To say that I’m physically fit, wouldn’t be entirely true. Sure, I can climb up stairs no issue, and even walk for hours from place to place (given the appropriate footwear), but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself on a trek.
When a friend recapped her adventurous weekend treks the first thing on Monday morning, the travel bug in me would incessantly bite me urging me to join her. In response, I would kill it by telling myself that there’s no way I would last on a trek, be it even for an hour.
After almost 3 years, the travel bug got the better of me, and there I was, standing at the foot of a 13km uphill trek, weighing my chances of reaching the top alive, with all my limbs intact. We were at Govind Ghat, and had to reach the base camp of Ghangria before sunset, where we had a night’s rest before another 3km trek to the Valley of Flowers the next morning.
With the confidence of having visited the gym for about 2 weeks prior to the journey, I decided to forego the offer of having a mule carry up my bag. We started the trek by crossing a footbridge over the Lakshman Ganga river, which 3 days later was a sight for sore eyes.
If walking uphill with a bag wasn’t challenging enough, mules carrying people and luggage had to be dodged so as to avoid accidentally falling down the slope. Of course, we also had to step carefully to avoid the mule droppings all along the path to Ghangria. The trekking path was littered with tea stops approximately every 3 kms, which offered a piping hot plate of Maggi, tea, coffee, lime soda and soft drinks, proving to be like my oasis in a desert. If I was to make a list of the regrets in my life, not having the mule carry my luggage on this trek was definitely in the top 5. The path was also filled with Sikh pilgrims making the trek to Hemkund Sahib, about 5 km from Ghangria. Their chants of “wahe-Guru” still resonate in my head when I think about the trek.
If I had any doubt about being able to complete the 13km trek, it was at its highest on the journey up. It seemed like it would have been simpler to just trek back down to Govind Ghat. With every step I took, I was very aware that I was just inching myself further away from the option to turn back. But just a single view of the surroundings I was trekking through, and it was all worth it. The Lakshman Ganga, flowing down the mountain rapidly, was guiding us up to Ghangria, and the view of the misty mountains gave me all the encouragement I needed to take the next step.
Of all the stops along the way, the most breathtaking one would be at the banks of the Lakshman Ganga river. We sat on the rocks that littered the river bed, and just took in the sight of the mountains towering over us, and the sound of the river gently jumping over the rocks.
Almost at the end, I don’t know whether it was the smidgen of light we could see at the end of the long tunnel, or our own exhausted bodies, but the last 3km seemed never ending.
The trek ended post sunset, with us almost ankle deep in mule droppings, but yet thrilled to have reached the top.
To top that, I continued the trek the next day with a 6km trek into the Valley of Flowers, which made me feel stupid for having wanted to give up the day before.