In my last post, I thought of taking up a few resolutions. One of them was to expand my perspectives via books, people, and travel. This post builds on my resolutions by giving a glimpse of my recent traveling experiences.
I recently went on a trip with around eighty people from my class. Our trip was to a Himalayan summit in Uttarakhand in India. The duration of the trip was from 6th March to 15th March 2020. Given the simultaneous rise of COVID-19 spread worldwide, around twenty people dropped out two days before the start of the trip. Finally, about eighty classmates decided to go for the journey. During the whole trip, we took extra preventive care not to contract COVID-19, even though the chances of contracting the disease were negligible. To give you an idea of the preparation we did to avoid contracting can be seen in the click below.
My primary motivation to write this blog is to log the experience of going on a snow trek. I feel the experience on the trek helped me develop gratitude towards the fantastic facilities we all enjoy. Below, I point out the problems that I faced there that helped me realize the facilities that we take for granted.
One of the most common issues that we faced was dehydration. You would ask us to drink a lot of water to solve this issue, right? There are two issues in this simple solution. First, potable water is not freely available, and we can only carry a limited quantity. Second, if we do get drinkable water, the temperature of the water can range from 2°C to 8°C, drinking, which requires a special procedure of first heating the water in our mouths before being able to gulp it. One is, therefore, not able to have more than 2-3 gulps without getting tired/frustrated.
With all the intense trekking the whole day, our bodies ached a lot during the evening. One of the most reliable recovery tools, i.e., a comfortable sleep, wasn’t available. You say why? We were to sleep in make-shift tents. These tents, being set up on the snow, didn’t have a flat floor. As a result, we were not able to recover even after resting and sleeping for the whole night. Below is a click of the tents we got. Mind you; we never set them up. Setting the tents up ourselves would have been even more challenging after our tiring trek.
Another problem was guarding ourselves against the night temperatures, which easily ranged from -4°C to -8°C. Given the cold temperature, not having a woolen sock would render our feet to fall prey to frostbite. Going out of the tent necessitated the use of shoes to protect our feet from the cold. One interesting fact is that I actually ended having partial frostbite in my left toe. My toe is still numb because of the nerve damage caused by the frostbite.
The primary objective I felt during such treks is to survive and not get seriously ill. In our day to day lives, we are surrounded by such good facilities that we don’t care about survival, that’s a given. While on the trek, the closest hospital was 3 hours of trek and 10 hours of drive away from our campsite. Our actions there are driven by the will to survive because, in contrast to our homes, survival isn’t granted. If you didn’t put enough socks on, you are looking at a numb toe for two months.
At the end of the trek, when we were reaching Dehradun, I was wonderstruck that even the roads studs had lights in them. While on the trek, to get anything from my backpack, I first needed to find a torch. If I ever planned a pee session during the night, I was essentially blind without a torch. These realizations helped me to appreciate the prince’s life we usually live. Now, if any person asks me how my trek was, gets to listen to the following phrase.
My gratitude level = ∞
Though I wasn’t able to reach the top of the summit this time, I was able to learn a lot from this once in a lifetime experience. I am incredibly excited to reach the summit next time I go on a trek, and that’s not far off. Plus, more important than the life lessons above, I got some good pics. No seriously. :P
See you soon!