This is an interview with Saurabh Sinha. Saurabh did the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek in August 2012. This is what he had to say about his experience there.
Q. Why did you choose this trek?
I had always wanted to go trekking in Himalayas. I came across the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek webpage through Facebook and I was absolutely awestruck looking at the pictures that were put up. My first reaction was that this can’t be real (apparently, they were). I read some more blog posts that were up on the Indiahikes website and decided that I’ve got to go to this place. Also, I had never been to Kashmir and had heard from some of my friends that its beauty is must be experienced to know what they were talking about. Indeed.
Q. How did you prepare for the trek?
I had an elaborate plan to get fit before I start for the trek and unfortunately it met its expected fate and I ended up spending the time I had planned for gym in my office cubicle. I did go for an early morning jog for about 10 days three weeks before the trek started though.
Q. What kind of equipment do you think are necessary for this trek?
Indiahikes lists absolutely everything that you could possibly need in a trek like this. Following are some of the things that I found absolutely essential for the trek:
- Trekking Pole/walking stick – This was my most valuable companion on the trek. Although I did not have a trekking pole, I picked up a stick on the way. A stick or a pole aids a lot in climbing mountains and comes very handy to attain body balance when you are hopping boulders or crossing streams.
- A good raincoat: I had a good rain cover that also doubled up to keep me warm. It proved very handy whenever it started raining during the trek.
Q. Do you have tips on how to prepare for this trek?
This trek can be comfortably done if you are reasonably fit (doesn’t need extreme fitness). Some jogging sessions will give you a decent idea on your level of fitness. In our batch, save for one person, who had to leave on the first day due to severe cramps, everyone was able to finish the trek.
Q. What were the major highlights of the trek for you?
The sceneries kept getting better as we advanced further into the trek. Major highlights were:
- Gadsar Lake: Gadsar Lake was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I especially loved the view of the twin lakes (Vishansar and Kishansar) and numerous other alpine lakes (perhaps, unnamed) that we came across as we started towards Gadsar on the third day.
- Gangabal Lake: Gangabal lake seemed surreal with the backdrop of Harmukh Peak (more than 5,000 m).
Q. What was the most difficult part of the trek?
I found the final decent to Naranag on the sixth day the most difficult part of the trek. The decent through the pine forests was really steep and excruciatingly hard on toes.
Q. Please mention some moments while on the trek that stuck the most in your memory.
Walking through clouds while it was drizzling continuously and the view of Gadsar and Gangabal lakes strike as some of the most dominant images from this trek.
Apart from the above, whistles indicating that the food is ready to be served, pitching our own tents on reaching the base camp early and interactions that I had with our local support staff are some of the first glimpses that come to my mind.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for the future trekkers?
I’d suggest keeping first aid kit with essential medicines handy during the entire trek. Also, sachets of ORS and Gatorade could prove very effective to eliminate exhaustion.
All in all, keep an open mind and enjoy the experience. I’m sure everything that you’ll see will surpass the photographs that you may have seen about the trek. It is impossible to capture the beauty that Kashmir and Himalayas will offer you.