I have never done something in my life that requires so much of prep work as this. One of the reasons being, we are totally new to this concept called “Trekking”.
Yes, I was invited by my cousin to join this group who were planning to go on a Himalay Trek later this summer. I got the initial details, and was super exited as I love doing these adventurous things.
Obstactle #1 started with getting permission from home. Although there is not much dependancy, I still had to convince my people that I will be fine and can go alone. The very fact that this was a new experience, which excited me, scared them. I did all the information scouting I could and gave dad those that sounded convincing only 😉 Search strings included “Singalila Trek route”, “Women Hiker Tips”, “Safety trekking”, “altitude sickness”, and the likes.
Dad took a week to give me a go, and from then on, it has been FAQ asking or browsing or buying gear almost every weeked (after considering laziness :P) I will tell you what all I learnt out of this preparation, hoping it would be of some use to the reader.
First and foremost was making sure we could reach Darjeeling by flight, which we had to book ourselves. Decent fares were available in SpiceJet and we all ended up booked in the same flight. The guide Wangchuck (I assume) would be taking over from there.
Rohan, my cousin’s friend, and the one organizing this trip, said that rooms could be arranged for stay in Darjeeling, for the night we land there. So, as we were ready to pay, that thing was out of the checklist. (I will narrate about the actual stay after I come back!)
As I browsed through the articles in the net, one problem that stood profound was altitude sickness, that became my Obstacle #2. They say that as we go up in altitude, people tend to feel breathless as the pressure in the atmosphere decreases… something like that… Well let me get you the actual definition:
“Acute mountain sickness is due to a combination of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes.The faster you climb to a high altitude, the more likely you will get acute mountain sickness. Your symptoms will also depend on the speed of your climb and how hard you push (exert) yourself.” I came to know of this medicine Diamox that helps; how much it helps, is yet to be experienced. My suggestion is not to read too much on the health aspect, as you go deep the information would scare you. A point when you think that’s enough and stop researching 😛
Another worthy suggestion I got was to read the blog of someone who already went along the same route and has published her experiences, day by day, in her blog. I did bookmark her blog and left it idle for nearly a month. Finally after some rebukes from my aunt, I started reading it, and found it a very enjoyable thing (as such I love reading), and very informative (since she had given even minute details… from hot water availability to village names…)
The bookmarked link for you : http://1000beautifuldays.blogspot.in/2010/11/day-359-trek-begins-nepal-hailstorms.html
The above suggestion was a valuable one, no doubt on that. But beware! I learnt not to listen to all the suggestions I got, which was unfortunately aplenty. So I decided to ignore most of them and just be prepared for what comes along.
One very exciting piece of information I got was that I will be trekking partly in India and partly in Nepal, as the Singalila route is situated in both the countries. If only this was true, this is going to be my FIRST EVER time outside India, and I am going to walk, not fly or drive, but walk to a foreign land. Wow!!!
Obstacle #3: That was after I got my shoes. Well, we decided that buying shoes should be first on the checklist, as we would need time to get used to it. And lo! First day I wore it and it bit me 🙁 Good that it was well before the trip and by now I am used to it.
Though Obstace #4 in my terms was getting leave approved, I am not going to bore you all with that here 😉
So all is set. We are starting tomorrow and I thought this was a fitting time to post, so here goes…
Hoping to write about the actual journey once I am back…