numb nd paining like hell, I cudnt stop my tears..I was already depressed by that time nd this made me give up hope..frm ther v started again on our jrney …ther were 2 other glacier stretches whch I crossed wid help frm bhaiya nd only the will in me to survive…then v came on a narrow track on d edge of d mountain wid nothing on d other side…one wrong step nd u fall deep down into d valley into river…by ths time i was completely weak, out of breath nd wid zero levels of motivation…I started feeling giddy, mind losing control over my steps nd was scared I might fall down any moment…tht was wen I gave up nd sat down..ppl crossed me asking me if I was alright, I will b OK etc etc…one of dem offered me water nd called d ATL…felt gud at d gesture..ATL got d TL who gav me a pill nd asked me to rest fr cupl of mins nd come wid bhaiya..
Bhaiya waited fr me nd I was back on feet after a while mustering some strength..he held my hand and assured tht I wont fall…after this bit of attention,I felt good…we crossed another glacier while chatting wid bhaiya on d way…I felt better 🙂 …on d way ther was someone else who fell sick nd bhaiya had to attend to him…I continued alone wid some forced strength in heart though my mind was giving all possible negative thoughts..then ther was a small river crossing which I almost fell nd got my shoes wet frm inside…walking became even more tough frm here…Upon tht it started raining nd had to wear d long poncho whch was coming in d way everytime I had to climb…by this time I lost all energy nd had to literally drag myself foot by foot…I dint haf d energy to talk to anyone or smile or look around nd admire d beatiful nature around us…I was walking all alone nd was feeling “wat is d point of this trek wen am not able to njoi the beautiful nature around me”… Reet joined me and tried cheering me up…but I was so energyless I cud hardly make energy to atleast smile at her…such a sweet gal!!
Finally rechd d camp site (11,000 ft) at Balu ka Ghera nd I felt relieved…I rechd our tent and got inside…all my clothes wer wet, shoes wet nd zero enthu…I realized my frends wer also in d same state…we came to knw tht hampta pass was closed due to bad weather nd next days return back on d same path v came
3 of us wer already depressed nd started feeling feverish nd I was still feeling shortness of breath due to altitude.. v came back to d tent, packed our stuff nd got to sleep hoping to get away frm all this d next day..
Thtz hw the 2nd day ended…
Note: my opinion abt the whole trek may sound a bit negative fr now, but doesnt mean it is bad…my judgement was obviously clouded by my disapointment, frustration nd bad health…But things got better in d next 2 days 🙂 🙂