Trekking can be a life-changing experience if one takes it so.
You do climb to greater heights but somehow the mountains keep you grounded. In fact, trekking is a kind of experience that takes you back to your discipline basics, teach you a life of minimalism, and most importantly, turns your modesty switch ON.
If it doesn’t, then you are definitely doing it wrong.
Pampered by the civic amenities and luxury, I could already notice the effects on me. Though I was climbing to an altitude of 14,000 ft to Bhrigu Lake, I could see my humility restoring in me. The mountains had cast a spell on me.
Here are a few things I took back from my trek:
That I have two brawny hands and strong legs
As if I didn’t already know. But my need for comfort, contentment, and lack of tension had made me forgot that these hands and legs were gifted to me to do tough mechanical work and not just scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed.
Every time I wanted to offload my backpack, my conscience scolded me back:
“Carry your own rucksack, you sissy! You have got two brawny hands and strong feet. Those porters are not your bellboys. Own your goddamn load!”
Even the mule looked at me with a condescending glare. Why wouldn’t he? Only a person who doesn’t know how uncool and unsafe it is will offload his rucksack.
After all, I wasn’t out in wild for luxury but to test my endurance.
That Dal-Roti is the best meal on the earth
Being a food connoisseur, I am always on a lookout for new cuisines and gourmet food. But when I had my first meal in the mountains inside the dining tent with the fellow trekkers, my tongue had forgotten all the fancy meals I have ever had in the fancy restaurants.
That bowl of a simple-cooked meal was not only tummy-filling but also soul-filling. It had all the nutrients I required to replenish my strength. At an altitude of 13,000 ft in the wild, I would have been more than thankful for any kind of meal being served to me. Instead, I got a nice menu with sweet dishes, snacks, and more. I am grateful now.
That there is no master-servant relationship on the trek
As long as I was in the mountains, I had become habitual of waking up early every morning. But I could never beat the guys in the kitchen staff who were up an about every morning ready with the hot piping tea for all of us.
And how they were ready with packed lunch for the day ahead of us. How every meal was always served on time. And utter love and respect with which they treated their guests (read as participants) in the mountains (they know mountains better than you).
Had they not been there, the trek would not have been possible without them. In fact, their role is integral that they deserve due respect and gratitude from all the participants on the trek.
Shout out to my kitchen staff for preparing a feast in the mountains
That my tent ain’t a hotel room
Had I checked into a hotel room, I would have expected the housekeeping to make my bed and tidy up my room. But it ain’t the case.
One doesn’t check in a camping tent just like one checks in a hotel.
One makes the camping tent in the mountains. One rolls the sleeping bag after use. One folds the tent after camping. One help the staff to make the bonfire.
One doesn’t expect all these things on a trek when one has signed up to explore the wilderness.
That trekking is a DIY experience
Just because I have ‘paid for it’, doesn’t mean someone else will come to roll my sleeping bag, wash my utensils, take care of the hygiene while I carelessly litter around.
It is because I have paid for it I have to be responsible for my own things. Whenever someone books the trek, s/he is bound to Section 49A of Mountain Mannerisms Act* wherein the person has to follow the code of conduct the whole time on the trek.
*There is no such act but that gives no excuse to forget our discipline in the mountains.
Signing up for the trek means I have willingly signed up for everything mentioned above.The trekking organizer is instrumental in taking me to the mountains safe and sound and guiding me on the trail because then I’d be lost without my trek leader and staff.
I wouldn’t have learned any of the camping skills, or the name of the peaks around, or the proper techniques to be followed in the mountains if my trek leader hadn’t been there. I realised with every teaching and learning module given by my trek leader, I was coming closer to becoming a self-reliant trekker.
As they say, trees loaded with fruits are always more humble than dead woods.