My Happiest Trek Moment – Personal Stories of Awe, Merry and Adventure – Part 9

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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| Stairway to Heaven

“Well, I always have the best times in the mountains. But this one was quiet special. It’ll always be a moment I’ll tell everybody.

This was from the Brahmatal Trek, last batch just before the lockdown. I am grateful this trek happened.

So this moment which I’ll cherish forever. I like to call it: Stairway to Heaven.

Let me tell you why!

This was our second day of the trek. We had reached the Tilandi campsite at noon. It was so beautiful. It was my favourite camp. Surrounded by beautiful mountains all around . We could spot Mt. Trishul from here. We all were just so happy. Playing in the snow , having intense snowball fights . We all were just living the moment. As the sun begins to set , the cold wind blows, and brings with it fresh snow. It was so cold, we all went to the dining tent, sipping on our hot coffee and having snacks. To bear the cold, I didn’t think of leaving the tent till dinner.

But one of our trek mates went outside and said , “Guys you gotta see this ! It’s beautiful“. Being all excited we went out to see it for ourselves.

‘You got to be kidding me!? Are we in heaven?‘ I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw. Someone pinch me!!!

WOW. A sky full of colours! It was magical. It was beautiful! I had never seen a sky like that. It was truly one of the best moments I have lived. I was honestly so happy that I couldn’t stop smiling. The cold didn’t bother me anymore. That sunset had warmed my heart.

I had found the stairway to heaven.

It was the best painting I had ever seen. Truly nature is amazing. The immense happiness I get travelling to the mountains is what I ways look forward to in life. Yes there is magic in the mountains. If you look for it , you’re surely find it up there.

Can’t wait to go back. Mountains are calling…” – Shalin Patel

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| The day my friend crossed Buran Pass!

“This picture was after we crossed the Buran Ghati pass. Enjoyed the walk down because it was a first time for my friend who was seriously thinking of giving up after the first day . It took me a lot of things like sacrificing my gloves for her feet, refilling water in cold freezing rain, getting up in the middle of the night to stay in the second toilet because she was scared of something.. she said dogs… But in the end she was one of the first to summit on that day among all the groups so it was all worth it.” – Steve Carvalho

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| A thrilling account of my expedition to Mt Hanuman Tibba!

“It was June, 1990. We were on an Expedition to Mt Hanuman Tibba (19,500 feet). There were 6 members in all. After few days of preparation in Manali like buying ration, HAP, medicines, equipment, etc. we were off to Beas Kund which would be our Base Camp (12,800 ft).

One day’s rest was followed by our daily drudge of load ferry over the Tantu Pass (17,200 feet). In all we did 5 load ferry from the base camp to the top of Tantu Pass, a very tricky, technical & narrow approach of almost 2000 feet plus.

Once we were gifted with a sighting of two Brown Bears on top of the pass. On 17th June we established Camp One at 17,200 feet immediately after crossing the pass. Next day we put up the summit camp at (18,000 feet) after negotiating lot of soft snow.

The day after was the D- Day our summit attempt. 5 out of 6 members summited Hanuman Tibba. 6th member too was meters from the peak.

It was the most memorable descent. Instead of staying at the summit camp we decided to cover some ground and camp close to the Tantu Pass. That fateful night believing our HAP we decided to go down from the unknown slopes on the other side of the mountain.

That is precisely what we did next day. Leaving the dangerous descent from the Tantu Pass we started descending from the other side. Descent was rapid but then I was getting a feeling that we were getting into trouble, deep trouble. That evening we did not find a place to pitch a tent, the slope was too steep, and it was getting dark. We anchored ourselves with rocks and slept at a calling distance of each other. To make the matter worse it rained in the night.

Next day started early and lost altitude fast and were in a gorge with frozen water and massive rock walls on both the sides. Few hours later we were stopped by a massive wide-open crevice and no way to cross it. Again, we retraced our steps and did some high-risk rock climbing and found a spot where we could sleep. Sleeping bags were still wet and the ration was fast dwindling as we had left most of it halfway on Tantu.

By day 3 we were in thick rhododendrons followed by wild roses whose flowers became our survival food. There was no sign of any human beings or settlements. A raging nallah was flowing and we had to do frequent crossings during the day whenever trekking along it became impossible.

Day 4 our tea was water boiled with rhodo flowers. Our HAP had by that time told us that he too had never been on that route and had just heard that there is a way down from here. On Day 4 after almost the entire day of hard trek, we heard dogs barking. If there are dogs, there must be people. Finally, on a thatch we met gaddis who offered us food and shelter.

