I have often heard the saying “Age is just a number” but I got to experience it first-hand when I completed my first Himalayan trek just before I hit half-century!
I came to know about trekking from my daughter and decided to give it a shot. I read up all the details – trek duration, fitness required – to select a trek that was suitable for me. This information, documented on the Indiahikes website, proved very helpful.
Finally, my daughter and I decided to go on the Bhrigu Lake trek. June was the perfect month for this four-day moderate trek.
Reading about the physical fitness required for this trek, at first I did think it would be a bit difficult. But I felt confident that I would be ready with 1-2 months of exercise.
So, I started with the physical training.
For a 49-year-old, the fitness routine was quite challenging in the initial days. But with the help of the physical training schedule provided by Indiahikes, I started training daily and enjoyed it as well.
And then THE DAY arrived.
I was ready with my bag and everything mentioned in the trek requirements: trekking pole, trekking shoes, gloves: which I got at the last minute from Manali. I specifically mention this to emphasise how important each item is, because sometimes people come with half preparations.
My daughter and I met the group and our trek leader Mahi at Manali. The same day, we did the first small trek to our base camp Gulaba. I felt a sense of satisfaction inside and was motivated to go even higher.
At the base camp we got to know each other. Everybody in the group was very friendly and supportive. There were families, friends, solo travellers, and trekkers of all age groups, from as young as 16 to a 49-year-old me!
Early next morning, we started our trek to Rola Khuli, our next campsite. It was a 5-hour trek. The trekking experience was superb and the views were breathtaking. I had never felt so happy and content my entire life.
Before I decided to do the trek, I had so many questions in my mind.
Would I be able to do the trek?
Would I be able to gel with everyone else in the group?
Would I enjoy it?
Guess I got all the answers when I reached the Rola Khuli campsite without even realising it!
I couldn’t believe I had done it.
There I was, at the beautiful camp site of Rola Khuli, at 12,000 ft. All around me were mountains covered in snow. Then there was a hailstorm for three hours. I saw the landscape change from green to white. This new experience was mesmerising.
Everybody in the group was so motivating. We clicked pictures, talked and enjoyed ourselves. The trek leaders performed medical check-ups thrice a day. I was doing quite fine.
Day 3 was here – summit climb.
It was going to be mostly trekking in snow, up to 14,000 ft. I was excited but a bit nervous.
We started in a single line, one after the other, following the footsteps of the person ahead. I had never experienced anything like this ever before: it felt like walking on another planet.
Was I really climbing high mountains, I wondered. Not even in my dreams had I imagined doing something like this!
After walking for hours over snowy, steep mountains in a zigzag route, there it was, our final destination: Bhrigu Lake. It was heavenly and, most importantly, yes I had done it! I felt I was on top of the world!
Everybody was sliding and rolling in the snow in different ways. I was scared to try it at first but when I did… haha, it was such fun.
During the descent, I got blisters on my toes, but it was worth it. Sometimes to win something, you have to lose something.
The experience I had on this trek cannot be described in words. The beautiful views, the mountains, snow, hailstorms, camping: everything was just amazing. Food was awesome and nutritious. I also loved the concept of eco-trails.
I can confidently say that it was the best experience of my life.
I never thought I would be able to do something like this. I am so happy and motivated that I did it. My daughter and I are looking forward to planning our next trek soon.
For others who are wondering if they are too old to trek, let me end with, “Live your life and forget your age.”