I am not a trekker, and I am indeed not fond of trekking.
Not because I can’t walk for an extended period but because I am extremely clumsy and tend to fall often on the plain ground itself. Also, I have a fear of heights which can turn my legs into jelly and make me clumsier. So, you can imagine my horror when my first trek turned out to be Kheerganga in Kasol.
Now, you might be thinking why this stupid girl went to Kheerganga if she doesn’t like to trek. Well, because I didn’t know earlier how a trek actually works. I thought I would be walking on a trail through rolling hills where the ascent would be gradual. I didn’t even dream that I would have to climb some places or I would be asked to jump through the waterfalls.
It turned out that trekking is actually not my cup of tea, and my first trekking experience turned out to be both hilarious and life-changing. A lot of experienced trekkers do not ever tell you how difficult it is to trek and climb for a person who is clumsy or afraid of heights. How can they when they are neither of them?
I am certainly not trying to scare you from trying trekking ever but guide you so that you don’t similar mistakes like me. Here are six major mistakes that I made while going for my first trek and how I suffered for each of those mistakes.
Mistake Number 1: Overestimating My Walking Capability
The biggest mistake that I made while planning Kheerganga is that I overestimated my capabilities. Sure, I can cycle for 50 km a day or walk 15 – 20km a day but trekking 13km is altogether a different story. Especially, when you start at 12 – 1 p.m. and have to reach the campsite before the nightfall.
The thing is no matter how far you can walk or cycle, it will never equal to trekking because trekking requires more strength and energy and you also have to counter in the edge where you will be walking. So, be prepared and don’t take treks too lightly, especially if you are not a seasoned trekker.
Mistake Number 2: Packing heavily for the Trek
The next mistake that I made was to carry too much stuff in my bag along with my camera bag. Anyone who has walked with their camera bags for more than an hour knows what I am talking about. So, I had both of these things weighing me down during the trek which drained my energy quicker than others.
One important thing to note is that you cannot compare two people’s luggage because their size, weight, bag size, etc. come into play too. So, make sure that you keep your bag as light as possible when trekking but don’t forget the essentials.
Mistake Number 3: Insufficient Research on the Trek
Well, this one seems to be obvious now, but we didn’t properly research while planning our trip. In fact, all I checked was that Kheerganga is situated after Manikaran and we will need to walk approximately 10km to reach the place.
A night before the trek we come across information that Kheerganga trek isn’t easy and requires a lot of climbs and one should pack lightly. Oops, there goes our day. While I must admit, my second trek to Prashar Lake was easier than I expected but I can only attribute it to the fact that this time we had researched properly.
So, make sure that you research about the trek in detail and ask a few people before you actually go for it. You can also check out our guide on Kheerganga for a better idea about the trek.
Mistake Number 4: Wearing Sneakers for the Trek
Another major mistake that I made was to wear sneakers while trekking through a thin, muddy trail. Yeah, sneakers were probably not a good idea, and in the hindsight, I should have known. However, I have already made the mistake Number 1 and 3 which is why I ended up trekking in my sneakers.
Thank God that I had found an Army Major over there who helped me trek my way up otherwise I am sure that I would have either returned or would have probably fallen from one of the steep paths.
Important rule: Always wear trekking shoes or shoes with a good grip while trekking or use your socks to cover the sole of your shoes else you will end up slipping a lot.
Mistake Number 5: Carrying Insufficient Amount of Cash
In truth, most of our mistakes were intermingled. Due to insufficient research and overestimation, we didn’t factor in that Kasol will not have an ATM or that there would be no money in the available ATM. We only realized our mistake once we had burned through our cash and just had 600-800 INR left with us to spend for the two days we were staying in Kheerganga.
So basically, 4 of us had to make do with this small amount which is why we couldn’t often eat enough or had a proper meal to energize ourselves.
Make sure that you always take extra cash when going for trekking because you never know if you will get an ATM to withdraw or not.
Mistake Number 6: Avoiding a Proper Meal
Yes, yes I know this one was no excuse, but the thing was I was worried that I would have to go to the washroom in the middle of the trek if I ate too much. Can you even imagine how embarrassing that would be? So, I avoided eating too much.
That was a big mistake because when you are trekking for 12km in the harsh sunlight with only water inside of you, you will start feeling dizzy and tired. In fact, by the end of the trek back to the base, I could hardly move my legs. It felt like my legs had turned into a big pile of mush. To be honest, we were not that far from our destination. It was just another 1-2 km, but those last few kilometers stretched out till eternity. I wanted to just give up, but we had a bus to catch so I kept on trying.
Thankfully, a friend of mine was with me at the time who came to my rescue. He carried my bag and helped me walk those last few steps. Once we reached the cab, I just slumped into the seat and slept off. I was that tired.
Make sure you eat properly before starting on the trek and if you are worried about taking a dump, then just stick to energy drinks and protein bars.
Overall, my first trekking experience was an eye-opener, and although I cursed several parts of it, I must say it was completely worth it in the end. Trust me, the view from the Kheerganga camp made for all the bruises and tiredness and made me realize that sometimes you have to earn the best views in life.
I have trekked a few times since then to enjoy some amazing views like in Prashar lake, Mount Bromo, etc. I still don’t like it too much but yes, no pain no gain.
Hope you guys try trekking too and let me know how your experience was in the comments below. Till then, happy trekking guys!