We speak to Pankaj Risbood, who did the Kashmir Great Lakes with Indiahikes in August 2012. Right from cooking with other trekkers to marching alongside heavenly lakes, he enjoyed every bit of it.
Q. Why did you choose this trek?
My primary reasons to go for a trek were to push myself beyond my comfort zone and to get away from civilization for some time. The pictures on the Indiahikes website for the Great Lakes Trek were amazing and were a big part of why I chose this trek over others.
Q. How did you prepare for the trek?
I am a running enthusiast and try to run a 10k every week. That was all the physical prep I did.
Q. What kind of equipment do you think is necessary for this trek?
A good backpack and sturdy trekking shoes are essential. During this trek, I realised how helpful trekking poles are, particularly when the trail is slippery.
Q. Do you have any tips on how to prepare for this trek?
Some endurance training is essential to carry your 8 kg backpack for 6-7 hours everyday. The last day of descent (almost 4,000 ft) is particularly hard on knees and it would be wise to strengthen your knees and calf muscles in the days leading up to the trek.
Q. What were the major highlights of the trek for you?
- Amazing starry nights. I saw more stars than I have ever seen.
- Made several new friends on this trek. It was fun to play Antakshari and Mafia with fellow trekkers in evenings, after 6-7 hours of sometimes difficult walks.
- Trekkers came together and prepared food on the last night for everyone.
Q. What was the most difficult part of the trek?
Day 3, when the climb was highest (13,750 feet) and steepest and we had to do it with heavy rain. The descent on the last day was pretty sever on knees.
Q. Any specific moments while on the trek that stuck the most in your memory.
Star-gazing experience was definitely one. The beautiful view of Harmukh peak with Gangabal and Nandkol lakes below as seen from Gangbal pass was heavenly. The meadows filled with yellow flowers near Satsar lake was another one.