Obviously, I could go on and on about the trek as it was full of ups and downs. However, I am going to try to keep it short for the time being. I will give an overview of the trek and talk about the challenges I thought were most difficult.
We started our trek right outside of a local village. It was beautiful and a great campsite to start to get used to using our equipment properly in the field. As we finished our evening debrief, we realized that this trek was going to be difficult. When morning came it was time to pack up everything and move to our next location, which in most cases is unknown because of a multitude of factors. For example, the weather or how well the group is functioning.
We began hiking and approached the village within the first couple hours of our hike. Here we spoke a little bit of Hindi to the villagers, so we could find the temple. For some background information, all villages have temples somewhere close by. Anyways we rested at the temple for some time before setting off yet again. We continued walking for two or three more hours before we stumbled upon another village. At this point, we needed to find a campsite for the night. We went into the village greeting all the villagers. Eventually, we took a break right by a small meadow, this is where I made the approach to an older lady, and with the help of our guide “G” was able to ask if we could camp there for the night. As expected, because of the villager’s great hospitality she said we were allowed. We set up camp and then began a brief storm when we started cooking. Luckily, we were still able to make a great dinner and get to bed at a good time.
We woke up the next morning and quickly gathered our gear, had breakfast, and went on our way. This day we ascended a lot over the first couple of hours. I’m guessing around twelve hundred feet. This is where the views of the mountains began to become amazing. We took a pack-off break where we thought we would finish our hike for that day; however, we were instructed to go further to a better campsite. Even though everyone was super tired we went another few kilometers and crossed a river to make it to a better campsite. We stayed in this somewhat flat meadow for an extra day to acclimate and rest. During the rest of the day, we recovered and had a bunch of free time to read, and a bunch of other things. I took time to read a bit as well as carve my walking stick with my knife. Eventually, the time here winded down and we had to prepare for another major ascent the next day.
We woke up and possibly had the best breakfast, which was biscuits and gravy. Then we went on our way. We went to near our maximum elevation on this day, which was exciting as I was looking forward to going as high up as possible. The hike was smooth until a storm brought a ton of rain and wind. We frantically set up our tents and took cover from the rain. An issue at this sight was we didn’t have water, so we took snow let it down, and used that for everything. During this process everyone had a role that distracted us for a while, during this the rain stopped and the views opened. It was amazing, out of nowhere snow-capped mountains surrounded us. Night came quickly and everyone was focused on staying warm throughout the night and mentally preparing for the hike the next day. This next hike involved snow, and I mean a lot of snow.
We hiked or some would say scaled a mountain covered in snow for six to seven kilometers. This was easily the hardest part of the trek as major injury could have happened if we slipped. Luckily, we made it past the snow, but then the issue of no water occurred. Everyone was super tired, but we got extremely motivated knowing we completed an insanely hard feat. We eventually made it to a campsite after walking about four or five more kilometers. Since everyone was so tired, we relaxed here for an extra day.
After the rest day, we continued to a meadow between two villages. This was amazing and not that long of a hike, which was nice. When we got to the campsite, we had to ask the villagers if we could stay there, without the help of our guides. It was an experience, but luckily the tent drawing one of us made worked out for us. We stayed here for a rest day as well.
After a few days here we gathered our gear for the last hike we went through a village, where I played cricket and we witnessed a ceremony for the villager’s ancestors. After relaxing for a bit, we continued our hike. Finally, we made it to the final camp which was between two rivers. It was peaceful and nice to have background noise when we went to sleep. The next morning, we got picked up and began to travel home. I can go into so much more detail about the trek and every stop, but I want to keep it somewhat short for now.
The biggest challenges for me were obviously the weather and navigating to good campsites. We overcame the weather by having the correct gear, such as raincoats and pants for the rain and gloves for the snow. Navigating to campsites became easier as time went on because we knew more phrases and how to communicate.
Overall, the entire trek experience was amazing, and I will never forget it. Going this high in elevation, seeing the views, and experiencing the culture will be lifelong memories.
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