On 5th day morning after having breakfast, taking directions from him we continued our March towards LIFE. We reached old Manali by 1300 hrs having followed the Manali nallah.” – RajendraSinh Jadeja

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| 12,000 feet – My story of motivation and friendship 

“There’s a point around the altitude of 12000 feet where everything else fades and it’s just you and the mighty mountains. The heavyweight you’re carrying on your back, all your suffering & fear suddenly disappear. All that’s left is a body moving through space and time. 12000 feet, that’s where you are able to experience it. You feel the serenity of nature. Nature creeps up near you, and it asks you a question. The only question that really matters. Who are you?

This is exactly what I felt at the summit of the Kedarkantha peak 2 years ago & that blissful feeling still makes me realize who I am, I’m a fighter who’ll never give up. One who will never give up on hopes, ambitions, and dreams.

In 2018, I and my best friend planned our first Himalayan trek together. We came to Sankri village, the base camp for Kedarkantha trek & were all excited and pumped for it. Later after the medical checkups, I realized that due to high altitude, my friend had developed high blood pressure which kept on shooting as the time progressed. Because of which the medical staff advised him to stay back as it could have cost him his life. I had a tough call to take, to proceed with the trek, or stay back and look after my friend.

I chose the latter option. We had a return flight to Mumbai after 7 days, so we traveled back with a plan to explore Dehradun and other nearby tourist destinations. This plan happened to be so much fun and spontaneous that we explored Rishikesh, did river rafting and roamed around Mussoorie on a bike. After 5 days of exploring Dehradun and having a ball of a time, a thought struck me hard. I was flying to the United States for my Master’s by August and this could possibly be my last Himalayan trek which I just gave up.

I called up Indiahikes enquiring for any other batch in upcoming days and luckily there was one within the next 3 days with some seats vacant. Indiahikes allowed me to become a participant for this batch without any additional charges. I ensured my friend was emotionally and physically healthy to travel back home alone. And, I chose to go to the mountains again without a second thought of looking back & was back to the base camp.

I was a bit tired due to days of traveling but was fit enough to complete the trek. We started our journey and I made new friends along the way but the most special one was not a human but a Himalayan dog who followed me till the summit. Throughout the journey, I enjoyed each and every moment, happily facing all the challenges coming my way. Just one day before the summit, I lost my balaclava giving me a hard time with a severe headache and cold. I had an option to stay back but I chose to go ahead. I somehow managed to make it to the summit with some pain and feverish feeling.

We reached there right before the sunrise with a plan to capture both the sun and the moon together. When the sun was about to rise, I just sat down and kept looking at the snow clad mountains and the nature surrounding me. The Himalayan pup joined me to enjoy the splendid view, we looked at each other and it was that exact moment where I felt the dog was talking to me. Asking me what I was about to lose if I were about to give up. That point I was able to connect all the dots realizing, whatever happens, happens for the good. That breathtaking view, the Himalayan dog & my journey have been a motivation for me since then. This was my happiest moment during the Kedarkantha trek.” – Rishikesh Patil

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| The sight of the glorious mountains from Tapovan

“My best trek moment was on top of Tapovan when we could see Mt Meru and Mt Shivling in full glory. I went in 2018 with two friends who had never trekked before and whom I had foolhardily brought on the trek.

This was the year camping in the meadows were banned. So chances of reaching Tapovan were increasingly looking bleak. We heard of how no group had made it to Tapovan that year.

Our group was mixed – had veterans of 65 years with 40 years of trekking history and complete freshers. But one thing the group did not lack was adrenaline. We spent many hours convincing ourselves that we would get to the top in spite of all the factors against us.

Leaving at 4 am and traversing moraines subjected to nature’s fury, we reached the top as a group at 10 am with some able guidance from the Indiahikes team. One sight of the majestic mountains made all the hours of sleepless tension so totally worth it!” – Veena R

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| The night skies of the Himalayas

“I have always had a fascination for night skies and astro-photography. And what more could you ask for than witnessing this marvel from base camps of Kedarkantha trek . The effort I had to put to get these images was more and much challenging than what it usually takes.

I had no tripod and it was freezing -5 to -10 degrees, so had to remove my gloves and put them on the snow to balance my camera. But it was all worth it. Not because I got the images but because I was able to go out and witness it in person.

I would recommend all my fellow trekkers to do the same. Its going to be cold, dark and tiring after the trek but this is the reward. Don’t sleep it off.” – Refaad Sulttan Sha

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| A (sun) ray of hope in Kashmir!

“This was during my first trek ever, and not just any trek, a Himalayan trek in the beautiful valley of Kashmir – the Tarsar Marsar trek.

