September 20, 2021

Kedarkanth Trek in Uttarakhand, India is considered a preferred trek choice amongst seasonal trekkers and the beginners due to its beautiful forests and stunning clearings. It made us to choose the trek for our upcoming trekking experience as a beginner while looking for a winter trek.  

Me and my friends decided the dates for our trek and made the bookings with a travel agency named Indiahikes to facilitate any training and guidance which we might require to prepare ourselves ahead of the trek. Soon  we were added to a WhatsApp group with other trekkers who are expected to join us during the 4-6 days of trekking experience. 

Novemeber 29, 2021

By November end, we received multiple communications from Indiahikes to introduce ourselves across the group,  guidelines to prepare ourselves for physical fitness, DO’s and DON’Ts etc. which helped us a lot in preparing ourselves for the trek in a month’s time frame. Looking at the preparation we were going through out the month, we were assured that  the trek might not be as easy as claimed by most of the blogs we read about it. 

Finally, we travelled and attempted the trek on the planned date with our trek leader there. The trek is steadily steep right from the start of the trek, and I realized it is not an easy trek for many, including a few of our team members there. Continuous heavy snow fall during the week of our trek made it difficult for a few to  bear with at instances, but it was mesmerizing to be surrounded by a fluffy white blanket all over.

Our team hiking through trek's steep forest trails under snowfall
Our team hiking through trek’s steep forest trails under snowfall
January 4-9, 2022

Four days of Kedarkanth trek under persistent rain and snowfall was full of many new experiences, survival skills, lifetime lessons and an experiences of its own type. Be it the foggy morning, breakfast under mild showers, slippery climbs under heavy rains, proper use of gears, packing everything out, first snow fall experience, everything added to our experiences and appeared to teach us a lesson in its own way. 

Here is what this adventurous trek taught me:

1. Don’t Underestimate Ourselves, All We Need is a Little Push 🙂

We can always do far better than what we limit ourselves to. We have a tendency to loose ourselves and underestimate our capabilities often for various reasons. On the very first day of trek I learnt that I am capable of performing  multi-folds with proper arrangement of planning and execution; once a goal is set. It is Okay to take small breaks/lower pace in between to allow me improvise and push my self better towards my goal.

2. Consistency is the Key to Achieve Our Goals

No matter how small the steps are, they keep moving us towards the goal. We had multiple trekkers in our group on the summit who were slowest but consistent and kept moving. This made me rethink about the differences and I found consistency as a powerful differentiator for them to hit the summit even when they lacked pace. I realized that having a good pace without consistent effort is worthless, and a consistent lower pace is better going with.

3. Surprises Make us Innovative 

Irrespective of the extent we prepare ourselves for an event, it may turn out to be unexpected anytime and we should be mentally prepared for the unexpected. We planned for the trek a lot which was driven by our lifestyles, and shopped a lot to prepare for every if-and-buts. 

On the final day of trek preparations at the base camp, we decided to not carry most of the stuff we shopped for and went with the minimal to face the unknowns. Surprisingly, we had a great trek and we found ourselves more innovative while dealing with the challenges.

4. Never be Afraid of Asking for Help

People want to help but they may hesitate. I observed that we have a lot of good people along with us and they are happy to help as well, the issue is we don’t ask for it. It being a high altitude trek we were carrying limited supply of essentials and had to respect the time limits. Still, I don’t remember even a single instance where the ask for help wasn’t responded by the other person, be it a glove holding, trek pole assistance, gaiters assistance, sharing food & drinks, or anything that can be thought of.

5. Pack Smart, Pack Less. 

No matter if its your bag or baggage, ultimately you are the one who has to carry  it. The lesser the better, as it allows you go far with better energy left with you. We are the one who decide on what to carry and what not to; so we have to be thoughtful about it. The more we carry, more energy we loose and we may drain before where we hit the destination. Carry less if we are to go far, no matter if its your luggage, emotions, past experiences or anything which deviates you off the track.

6. Physical Fitness & Mental Fitness are Gems

There is a fine difference between achieving something and achieving the same goal having a lot of energy left out with you to celebrate the achievement. While pushing the summit, I observed that most of the people in our team were able to push on the limits beyond there physical and emotional barriers, but the ones with good fitness levels (physical and emotional) were the ones enjoying and celebrating the summit and were not dragging them in the journey like others. Keeping ourselves physically and mentally fit makes moments we cherish.

7. Optimised Resource Management

Kedarkanth Trek taught us to be a minimalist, we are into habit of carrying luxuries all around, but the trek journey brought us back to the minimalist lifestyle which we cherished as well; It allowed us to keep things easy, transparent, quickly accessible and distraction free. We should be doing similar exercises to keep ourselves close to the nature and keep reminding ourselves of the basic living needs crushing out our luxuries.

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  1. Very well written, Vikash ! These are important life lessons indeed. It is true that trek changes lives especially a himalayan trek.

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