My Happiest Trek Moment – Personal Stories of Aspiration, Singing and Madness – Part 10

What is the My Happiest Trek Moment campaign?

Frankly, we’re tired of all the negative news around us. You must be too.

We are cooped up at home, not meeting people dear to us. All we get is bad news about Coronavirus spreading its devilish arms. Almost any conversation becomes about Coronavirus. It’s become quite frustrating.

So we have created a space that takes us as far away from Coronavirus as possible — to the trekking world where we all yearn to be.

As a trekker, we’re sure you relive moments from your trek every now and then — it could be that euphoric moment when you finally reached the summit! It could be that moment you were moved to tears by a beautiful sunrise. It could be the reflective time you spent by yourself at a campsite.

You’re welcome to share your stories! We’d be happy to feature them! Find all the steps to send it here.

With no further ado, here are some fantastic stories that trekkers sent to us! 🙂

Btw, make sure you share these stories further, to help more people beat the lockdown blues!


 

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| A breathtaking reward for pushing through fatigue!

“My memory is from my recent and my very first Himalayan Trek ever. After having discussed about all the possible treks FOR A MONTH, me and three of my friends settled for the Chandrashila Trek in December.

Being into landscape photography, I knew that the entire trek was going to be full of breathtaking scenes and the epitome of it was going to be the view from summit where I wanted to reach before the sunrise.

Well, everything went smooth till the pre-summit day where we had camped at Baniyakund. I was already suffering a sore throat by now because of change in climate of the warm Mumbai and the cold Uttarakhand. And a sore throat very often leads to fever in my case.

By the time night started, my fear of fever slowly started to turn true. I made sure I get proper rest for the night and was feeling a bit better next morning yet I took a Crocin and started to climb the trail to Tungnath from Chopta.

Because of bad road conditions, we couldn’t start the journey early in morning and had already missed the sunrise which had made me a bit sad. I was carrying my usual camera backpack, which is quite heavy and some other essentials. As the altitude started increasing, my already weakened body started to feel the effect of it.

By the time I had reached Tungnath, I knew that the last one or two kilometres, a comparatively difficult hike to summit, may not be possible by me. After having dreamt about this day for a month, this might have been a setback for me. But thanks to our ever motivating trek leader, I kept pushing myself.

And then after nearly 1.5 hours of struggle and exhaustion, wading my way through the thick snow, I had made it to the top. The slow view of far stretched mountains unraveling themselves, glistening with sunlight, made me forget every bit of pain and exhaustion I had.

I just walked, with total awestruck smile on my face, and stood there, admiring the beauty right in front of me, with one of them being the mighty Nanda Devi Peak. My friend had my camera in hand at that moment and he made sure to capture that moment. I felt so proud of myself that I didn’t give up and mother nature made sure I got my prize in the form of those breathtaking views with clear skies.

Not to mention that by the time I came back to the base camp, I already had a high fever. The sheer experience of having put through the altitude, exhaustion and pain, left an unforgettable memory on my mind which still inspires me often! :)” – Kaustubh Nerurkar

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| Journey in search of an oasis named Tshoka

“How much ever I travel, I’ll never forget this place. Bakhim.. We reached that hut with tired body and unwilling faces to move ahead.

Desolated from the sedentary life, we decided for an adventurous journey and reached Yuksom in Sikkim. It was a first week of June, and rainy season had just begun. It was not monsoon though. Yearning for the peace, we were far away from the congestion of the city. Jubiliated me, I was back in the mountains that always beckon me.

We started the Goechala trek. We crossed couple of hanging bridges in the valley and entered into a dense forest through a gate that reads, “Welcome to Kanchenjunga National Park”. The pleasant sunny weather of morning changed in a blink, and it started raining. Our first camp was supposed to be a place called “Sachen”, 10 km away from Yuksom. As it was a start of a rainy season, we started facing a lot of trouble because of the leeches and other insects. It was dangerous to stay in a tent at Sachen camp.

So, we decided to move ahead and camp at “Tshoka” (another 10 km away from Sachen, with a steep climb). We had no idea about how much tiring task it is going to be. We moved ahead and kept walking. The climb seemed to have no intention to end. We were running out of our time. At a point of time, we started to doubt our decision to do this trek. Now, we had no option other than to keep walking. After few hours, we arrived in a Hamlet named “Bakhim”. We ran into a hut and sat on the wet wooden benches. Our destination was still far away, but I was so tired that I fell asleep on that bench itself.

