Trek Prep!

Today, we spent the day prepping for the 10-day (which got me really excited)! We went over the trail routs, nutrition plans, food prep, and most importantly risk management. One thing thatI’m not going to be used to is consuming a few thousand calories in a day. In order to maintain energy and body heat we’re going to have to really focus on our hydration and nutrition. A really fun part of our day was all the food prep (it honestly made everything seem really real). We all just jammed out to Fleetwood Mac and put all of the food we’re going to be making in bags for each tent group to carry. Lilly and I were on scale duty, so we measured everything out and put it all into bags while the some of the others worked on spices and pile organization. All in all, it was a super fun way to get ready for the trek!

Shantanu then gave us a lecture on risk management in the outdoors and shared a really great story about his leadership role on a Basecamp 1 trek. They were on the last stretch of the trek and with two evacuations already, one person suffering a medical issue, and bad weather coming in, he though that it would be best of the group descended. His team, however, had mixed ideas and couldn’t come to a conclusion. After a couple hours of discussion and no outcome, Shantanu made the decision as the designated leader to stay at the camp for two days and then descend. He them witnessed what he described as the most powerful form of leadership he had seen: a doctor who had been disagreeing with his wilderness first aid training got up walked toward Shantanu and said “Shantanu I respect your decision” and walked out. This is indeed a really powerful form of leadership called active followership, and teams need active followers in order to be productive and safe. Shantanu’s decision was for the best of the group and prioritized safety and it was a great example set by the doctor who had outwardly respected his decision even though he wanted to finish the trek.

One thing that was super exciting about the shakedown was out ability to really experience a different culture. When we came across the village, G spent a little time talking about Hinduism and the temple that the village had. He said that “Hinduism is not a religion, but a belief about beliefs” and he emphasized that people can see god in everyone. I found this to be such a beautiful outlook on life and spiritualism and that’s something that I’m really looking forward to on the trek. During the shakedown, we were actually allowed inside the temple, which was a really special experience. before entering, we had to take off our shoes, wash our hands, and take off anything on our head. while entering the temple, you ring the bell and then bow to their god. When exiting the temple it was imperative that we didn’t turn our backs to their god while exiting, and once we left the temple, we had to walk around the structure once in order to cleanse the energy. I think when encountering any new culture, it is just most important to keep respect in mind and also conforming to their ethnic traditions out of said respect. I really hope that we’ll have all sorts of cultural experiences like this one on the big trek. I know that we’ll be encountering villages while we’re out on Rupin Supin, so it is important to remember the signs of respect while sharing the trails with locals. For one, it is always important to greet those you meet on trail with a simple “Namaste” or prayer hands. In addition, leave no trace ethics will be really important not only for the environment, but also for the local tribes we will encounter. I’m so excited that the day is finally here! We’re leaving for the northern Himalayas tomorrow morning!!