“I have been to the Himalayas before and another trip to the inner Himalayas should not be much different in terms of ‘preparation’, so what if this time it is a trek and not a ride or drive!”
Me being the lazy-ass that I am, this is what I wanted to believe. I did not want to take the pain of doing the ‘preparation for a Himalayan trek’ thing, nothing more than packing my backpack. But then, a trek is not a ride or drive where you sit idle and the horses below you take you places you want to go, without you having to do much (if any) work.
In a trek, the only thing that carry you forward are your legs and for them to be able to do that, you need to prepare them! So, that is what I did. I went to the Hampta pass trek which is a sub-15000 ft trek so it does not ask for a very high level of preparation however, you need to be fit enough to walk at a decent pace and for 5-6 hours in a day.
Some reading and asking around helped me and the first thing I did was I stopped taking the lift and started using the stairs. Long walks and jogs in the morning also helped but I was not able to do these early morning activities much, all thanks to the late-riser that I am!
I had always enjoyed long walks since my childhood so I started my preparation just a week before the trek but for anyone who has not been an active walker. Start talking walks (30-40 mins) a day and try doing 2 – 3 kilometers in half an hour. Other forms of cardio exercises also are recommended but as I was somewhat confident about myself, I skipped those 😀 (which is not recommended!).
Another important thing to be kept in mind is, walking freely and with no luggage with you and walking with a 10-12 kg backpack lugging on your back, that too on the mountains are two totally different things. The recommended way of preparing for this is to actually carry a backpack on your back while walking but this idea is sure to invite strange looks from others. So, what I did was, I used to carry a heavy backpack (heavier than the one I was planning to carry on the trek) to office daily and took the stairs with it on my back.
The another funny thing I did was, I used to carry 20 liter water (of-course filled ones) cans from the ground-floor to my place on the third floor and back. As funny as it might sound, doing this helped me comfortably carry two bags almost all the time for the entire duration of the trek.
I knew that even if I did half of what I actually did as part of the preparation, I would have been able to complete the trek but the reason I took all the pain of this carrying and walking and taking the stairs was because I wanted to enjoy the trek and finish it comfortably and not just somehow get to the other end. At the end of the day, I guess I made a good decision.
Are you going on a trek in the coming days or months and have doubts about the preparation part? Leave me a comment below and I will be more than happy to share my experience.
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