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  • Writer's picturesrikant-sharma

Trekking – One Step at a Time

Living in concrete jungles and slogging round the clock for MNCs brings in a routine which one desperately wants to break from. With an experience of working with large corporates for over a decade, I was no different. I too had a feeling of being tied by invisible ironclad chain of monotonous routine, and irrespective of city I lived in or industry I worked for this feeling persisted. With this persistent feeling of being slave to corporate routine, urge to break free grew equally stronger. In all these years, I had travelled to various destinations, which either were cities with beaches or mountains or simply ones with different paints on their walls. However, with a laptop in luggage and mobile phone always in pocket, it never felt like a break, rather it was just change in work location and intensity. So it was natural inclination when I saw one of my colleague frequently venturing out for trekking in Himalayan range of northern India. Experiences which she shared were both exciting and scary at the same time. Thought of sleeping in tents packed in sleeping bags were exciting enough to get motivated and plan for one trip, on the other hand thoughts of getting stuck in heavy rains with no roof to cover ourselves brought back some sense in my mind. This dilemma continued for a while and it took quite a few months for me to make up my mind to experience this walk in Himalayan wilderness though ‘Hampta Pass’.

Planning and Preparation

Planning for this trek was done almost around 6 months in advance and took almost over five to six weeks for seven of us to arrive to this conclusion. Given the diverse group, in terms of trekking experience, perception of challenges were also different for each of the five first timers. For few it was just a walk of few kilometres through entire day and for others like me it was unknown difficulty which will go on to define my entire experience. Build-up to the trek was no less exciting than the trek itself, as it called for change in daily routine to include running and core building exercises. Prior to this my gym routine used to resemble to that of an individual with new year resolution to hit gym daily only to give it away in a week time. Mails from Bikat Adventures, our travel partner, were regular and each one of them highlighted importance of physical fitness and provided with benchmarks to track and compare our preparedness. And to meet its benchmark was really a task on its own, specially at the time when others around were sure that the chosen trek is easy and requires walk of just six to seven kilometres everyday and hence nothing to worry. I kept on alternating between running and exercises in a hope that by the time we go for this adventure I would be in a state to not falter mid-way and spoil the experience.


Excitement started brewing strong from the time we reached airport and by the time we started our trek it was sky high. Thoughts of being away from world at large for next four days was overwhelming. The bumpy ride, which we took to reach the starting point, gave us more than a hint of things to come, yet high on excitement we chose to ignore it. First half an hour of the trek was like walking in bliss, once we crossed the woods we were welcomed by lush green meadows and fresh breeze hitting against face. Our eyes were just trying to absorb all what it could see and make a mental picture of scenic view all around. Yet despite the excitement and fun we were having, reality struck in first day itself. The walk which was easiest of the entire trip went long enough to test our patience. At hindsight, while the day was easy on us, expectation was of far more relaxed start to the trek and that was the reason why, by end of day one, a sense of caution was stepping in.

It was just one hour into the trek and there came a point where our smooth trail was interrupted by pair of large boulders one at chest height and other affixed to the ground, with its surface sloping down the valley. Crossing the boulder would have been easy, if there was something to hold on to or if the fall from that height would not have caused me fear for my life. Position of the boulder was such that I had to keep my right foot on the slope and trust the grip of my shoes to hold me there while I swing my left leg to the other end from where the trail was back to normal. Though it has been few months since I came back from the trek, yet the scary moment I came across on that first day is still fresh enough to raise my heartbeat even today. Those walking ahead of me, had been to these treks earlier so they simply walked through it. I was dumbstruck, as those ahead had already crossed and those behind haven’t reached yet. It was fight of sense versus pride within myself, as I didn’t want to wait for others to catch up with me waiting at this juncture which others have already crossed and neither was I brave enough to risk my life. Though this internal struggle was momentary, yet it felt long enough for me to reflect on what all could go wrong if my next step didn’t hold ground the way I want it to. My pride trying to win this battle knocked some sense in me signifying number of trekkers, both experienced and freshers, who would have crossed ahead of me, not just today rather on a daily basis and are still alive to tell their tale. This made me decide to cross the boulder, and how it went could be easy for you all to guess as I am still alive to share my experiences.

Experience from second day onwards were different, walk on the boulders which almost made me think on my life choices were now the norm. Trust on my shoe soles were far higher than what it was a day prior. Over next two days we walked through different terrains from meadows to boulders and from crossing rivers to walking on snow. Drinking water from river flowing by and sitting on the rocks to rest our tired asses felt so natural and pleasant. It was a journey back to memory lanes where as a kid in our home town, we would just stay out entire day playing in sand and walk hours just to see the sun rise from top of the hill. Living with this so called educated societies spoiled me and hence walk amidst nature was so much fun. The group of seven who came for this trek had now been divided in two, one who was enjoying the journey and other which was cursing it. Experiences of crossing a river bare foot when we had freezing cold water flowing made all of us curse our decision to go in this trek, yet it lasted only for less than a minute, exactly the time it took us to cross the river. Once on the other side of the bank, we were beaming with smile as we successfully added another first in our book of life experiences.

Reaching Hampta Pass point was physically challenging, yet barring few occasions on each of the three days it was not life threatening. The exuberance which all of us had was notable, as despite all the challenges we managed to continue the journey and completed it. Or at least that’s what I thought that once I cross this point it would be over, after all physics has always taught us that walking against gravity is far more difficult than walking towards it. However, when we started our journey back from heights to plain land, another lesson taught by academic lost battle with the practical experiences of life, which I was going through. I realised walking up the mountain was difficult as pace at which I walked was completely defined by my strength, however that was not the case while coming down. Efforts to control the pace which gravity was compelling me to follow was far more and result of surrendering to gravity was no loss of time but loss of life. While descending, I was hell scared entire time, may be as it was my first attempt to come down the slopes on small uneven slippery trails.


It was brilliantly put across by one of our team members, who said “Out of ten individual who come on trek for the first time, while seven will end up hating the experience and decide never to come back, three of them will start liking the experience to try and explore it once again in future and among those three only one falls in love with it”. Well having done only one trek so far I am not in a situation to say if I fall in the category who ends up loving it, yet I can surely say I am not the one who will ever hate it. This trek was just one of many treks I will go in future, yet the pleasant and enriching experience which I had on first time around will be cherished for rest of my life. I think my pleasant experience was purely on account of the preparation I did for the trek, which allowed me to enjoy the views, and credit for this goes to the colleague who out of her own experiences made us aware of the challenges which we might face and ensured we go well prepared for the journey. While mails from our travel partner were on the same lines, yet our education and corporate experiences always make us ignore what’s told to public at large and not shared with us at individual level.

I believe completing trek is only a small aspect and enjoying this wonderful experience is completely different. At the end, trek was nothing but series of walks and rests which I went through each day. Every time I used to start walking after a short breather, my heart rate would sky rocket, body would scream that take rest and thanks to this routine of running and exercise, my mind would calmly say, hang in for few minutes and rest will be easy to manage. The experience I went through felt so liberating, primarily on account of no contact from outside world and for the fact that only what mattered during entire trek was where and how I land my next foot.

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