"Home is behind, world ahead"...
Remember, this is the song Bilbo Baggins sings in The Hobbit. That little hobbit who even after endless confusion, question and hesitation grabs his bag and sets his feet towards an unknown path because he cannot resist to quench his thirst for an adventure. Leaving his warm study-room, old books and delicious dinner made of fish fry with lemon juice, and above all, his most comfort zone behind, he sets his feet for the "unexpected journey"!
It reminded me of my very own state. I left my home very behind already, now the whole world with an unknown path was ahead. A little anxious I was. Then again I remembered what the Lady Elf of the Wood said to Frodo Baggins. "If you don't find the way.. no one will"... She was right, wasn't she? If I don't find my way, who else was there to find it for me?
That morning we left Pasa Yard; until we reach our destination the road will be accompanying us not a home anymore and our feet will be our shade, not a roof anymore. Trekker; a single word consisting a loads of implications within it; an adventure-lover, explorer, walker, even a dreamer.
Sounds spectacularly amazing, but that doesn't mean roads do not take tolls. They do. And that's why you have to be careful about some particular things.
Be as lighter as possible: What To Pack In Your Back-Pack
Guess what I did on my first trekking. I took my laptop with me, along with its adapter, wires, converter and not to mention I had a camera, indubitably with a phone and more adapters and of course other personal stuffs... well, I am not counting the list. Apparently it did not take a long time to occur that absolute moment of epiphany when you realize that you should have left some of the stuffs behind. At least one or two? Haha!
Not my fault. I heard somewhere that wherever a woman goes, she takes the home with her. But, if you are a woman, and by any chance planning to trek, do not ever think of taking the whole home with you. Anyway, now your backpack list should go like this:
3. Washing kits (minimum)
5. Toilet Paper
6. Minimum clothes (If you have the facility of porters then try to shift your clothes there)
10.Water (snacks can be included if you need)
Never cross the border beyond these 10 dimensions. Though you have to arrange your backpack quite differently if you are planning to go for a long and risky trek. In that case different accessories, tent, food, sticks and many other things have to be included. However, my trip was a bit less risky and a bit less lengthy. And I guess that was fine for beginner trekkers like me! Though I would definitely like to go for a long and risky one; but for now, that wish is only stuck in my bucket list.
Never Forget To Take Water
The time when we started our journey, our first trek, sun-light went almost dimmed and with time it started getting colder as we trekked higher. Still, you would be amazed to find out how much you need to hydrate yourself. I felt thirsty in every 15 minutes and it's quite hard to walk for long time with dry and sore throat.
Check Out Your Speed
Be gentle; don't walk slowly, don't walk fast, and maintain your normal speed. It will help you to cop up in the beginning. If you are slow, you will lag behind and if you are fast you will get tired pretty much sooner and will lag behind anyway. I used to think I walk fine which was drastically proved wrong during my trek. I was unbelievably overwhelmed to find out how amazingly slow I could be! Then I started to accuse others that they were really bad slow walkers LOL. Thanks to my fellow trekkers who kept up with me. Even sometimes I felt like we were going for a picnic, loads of photo sessions here and there, laughing, giggling, playing pranks on each other! Walking seems more beautiful when you have someone to talk to, and share the journey together. Sometimes I forgot how much exhausted I was feeling as my mind remained drifted with loads of other stuffs!
Never Ignore A Toilet If You Find One
It’s better if you use the toilet right away if you get one because it’s always more difficult and could take ages to find the next one. Telling you, you are not going to get shiny toilets with proper toilet-fittings while you are on trek; actually I would say if you find one anyway you should consider that as your sheer luck! And even if you find one, you might not get any water inside it. So it’s better when you pack your bag note “toilet paper” as a mandatory stuff to carry with.
You Have To Follow Rules Even For Resting
Taking rest is fine. But what our mentors taught us that we should not sit down unless we are planning to take rest for minimum half an hour. In case the time is short we can just stop walking, stand and relax for a while, because short-term sittings make trekkers more tired.
In Case You Get Lost
Now, if you get lost which is pretty possible because what you imagine trekking to be, a team hang out yee! Moving together, laughing, having fun and all those stuffs... well, when you actually into it you would know trekking has many phases. You would never know when you would be with whom while following the trails. Sometimes you would find that you are just walking alone, listening to songs, admiring the nature, taking long breathes ... it does not mean you are not enjoying, every part of it is more amazing you could ever imagine. During trek sometimes people get tired of laughing, talking, then they seek solitude. Even the solitude brings peace to them. So it’s quite possible that when you are enjoying your solitude, somehow you could get lost. So, when it would occur to you that “may be” you have lost the way, DO NOT move. Stay wherever you are, let others find you. If you try to get them, you might get “more” lost! If you ask me, I did not actually get lost, but yes, I lost my companions for a while. I was damn tired, I wanted to sit desperately. So I just sat down on the stoned wall bidding them all goodbye one by one. I sat for a long time.
When it was just me and no one else was there, I cannot describe how I felt at that particular moment. In your whole life-time there are some rarest moments when you feel absolutely free, like a flying bird. I could see purplish blue sky getting darker and darker... those vivacious clouds almost touching the top of the hills... somewhere down in deep jungle, I heard the resonance of wild stream... It was calm and cold, and it was nothing like I had been through before. I closed my eyes... and tried to dissect every moment separately and catch it. With every long breathe I felt the fragrance of life touching me slowly and gently. Anyway, when I was finally done, I found no one around which was umm, quite expected. Then I went on and on and at a time I felt I might be in the wrong direction, then the porters showed up, and told me to follow the upper trail where I ran into a fellow trekker! Finally.
The More You Complain The More You Get Tired
I understand if you have never tried it before; I would completely understand if your feet has turned as heavy as stone, your senses have become numb, you are facing trouble to catch your breath and the burden over your shoulder is even making it worst. I know, because I have gone through all of these but what I have learned is the more you complain about it, the more it gets worse. Anything happens, take a moment, try to pacify yourself and start over. Trust me the more you would let your physical troubles irritate you, the more it would prevent you from enjoying the journey. Trekking is something you might not find it worthy in the beginning, but when it ends you would know why Ernest Hemingway said, "It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end".
Feet & shoes
You should always wear comfortable shoes while trekking, but don't forget the shoe you chose has to be long-lasting too. And moreover don't forget the socks. Socks primarily prevent you from getting blisters. I did not understand the greatness and effectiveness of socks until I got two big blisters on my feet.
Of course, a comfortable outfit makes a journey always more joyful! So, choose something that you would feel comfortable with while walking and stretching. Trekking involves loads of movement of human body-parts, so wear something flexible and you are good to go!
After three and half hours of walking, we finally reached Annapurna Conservation Area, the village named Bhadoure. A warm welcome and appearance of a home made us all cheerful after our endless struggle on the road. But the story does not end here. It has just unfolded a lot more tale to tell.