It was the sixth day of our trek and due to certain restrictions, a descent of 18 km, usually scheduled for two days was to be covered in a single day! Unfortunately, it had rained for the better part of the day ceaselessly.

The storm made everything more arduous – the descend was hard, the boulders were slippery, the streams were overflowing and needless to say, we were drenched head to toe. Lucky for me, our trail guide had been my saviour! And hey, his name was “Lucky” too!

When the clouds finally disappeared giving way for sunshine – a ray of hope literally, within no time, had my clothes dried up. I had never experienced such unbridled joy in my life and the gleaming sun never ever felt better!!” – Amrita Agarwal

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| The day of fruitful result on Dayara Bugyal! 🙂

“In May of 2019, my mom, her sister’s family and I went on the Dayara Bugyal trek. It was the best way to escape from the stress of my grade 12 board exams and college admissions and we has been planning it for months. One week before the trek the body that conducts the exams (CISCE) announced that the results wold be released exactly one week from then. That was the day that we were supposed to climb the summit!

I had gotten pretty close to the trek group and everyone knew my results coming out at 3 pm. As we climbed higher up the meadows, people noted the spots with good cellular connections and I fretted about whether I would be able to get the results on the way back.

Everything went well, we climbed the summit and on the way back stopped at the base of the meadows. It was past 3 pm and we had network again. My mom’s sister connected to 3G and found a screenshot of my results from my dad on the family Whatsapp group. I looked over them once over and gave her the phone back. By then, most of the group knew what was going on and asked her to read them out loud. My mom heard the commotion and looked over from the other side of our camp.

And that’s where this picture is from. I’m there in the middle, grinning at my mom as my mom’s sister (partially hidden by the hat) reads the marks out loud. My average was a pretty good 97% with a 100% in Computer science, my major at the University of Minnesota where I now study. I was on top the world in both senses of the phrase that day and just wanted to share the memory. Shoutout to the kitchen bhaiyas on the trek who gave me an extra Gulab Jamun as a celebration that night.” – Mitali Naigaonkar

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| The day of divine sunshine and flowers in the Valley

“It was the month of May 2019, when in the evening my friend called me and asked me to join a trek to the Valley of Flowers that with the condition that we shall go by tomorrow morning. I was not in a condition to join and further getting parent permission was tough for a sudden trip. But my passion for trekking was such that within an hour I emailed an application to the office for emergency leave, lied to the parents and called friend to be ready in the morning.

We both stated our journey the next morning on my bike. Throughout the route, there was a huge downpour. Even we got stuck in many places in between Dehradun and Joshimath but we didn’t stop despite such heavy rainfall. When we started out trek from Govind ghat next morning rain was so intense that local people advise us not to go further for day or two.

They also bragged that we will not able to see the valley as rain is so high and there is no point going above. That night we pondered a lot about this in Ghangariya (a campsite ) but it was too late as we are in no mood to return . Next morning when we started it was again raining and we were very upset that our whole journey will fail if the rain didn’t stop now.

At around 10 am we enter the valley the cloud was out of the sky, the wind was waving as perfect pace and before us lies the vast valley of the flower. for the next few hour, we were just out of the world. We were just lying between the flowers, listening to the sound of the valley and healing our body, soul from divine sunshine. It was a perfectly timed visit as the valley was at its peak. The warmth of sunshine still rests with me and will always be.” – Vaibhav Kullashri

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| The moment of self-reflection overlooking river Parvati

“Sitting on a rock and hearing River Parvati flowing and enjoying the breathtaking view. T

his moment is dear to me because the sense of achievement I felt after being one of the first trekkers in our group to reach Tunda Bhuj. I felt elated as I was new to the whole concept of trekking and before that point I undervalued my grit and ability. This was a turning point of my trekking journey and the most empowering. As it made me realize that I wasn’t a weakling.

Another reason that I constantly go back to this photo because of the self-reflection that I did sitting on this piece of rock. As they say, the deeper you wander in the woods, the more it compels you to move inwards and do some self-reflection. And that is exactly what happened, my life simply started untangling itself. All the fear that was stored inside suddenly dissipated. I was much more me than I ever was.

We were a small group of 4 people and all of them knew where I was to be found, that is, the rock – my little transient home. After this, the whole trek became simpler than I could imagine and most definitely worthwhile. I was a better person with an awakened soul.” – Vinayaka Goyal

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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One thought on “My Happiest Trek Moment – Personal Stories of Awe, Merry and Adventure – Part 9

  1. Rajendra Singh Jadejas story is one of Will and Valour and an adventure to remember , fascinated to read it.