It was the need of an hour to be resilient. After a short break, we continued our journey. The sky was bearing the colours by the ascended masters. Sun started dozing off for the day. We finally reached Tshoka within next two hours and in no time, it started raining heavily.. And because of this first hectic day, the other toughest parts of the trek were not felt much challenging by us” – Shubhankar Kulkarni

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| How ‘Poo Pookum Osai‘ became our Song of Victory 🙂 

“This picture was taken during my Phulara Ridge trek with Indiahikes in October’ 19. My trek mates were my 6 months old (new) sister in law Shwetha and her friend Divya (whom I discovered to be fellow Gemini and hence became my buddy in no time!). Both of them were first timers and although it was officially my second trek, I was as good as a first timer! 😀

This picture was taken at the highest base camp and that morning, we woke up to this stunning view that you see in the picture. We decided that we were going to celebrate the fact that we survived despite all odds (The odds mainly being our level of fitness :p). Ever since I woke up, I could not get “poo pookum osai” song out of my head and so, we decided that was the song of our victory. We danced to the song and naturally, the madness found its way into the entire team. A whole bunch of trek mates joined and all of us danced our hearts out. So much that our trek leader decided to skip our warm up session for the day! Our work outs were sorted!

What a morning that was! It had so much happiness that just the memory of it keeps me going through these days of distress. I hope this story will bring about a smile to the faces of my Phulara buddies or “my Himalayan people”, as I like to call them! J ” – Madhumithaa Sreenivasan

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| The day I trained my mind and body to listen to me!

“I believe one can only find themselves – in solitude while on the edge of their limits.

What better a place for this than the mountains ! It makes you push day in and day out, and at the end of the trek, the view might be the same for everyone, but the experience is UNIQUE for every person. Each experience more enriching than the other.

This photo captures my experience at the end of Dzukou Valley Trek, being fairly easy apart from climbing the 1000+ knee level stairs ! Each stair being more than a feet high – 20 mins into them I was exhausted and not being able to see the end point, I felt I was not ready mentally and physically. With all of my buddies way ahead of me I had two options, call it off and go back (simple and easy) OR carry on pushing myself mentally and physically.

As a person who does not give up, I decided to carry on 1 STEP at a time. Counting 1-2 and 1-2 on every step, I carried on, slower than ever but non-stop for the next 900 steps. 1-2 1-2 1-2… Gradually I started to realize the forest’s beauty around me. Being encapsulated with bamboo, chestnut, and, oak trees added a very Nagaland vibe to the trek. Occasionally slowing down but not stopping to capture the beauty in my solitude, I soldiered on. My mind and body which were in pain gradually calmed down. By the end of stairs, I had not only crossed my buddies but was more than 30 mins ahead of them. By some act of god, I was neither tired physically or mentally but ready for the next part of the trek.

Coming back on to this photo, it was captured at the end of the day when we reached the target. This captures my mind at peace knowing that “Neither you nor anybody can stop you from reaching your goals once have you made up your mind.”” – Rituraj Jaipuriar

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| The mighty Mt Nanda Devi under starlight!

“Our trekking group was at Saini Khadak, from where we could see Mount Nanda Devi clearly; and after this we were to go back to our camp at Lata Khadak, 2 hrs away.

I expressed a desire to our group leader, ” Could you pitch one tent for me here and leave me here alone for the evening and entire night ? I wish to experience the Himalaya completely alone as a sadhu “. After a long thought he said ok…, and a solitary tent was put up and the whole group left leaving me in solitude.

I experienced a beautiful evening all alone… And as dusk came thick clouds enveloped me completely… I retired into my tent and zipped up the sleeping bag… At 4 am I got up and poked my head out to see if the clouds had dispersed…. And this is what I saw..! Mt Nanda Devi in starlight under a mirror of stars! One of my happiest and most memorable moments!” – Dr. Kedar R Munshi 

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| A calm Antakshari night that is etched in my memory 🙂 

“For me, one of the best parts of the trek was the close bond we formed at the camp sites. This was in November 2018 at the Phulara Ridge Trek. We were a close group of six people with three trek guides. After a long day of trek, we would just crash into our tents but would still not be sleepy, so we would play Antakshari (a singing game) from inside! While we played in teams, Sainu bhaiyya (one of our trek guides) was a champ even playing solo! This is one of my fondest memory and I can still remember some of the songs we rocked! 😀

In the silence of the night, I sneaked out of the tent to click this picture. I loved the calmness surrounding me. The moonlight was bouncing from the thick white snow. It was freezing cold but I loved the feeling! Every time I see this picture, I wish I could go back to this tent and live those moments again!” – Sruthi Sekar

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| The day I fulfilled my crazy little wish!

