Trekking the Himalayas: Things you need to realize

A lot of people travel to India with no intention of trekking the Himalayas. The huge mountain range just doesn’t enter their consciousness. Instead, they stick to the cultural delights that Delhi, Agra and Jaipur have to offer. Although they’re great, they weren’t carved by nature’s hand. The Himalayas are one of Mother Nature’s most ambitious projects. But for some reason they don’t quite have the same allure.

I have to admit, when I went to India I had no intention of trekking the Himalayas. Going that far North didn’t appeal to me at all. Maybe, it was the reports of cross border tensions with Pakistan or maybe I wasn’t fully aware of the Himalayas cultural significance. Whatever the reason, trekking them didn’t cross my mind for a minute. But, a wicked mix of impulsiveness, alcohol and some great sales patter; soon saw to any notion I had of sticking to the beaten path. But I knew little about what lay in store for me. Well, bar the fact that there were mountains. But as soon as the sun set behind the peaks on that first day, I knew all I needed to know. I loved trekking the Himalayas, but I was not prepared for them.
Snow covered himalayan mountain
Snow covered himalayan mountain
So, to prevent you from some of the same pitfalls as me; here are some of the things I learnt while trekking the Himalayas

The Himalayas are Cold

Yes, I know foolish of me not to realize the air is thinner so it’s colder. My backpack was packed for the humid southern hemisphere but instead I was greeted by equivalent temperature of winter in the North West of England. Sometimes the sun shone, a lot of the time it rained but it was never ever warm. Even with the cool air I still managed to get a sunburnt nose though, that wicked one two combo of breezes and sunshine, went to town on my nose. God damn you cheap sun cream!!!

Either you are really unfit or it’s harder to breathe

As most photos will demonstrate, I became a bit indulgent. Not on lavish goods or spa treatments, but definitely on the amount of Roti I consumed. Combine that with an exercise regime comparable to Pavarotti’s and my physical condition nosedived. So, when I was trekking kilometre after kilometre up a mountainside, the question had to be asked. Am I unfit? Or is it that the air is thinner? The answer, is probably somewhere in the middle. But what is for certain, is that my wheezing became a backing track to trekking the Himalayas. Now if only Kanye West would pay me to sample it, it might be able pay for a donkey to carry me round next time.

Everywhere you stay will be Rural!!

Trekking the Himalayas is pure escapism. The only civilization I passed were tiny villages set in between peaks. They are filled with small children, playing cricket with a worn bat and makeshift ball. The bustling cities were miles in our wake. With them, things like showers and toilets. A hole in the ground, a discreet bush and a wet wipe were all the amenities I had that week. I left the mountain feeling like a true explorer….. Bloody Awful. But, like all great explorers I’d seen sights for my memory to dine out on for a lifetime. When it’s a good day I can see the snow covered mountains while trekking the Himalayas, when it is a bad one……well, unfortunately it is the hole, post wet wipe. I never said all the sights were great now, did I?
our bed in the himalayas
our bed in the himalayas
So, they are just some of the things I realized while trekking the Himalayas. All of these imperfections and little trials are just some of the reasons I look back on my time trekking the Himalayas so fondly. They say the Taj Mahal is the heart of India. Well, if that is the case then the Himalayas are its soul. It’s calm, unassuming and beautiful soul.

If you want to read the better and more interesting post of how I ended up trekking the Himalayas. Then head over to Himalayas: I don’t know how I got here but I love it

Author: Hi everybody! My name is Martin and I originally created this article as an outlet for all my Himalaya trekking travelling tales.
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