My first high altitude trek in India

Early Morning Wake Up Call.

A wake-up call at 05:00 in the morning somewhere in the Himalayan altitudes, all trekker’s are deep into sleep inside a cozy liner and it is freezing cold outside the tents.

This is the time when most of us, yes “we human beings” are taking a ride into our own dreams. Good or Bad, there is no right answer available even with the dreamer until the time its consciousness takes a toll and the person remember that dream. Another muster call at 05:10 and this time is a loud one, trek group leader on its way, “come on guys wake up wake up it is time to get ready”. Now, at this point of time when you are supposed to move out of your camping tents and overnight warm up liners, there comes over a devil who whisper’s and who want you to snooze down a little more, once twice thrice and until there comes another louder echo wake up call. Getting out of encamping ultimately turns up into an art this time and why not for few who have come down to high altitude trekking for the first time, consciously or unconsciously realizing that it can be cold outside, unlikely to the weather in the city.

A first timer says, “why did I come up to trek here in freezing cold and nobody allows to sleep a little more” and there are others who form up apart into same sluggishness. This is a reality and we are humans, we have the right to be lazy at any time, place or even at the time when we tend to do things differently. Ultimately, this is a really fun and believe me it is a test of one’s fortitude that could turn up many successful pages in our lives

Then what made me think about going for a trek.

One fine evening, while I was driving my way back home from the office I realized that I have been so far so away from nature and have unknowingly restraint myself coerce the abundance of availability of its resources. To my own surprise, it has been a long time and years that I have been to a great Himalayan adventure. I recalled it was the year 2003 when I last did a trek through Rajaji National Park towards Neelkantha in Rishikesh. Now to your surprise, I knew it was a 14 km forest hill trail and people call these walk “a trek” until I realized it in 2016. Counting the number of years gone by and something that could have turned up into a passion wasn’t even in my thoughts. I wasted so many years and never did something I should have done much earlier. I’m sure while reading it, many of you would get a small stint now.

It is always good to question and right now for me was to know that how does it feel when you are away from things that you eagerly want to do and that does not once even let you give over a constructive thought to them. Any person who is in the service industry and especially an IT mind would at least have sailed the same boat for ages.

Is it the right time to plan a vacation or to plan a trek.

When it is the time to plan the trek, there comes a lot of questions that boggles up your mind. Questions like

Which trek should I choose

What all do I need to carry along

Would I be able to trek on a high altitude

Would I be able to complete my trek

How much money do I need for a trek

Fitness required for a trek

How do I request a vacation in office

And much more.

There are answers available to all of the questions above and it is in my own interest to write on them to help and share my experiences in my blogs.

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Ban imposed on Uttarakhand treks, what we foresee

I have been trekking with few organizations including IH during past 2-3 years and I have seen so much of improvement with respect to the trek management. Organizations have evolved and matured over the period of time. However, in the decades of pacing up economies and transitions, there is always a room for better and quick decisions.

Coming onto the respected High Court of Uttarakhand order given on August 21st 2018 (Ref: TOI , Order) as they have imposed a ban on all Uttarakhand treks, I do see some points which aren’t giving justice to not one but many aspects around trekking in Uttarakhand.

  1. Obvious to understand that this ban is turning up to bring a massive economic and social welfare loss.
  2. Booking made prior to the ban will bring frustration and grief among avid trekkers looking at either cancellations or change of plans, it will impact people not only from within India but also keen foreign traveler’s.
  3. Trekking industry in India is doing enormously great, the maturity we have developed in recent years, wasn’t there 10 years before, specially Indian trekkers who seem extremely delighted and active. The ban might bring us back to the past 10 years stage.
  4. Looking from the trek management perspective, the platform itself isn’t as simple as any management company policy. To first draft all sorts of precautionary measures, beginning from a porter to the trekker and then turning it into a practicality with safe environment protocols is a big big deal. With due respect in abiding by the authority and government laws. The ban may shatter the lives of locals to a trekker’s and to organizational teams, years of efforts, lively hood and huge network may blur down in a jiffy. Who would like to see this happening? At least, I don’t.
  5. I have seen and have myself learned to clean up trails, a self discipline in a person works wonderfully in the growth of a small town/region/state/country. IndiaHikes and other organizations have been scaling clean up with a lot of initiatives like  Green Trails around this. And now this would come to a hard stop !
  6. Something which shatters me as a trekker, are the least stringent measures taken on applying rules and protocols on travelling, adventure and treks. Responsible bodies must apply applicable LEAN methodologies and bring stringent measures. Bad part is at times nobody cares the other side.
  7. Some treks and just not simply treks, there are environmental and other scientific research around psychological aspects. Getting a fold on trekking will bring unimaginable research on mankind that teams up with nature will be broken. Even if it is for a short time.
  8. We see a huge loss for next 10 years by not modernizing and not investing in our only needed systems. When only we think about imposing a ban as one part solution, why not think about revamping in the best time efforts. Authorities must rise up all above this and it is good time to reinvest in thoughts in making better socio-culture meanings by adopting measures to drive trekking/camping by workflows and processes.

Deep from the heart I feel, we all as trekkers/trek organizations/locals/ responsible bodies/High Court/ must come together and bring a strong and stringent draft on adventure sports altogether. Do not let a piece be missing from it.

I’m sure we will see a better decision very soon in the interest of all of us who stand together in the interest of adventure sports and trekking.

Until Next Time, Stay Tuned !

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SHALABH SACHDEVA

Even when we Adventure, What goes around, Comes around !

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