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Not a regular family trek!


Swarada
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23rd Oct 2022 -  We were all geared up for an exciting adventure. My Aai came up with this brilliant idea of going for a Himalayan trek as a family. Three generations of our family - me and my sister, my parents, and my grandma (76 years old!). If this was not enough we decided to trek DIY(Do It Yourself) style! 
Which means we were going to run the trek by ourselves. It involved everything right from Navigating our way, pitching our own tents to even getting water, cooking food, washing bartans and what not! 

Just to give you a bit of background of how we planned this trek, we didn't do this without any prior experience of trekking. 
My parents have been trekking since their college days, they have taken me and my sister for treks since we were very young. My aunt also has trekked along with my parents. My grandma has done one trek in the Himalayas and walks 3-4 km everyday. 
We all have trekked in the Sahyadris, even DIY treks. But this was our first time in the Himalayas. 

The preparation started long back. We planned our menu, required ration, and made a list of equipment. Believe me, this planning too was such an interesting thing in itself!

Finally everyone arrived in Raithal and we started our trek. We were blessed by the mountain Gods and had clear weather on all days! I was concerned about the first day of the trek, since it’s the longest. 
Even though everyone was fully prepared, both mentally and physically, I was the only one who knew the entire route. 

Raithal to Gui is a long and arduous trek. It has a continuous ascent. It's around 4.5km long with 2500ft of altitude gain. For you to understand what that means, it is like climbing a building of 250 floors! 

I was mainly concerned about Ajji (Grandma). She is a very strong lady, mentally and physically. But she was also doing this for the first time. It is not possible to fully comprehend the challenges of a Himalayan trek before actually going on one. I am so proud of my Ajji for saying yes for this adventure! 

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That day she yet again proved her strength. She climbed steadily till Gui. She had a great pace. She took very few breaks, fewer than usual trekkers. At no point of the time did I see her panting. At the same time she was also appreciating the forest around us. She was showing us tiny insects, flowers by the side of the trail. The next day a lot of us had sore muscles whereas she was perfectly fine. She didn't have any aches or soreness. I want to be as strong as her when I become of her age. 

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With that spirit, we reached Gui. We pitched our tents, cooked delicious food and slept under a sky full of stars. We even got to see bright Jupiter and also the milky way shining bright in the sky. 

My grandma never complained about anything on the trek. Though it was difficult for her to tolerate the subzero temperatures and adjust with this new lifestyle she was happily doing everything! She was absolutely enjoying the whole experience while trying to cope up with it. 

Next day me and my grandma decided to stay back at Gui and enjoy the campsite while others went all the way to the summit directly from Gui and came back on the same day! Usually trekkers take two days to reach the summit. They camp at Chilapada and then attempt the summit. But they did it in a day. 

Since I stayed back, that day they even navigated the whole trail by themselves. I had given them one walkie, a few emergency medicines and had drawn a map for them. It was such an adventure for them to navigate by themselves. They were updating me on the walkie as and when they reached all the milestones I had mentioned on the map. It was truly a DIY trek for them and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. 
I am very proud of all of them as well for pulling this off. 

They were blown away by the summit views of Bandarpoonch which looks super close when seen from Dayara meadows. 

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The next day was our rest day. We stayed back at Gui and had the whole day for ourselves. 

I was transported back to my childhood days when that afternoon mom read out our all time favourite book- Bokya Satbande. We laughed our hearts out while listening to the stories. 

Mom and aunt had made khichadi and pithla (maharashtrian dish) premix at home. We cooked it on the tiny stove and canister. We cooked an elaborate meal- soup, main course, dessert! And then came the most difficult part. Washing dishes and utensils with ice cold water. We were just dreading this part of the trek. Since we had the stove we heated water and washed dishes with warm water! Perks of doing a DIY trek! 😛 

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That day we all relaxed. Few of us took a good nap in the afternoon while my dad explored the hill next to our campsite. He went all the way to the top and spotted so many birds! He got to practice his birding and photography skills. 

My grandma went around the campsite and clicked a lot of pictures of tiny little wonders of nature. 

After watching the stunning alpenglow on Gangotri range, all six of us uncomfortably huddled in a two person tent. We played a lot of games in that cozy and warm space.

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This whole experience of going on a family trek in DIY style got us all together. Everyone had their own struggles and we all overcame those struggles together. My sister was coming for a trek after a lot of years. My mom challenged herself to trek the long summit day considering the knee injury. My dad played a big role when it came to the DIY part of the trek. My aunt had come for a trek for the first time after her back injury. And of course my Ajji had signed up for this at this age and my challenge was to make sure that we all get the best experience possible. And it turned out to be simply beautiful!
It was indeed a memorable vacation for all of us. 

I wish everyone gets to go on treks with their families. It strengthens bonds like nothing else does.

 

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Edited by Swarada
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