What is the Art Of Trekking? In this blog, trekker Manoj Choubey candidly looks back at his Mukta Top Trek and reflects upon what he learnt
I did Mukta Top trek with Indiahikes in Feb 2020 at the age of 52 years, my first trip under professional guidance. Having done so many trips on the bike, other adventure activities and travelled so wide, what was that I carry from this trek? – asked our guide on the last day.
I pondered on the question. I consider myself a wanderer. No expectation, no aspiration and no inhibition would be my mantra. What could I take from a trek? So what changed this time?
Picture by Leo Saldanha
I learnt the art of trekking if I may say.
- I learnt to pack my bags effectively.
- I now know so much more about trekking gears and shoes. I learnt to tie shoelaces correctly (surgeons knot). I can guide them on more such knots used during trekking and camping.
- I learnt to share space with totally strangers.
- I can guide co-trekkers on stargazing.
- I learnt about so many Himalayan peaks and read stories associated with them from our scriptures.
- I tried my hand on photography. Now the simple DSLR, inspired me to talk of aperture, shutter speed, time-lapse and so on, rather than auto mode.
- Yes, pitching, un-pitching and rolling a tent is just another regime for me.
- I learnt washing my own dishes in the most economical use of water.
- I learnt the ill effects of wet wipes in the mountains.
- I learnt the effective use of pit type toilets and about its virtues.
- I could guide the youngsters on map reading and trail marking to some extent.
- Identification of the flora and fauna in the area could be a good homework.
- A great sense of elation prevailed to learn yet another aspect of the people in these mountains. I learnt that they produced and collected 90% of their need from the fields and forest around. All food grains and vegetables were grown in the fields. The spices were obtained from the forest. Ingredients like oil were derived from mustard and walnuts.
- Livestock bred were a source of milk, egg, meat, fur, leather and wool.
- Freshwater fish from the tributaries of Assi Ganga too formed a staple diet for most of the villagers.
- Local wines from rice brewed at home added to the happiness quotient of some.
- The driftwoods brought down by the river, the bamboo and other various types of woods from the forest around and rocks from the mountains were beautifully cut and carved to form basic shelter and furniture. Every local was an artisan, a carpenter, a plumber…..and you name it, in himself and or herself. The hand-woven colourful winter attires were work of art in itself.
- The Govt. Reach in terms of cooking gas to every household, was something the villagers were very happy about as it allowed them both, saving on effort to collect firewood as well as environmental conservation.
- Carrying a green-bag for my weekly walks doesn’t make me feel awkward.
And here, I had our guide asking me on the last day of our trek what do I carry home!!!