“I saw some videos of people jumping into the frozen Zanskar river around 5 years back on YouTube. And that’s when I decided that I will go on this Chadar trek for sure and if I had enough courage I will also jump into the frozen river.

Though I have traveled a lot but have never been on any trek before, Chadar trek being one of the most tough/dangerous treks in India, it took me some time to be ready mentally and to convince some of my friends to go on this trek and then we departed for this trek on 14th Jan 2020. The whole experience was amazing and the town of Leh looks so beautiful in winters.

After acclimatizing in Leh for 3 days we started our trek on the beautiful Chadar and on the very first day my tour guide informed me that jumping into the river is neither permitted nor advisable. This was a disappointment for me as despite -30 temperate I was mentally ready for the jump but I couldn’t have gone against the advice of the guide so I decided to simply lay on the bank of frozen river and dip my head into the flowing water…

It was hardly 5 seconds that my head was under the freezing cold water but I will remember those five seconds forever. I cannot name the feeling but I think I cried their for a moment, laughed out louder, hugged my friends and danced on this victory of mine.

This might sound like a very small and usual incident to regular trekkers but this was my first trek and I have never expected this to be such emotionally fulfilling.

As I mentioned I will remember those 5 seconds till my last breath.” – Surendra Kumar

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| A night under the starry sky on my first snow trek

“It was 31st December 2019, we had reached Jainala base camp, way to Kedarkantha. The temperature was -10°. We had our dinner at 7 pm and was planning for new year celebration at night. We collected dry woods from the forest for the bonfire and some dry woods we had to steal from the kitchen camp, haha. It was looking like a fun activity in that cold night to keep ourselves warm.

After the bonfire when our party has started and suddenly we all looked at the sky and all were stunned (bas dekhte hi rahe gye). We couldn’t take eyes off such beauty of the sky. I never thought I will encounter with uncountable stars in my whole life in outside of my tent (and it was my first snow trek).

It was the best night I have ever spent in mountain and one of the best moment of my life. It looks like those stars who listen us, who listen ours prayers, our thoughts and the dreams that are answered and I was happy to capture that never ending moment.” – Tania De

Indiahikes-My-Happiest-Trek-Moment

| A memory of my first snowfall, in slow motion 🙂

“I have just been to the one trek, Brahmatal in December 2018. Just out of high school, never got any good opportunity to leave the rest behind and make it on my own. Went to Brahmatal just to have my first solo experience. I knew I would get to see some breathtaking views, but never expected a snowfall. I had been to a few decent hill stations before but never got to experience the thrill of snowfall.

At the end of our day 1 of trekking, we reached Bekaltal a little after noon. Our trek leader gathered us in a circle for some exercise before we snuggled into our tents. Just as our warm up finished, I saw something (call me imaginative, but I swear it fell in slow motion) fall on my jacket. I glanced at it before picking my bag and all I saw was a white colored dot on my orange jacket.

A tiny scream came out at the same moment as I knew what it was, and I continued gazing at it for a few seconds before looking up and realizing that a snow flurry had begun. I fell down on my knees right then and there and continued gaping at the sky before lying down completely. I felt my trek was completed. The one thing I wanted the most, had happened. From then I knew that whatever happens here on out will be nothing less than fantastic!!” – Harshnidhi Kargwal

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| A little family time on a secret campsite! 🙂

“It was last day of our Hampta Pass trek, we were not able to visit Chandratal lake so Indiahikes took us to the less explored camp site. It was mesmerizing. We gathered around and started Antakshari… Every one was shy at first but then something happened.. Everyone connected like family… I guess that was the most underrated but best moment for me..!!” – Hardik Thakkar

This just the beginning…

We have so many more beautiful stories shared by trekkers. We’ll be sharing all of them in this space. Stay tuned to our website!

If you’d like to contribute your photo and story, send them to [email protected]

Use the subject line: My Happiest Trek Moment

We’ll be featuring the best of entries that we get.

Meanwhile, stay home, stay safe. While we’re locked down physically, let’s allow our minds to wander and feel the joys of trekking.  🙂

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