More than a year since I completed the best trek of my life- Rupin Pass, Himalayas at 15,500 ft altitude. An 8 day long trek covering 72 kms from Uttrakhand to Himachal Pradesh. A delightful experience it was, camping on snow, on grass, by the river side and also by the mountain side. I strongly believe that every individual can be an inspiration. Every individual can teach us something in life. I learned from each one of the individuals that I got to travel with during this trek.
Age is just a number
The trek was a reunion for 5 doctors after 2 decades. A neurologist, a cardiologist, a doctor cum farmer were part of the gang of 5 and the rest of us had no worry as we had so many to take care of us. There was also a gang of 4 gentlemen and a lady, part of the trek, all above the age of 50 who trek together every year in the Himalayas. They comprised a marriage counselor who was bold enough to travel as a single lady, a senior bank manager and an ex-chief financial officer of a big shot company who quit his job at 57 to trek since last 5 years.
There was a mid-forties couple by choice, a widower who is a cardiologist and the other, a divorcee who is in the fashion industry. They told me about their adventures and their yearly travel calendar. One Himalayan trek a year, two foreign trips a year along with adventure sports, one local trek every 3 months in the western ghats and weekend gateways once in a while. On hearing that, I dreamt of finding such a partner and travelling the world.
The couple was enthusiastic throughout and they used to keep pumping up the rest of the folks with their constant updates on the height we reached, the distance we traveled, the temperature etc. While the quickest ones would always race to the top, with the travel couple and the quit-job-to-trek-for-life individual always finishing in the top 5, the others took their own peaceful time.
Seek inspiration from everyone around
Our camp lead based out of Mumbai, aged 24, had quit his decent paying job and spent months trekking in the states of Himachal, Uttrakhand and Sikkim. He told us, it was a lifestyle choice he made. 2 CA graduates were on their first ever trek and they chose one of the most difficult ones to start with. They ended up being my tent-mates sharing anything and everything under the tent.
Its not always the elderly that inspire you. Sometimes, younger people can make you envy them. Much younger people. A twelve year old Harry Potter geek or even otherwise, was on her 5th trek in the Himalayas. She has been doing it since she was 8. A 16 year old paragliding pilot who went on to pursue her interest in gliding, taking the unconventional route in life.
Blissful days without connectivity or internet, we either spent our time seeking solitude, sharing stories, picking on each other or playing card games. The 16 year old pilot taught me how to play UNO and a bunch of other card games. An aspiring school going doctor who had set foot on 10 countries and a crazy second year graduate student, with her cute, funny and lost expressions, were the other 2 in our gang of seven younger lot.
The porters and the cooks were the most supportive. Huge respect to them for the great work they out up in helping us carry the goods, in serving us food and in making our trek easier. On the last but one day, we all skid down the snow over 2 kms which was an adventure of its own kind. Travelling through the last hanging villages in the two states, the energy and enthusiasm everybody showed made the trip all the more memorable.
We walked through the woods, crossed rivers, climbed mountains, slipped on snow, drenched ourselves through rain and experienced 8 snowfalls and a hailstorm during the trek. The soothing sound of the river flowing, the touch of a cool breeze on your face, the smell of fresh grass, the taste of rain drops and the sight of snow capped mountains. Need I say more on how enchanting the trek was?
On reaching the highest point on the peak after a life changing and breathtaking climb, I screamed my heart out in joy(stupid movie scenes, I tell you). I was asked not to do so as it might resonate and cause some danger. My tent-mate exclaimed, ‘A feeling like never before. I feel like I have captured the mountains.’ To which the cardiologist replied, ‘Be careful with your words, you’ll never know when an avalanche might strike. You can only be humbled by the beauty of mountains and you can never capture it.’
As tiring and difficult it seemed, the more memorable and adventurous, it was.