Preeti does one Himalayan trek every year. As per her plan, she did this trek to Kashmir Great Lakes allured by the idea of high-altitude lakes. Despite heavy rain on Day 3, one of the most difficult days of the trek, she completed it and enjoyed every bit of it.
Q. Why did you choose this trek?
I do a Himalayan trek once a year and while selecting this year’s trek, I saw pictures and read about Kashmir Great Lakes trek. The beauty of high altitude lakes was inviting.
Q. How did you prepare for the trek?
- Physical training included working out regularly at the gym – running, walking on incline, cycling, cross-trainers and stretching.
- Mental preparation, as the name suggests, is a state of mind – one knows that he/she is going into cold weather at high altitude with less oxygen, limited food supplies, and will be walking for hours disconnected from the rest of the world. But sitting in the comfort of our homes in the city and just knowing the facts is sometimes not enough. You have to constantly remind yourself to be consciously aware of what you are about to get into.
- If you are not sure, doing a short trek (1-3 days) can help you get a reality check on both your physical and mental preparation.
Q. What kind of equipment do you think is necessary for this trek?
Things like trek poles are totally person-specific. Some people rely on walking sticks and some just can’t walk with it. It is up to every trekker to understand what their body wants and not just mimic others. On the other hand, there are some things that you cannot compromise on – trek shoes, raincoat, waterproof cover for your rucksack, a rucksack with good back support, headlamp if possible.
Q. What were the major highlights of the trek for you?
Day 3 was a major highlight because it was the most difficult but also the most beautiful. Other than the sheer beauty of the trek itself, I would say, the guide Altaaf stood apart from the crowd for his ability to manage and look after the whole team of trekkers and cooks.
Q. What made Day 3 the most difficult day?
It started raining the moment we left the campsite and didn’t stop until we reached the next camp 8 hours later. The trail became slippery, slushy and was not fit for walking in some places which slowed our pace. We had to figure out alternate trails most of the times by either walking on the slope where there was grass, or on the rocks, or find a less walked trail wherever possible. At one point, we were monkey climbing on all fours, grabbing bushes and running uphill. I wonder if we would all have landed up in the lake below if those bushes were not there.
Q. What were your most memorable moments?
- Sitting by lake Vishansar in the evening and looking at reflections of mountains above it.
- Being served hot paranthas at Gadsar pass during heavy rain on Day 3.
- Sitting on top of a ridge at almost 13,000 feet, with no visibility below because it was all filled with clouds. Slowly, when the clouds parted, we could see the twin Gangabal lakes. One of them reflecting the clouds above and the other one shimmering because of sunlight.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for the future trekkers?
Prepare well, both physically and mentally and listen to what your body tells you.
What you should do now
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