The Himalayan trek is organised by the school. April & May are the ideal months for trekking. Having no prior experience in trekking is not a deterrent, as the organisers are providing amenities such as tents, meals, sleeping bags, rucksacks and lavatories. The idea of an adventure holiday without parents seemed very appealing to our 13 year old and there were no signs of backing out. There was also the prospect of catching snow, something not encountered so far. Not to mention the super cool look of a trekker with the boots, sun-glasses, backpack and trekking pole.
Chanderkhani is located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. The trek begins from the village of Naggar located 21 kms from the popular hill station Manali. Naggar was once the capital of the Kullu kingdom. It is at an altitude of 6800 ft and reaching here takes you half-way up. 😀
The itinerary chalked out reads as follows:
Day #1: Bangalore to Delhi by flight. Departure from Delhi by bus in the evening.
Day #2 : Morning reach Naggar (Base Camp) at 6800 ft. Acclamatization walk , activities such as rappelling and local sightseeing including the Naggar Castle and the Roerich Art Gallery.
Day #3 : Trek to Campsite 1 at 7800 ft
Day #4 : Trek to Campsite 2 at 9800 ft
Day #5 : Trek to Chandekhani Top at 12,500 ft
Day #6 : Downhill trek to Campsite 1 (another route)
Day #7 : Downhill trek to Base Camp
Day #8 : Trip to Manali and board bus back to Delhi
Day #9 : Reach Delhi and fly out to Bangalore
This fairly simple itinerary does not reveal the challenges of high altitude, cold nights, possible rain and hail, no bathing once they leave the Base Camp, aching legs and sore body. It is challenging as the few days will see a new rhythm and routine. Walking 30 minutes everyday for a week or two prior to the days of trek is recommended.
Packing is arduous task. They are taking suitcases with them and leaving the same at the Base Camp after transferring only the 5 day trekking essentials to the rucksack. The rucksacks will be carried by mules at extra cost and the students need to carry only their lighter day bags. The organisers provided a list of things to carry along. Since there is re-packing involved at the Base Camp, it is advisable to store the items day-wise in smaller covers.
Hunting for suitable winter wear in summer months is not easy. But thankfully, the process began for us in February when the end of season sale for the winter stuff was on. And the most difficult thing to choose is the shoes. Light or heavy? Water-resistant or waterproof? Boots or trail runners? Here is where a first time trekker gets stuck. There are many views arguing for both sides and making a choice is difficult, as people make the preference with the experience.
One thing is sure, this summer,the sleepy foot-hills of the Himalayas are definitely going to be buzzing with action.