Life As A Trekker: A Bittersweet Journey

“Ten more steps and then rest till the count of five. Ten more steps and rest till the count of five. This played in repeat in my mind, and my body followed.” I had already climbed one mountain and two more to go. “I can do this!”
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That was Pin Bhaba Pass. And this was not the toughest trek that I have been to in past 5 months. The trekking job sounds really cool. You get to traverse those mountains, see the amazing sunrise and sunset and not to mention, the crystal clear Milky Way amongst the billion, trillion, zillion stars! And plus your Instagram page looks really cool! But for all such views, we pay. We pay through our sweat and cramped bodies, aching joints and bruised knees. Every time our body says to stop, we push it little more to reach to the next point.
My life as a trekker was exciting and challenging. Not only had it tested me physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I remember how much emotionally broke I felt at Parang La when one of the fittest participants had to return back because his body could not acclimatized and I also remember the crossing of Hampta Pass amidst the rain, hail storm and lot of slush. One wrong step, that’s all it needed to end our lives and also the fighting with AMS at Goecha La, where I my body was not yet recovered from fever and I ignored the trekking rules and fell prey to the mountain sickness. But then I also remember the dip in glacier water lake at Kashmir Great Lakes and the dancing nights in the tents without music at Buran Ghati.
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I joined Bikatadventures as Content Writer. My job profile took me to one of the most amazing treks in India. I captured them all with my lens, listened to the folklores and wrote about it and that was my job :D. Photography, Videography and writing. Though I had to be actively working while trekking but it never felt like a work, I would have done it even if I would have come as a participant. So, in short I was working but I was on a holiday! All the writing part was done once back to the base but that would pass quickly and I would head off to next trek.

How I started trekking?
The first multiple-days trek of my life was to Sar Pass in 2015 with YHAI. I count Sar Pass as one of the most beautiful treks that I have been to, plus it is not that challenging as well. So, that was my introduction to trekking in Himalayas. It was a batch of 44 like minded people and it was awesome. Glued to the trekking, me and my friends went on our second trek to Pin Pavati in 2017. It was a huge leap. Pin Paravati, if you remotely follow the trekking, you will understand what I am talking about. Pin Parvati trek is one of those treks that have highest fatality rate due to its terrain. And I got quite a hang of it, but I survived Pin Paravati with Tumultuous Tummy.
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Just after a year, I joined the same company (Bikatadventures) with which I did Pin Parvati as a Content Writer and that was the start of my Trekking career.

Which all treks I have been to?
I have been to Sar Pass (4,220 m) in 2015, Pin Parvati Pass (5,319 m) in 2017 and the following during the period of four months from June 2018 to September 2018:
Har Ki Dun (1,950 m), Buran Ghati Pass (4,572 m), Pin Bhaba Pass (4,914 m), Kashmir Great Lakes (4,206 m), Hampta Pass (4,270 m), Goecha La (4,940m), Parang La (5,580 m).

How much gap I use to get between two treks?
I use to get almost a week between two treks. I use to work from home during that week that means 2 more days spent on to and fro travel so, in total I use to get 4-5 days at home during which I use to write at least 4 different articles on the last trek, edit and upload the footage and plan for the content of the coming trek.

What all exercises I use do before heading out for a trek?
I use to go for running and occasional push ups. I use to utilize whatever time I got between two treks to recover my body. But before joining the trekking industry, I use to jog 3 km every day, climb stairs (sometimes even till 13th floor) with 10 kgs on my back and use to do squats, lunges and push ups.

What are the Preventive measures to follow while on trek?
Keep your ears, nose and hands uncovered to let your body acclamatize to the outside temperature but always keep your head covered. Drink lot of water, at least 5 to 6 liters a day, that is going to save you. Never consume any medicine without consulting your trek leader. Try to drink only cold water, do not switch between cold and hot. Do not consume alcohol and try not to smoke. Always walk towards the hill side to avoid falls.

Have I ever faced Mountain Sickness or AMS?
Yes, twice. First time during Pin Parvati trek, where my diarrhea re-occurred and I crossed the pass with a bad stomach. Second time during Goecha La, where I recently recovered from fever and I didn’t intake required water due to the continuous rainfall.

Did I witness any extreme medical condition during trek?
No. Though mountains are risky and definitely not for faint hearted. I have heard lot of stories of people losing their lives and met people who have witnessed but luckily I never witnessed anything grave. If you follow the rules of trekking, you will minimize the risk of anything grave. I Pray for everyone to be safe in mountains.

Which was the most beautiful trek out of all that I have been to?
Can I name two? Sar Pass and Pin Bhaba. Seeing at my list, lot of people expect to see KGL (Kashmir Great Lakes) as the answer but I liked these two more.

How did I convince my parents to let me travel full time?
It was not an overnight process. Since the starting of my job I told them that I don’t want to continue in IT field and once I’ll find out what I want, I’ll quit this job. Meanwhile I kept on telling them about the plans I had, the various options I explored that could interest me. They were skeptical about the choice of quitting job but I constantly told them the importance of having just ‘one’ life and then regretting not doing what you want. My stubbornness and their liberal attitude helped a lot. Moreover I kept on doing their counselling about the changing trend and the benefits of travel

Have I done any mountaineering courses?
No, I haven’t done any courses. Though I always feel, they would have come quite handy during my time period with Bikatadventures. I would surely be doing one sometime soon. My daily exercise and stamina proved enough for the treks I did

I hope I gave you quite a glimpse into my life as a trekker. If you have any more questions you can drop them in the comments below or text me on my instagram handle at kritigupta.15.
Do share your stories as well, would love to hear them!

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