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Why do we Trek: An OHOT Perspective

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Why do we trek? Why would we want to walk for long hours for the few days that we get leaves from office? Why would we want to work out for it from a month in advance, sweat it out running, climbing floors? Why would we stay in tents, sometimes without a washroom, squatting behind rocks at dawn, wiping our arses with river water.

Into the Wild legend Christopher Mccandless summed it up beautifully when he said ” The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

And thus we walk, from the base of a mountain, through jungles, valleys, streams, wooden bridges, squealing when water enters into our shoes without permission.

On treks, we wake up at 5-6 am. I am infatuated with that lifestyle – waking up to a chilly morning, bread and eggs for breakfast, walking all day, in a new landscape. I want to do this every day.

When I walk alone, my head is a world of imagination – so many dreams running around telling me what all I want to do. I love the sounds on a trek. No cars, no horns, no neighbours screaming. Only the sound of the birds, and the gushing river.

Squatting in an Indian toilet or behind the rocks felt uncomfortable only on the first day. It feels normal from the next. Before the trek I wondered how many times I would bathe in the ten days. From day 3, there were no hotels. Hot water became chargeable. So each time I walk into a campsite, I pick up a mug and pour cold water all over my body. I am so warmed up from hours of walking, that I don’t shiver at all when the cold water touches my skin. In fact I love it. At  Deurali, at 3200 metres altitude, Anoop and I walk into camp, bathe in the open with cold water while its drizzling. At home, I mostly take hot water baths. Heh,  I could do this every day of my life now.

Maybe trekking for days detoxifies us of clutter, white noise.

Does walking for days on a mountain give us closure from some things? I have seen so many people tear up when they reach the summit or the targetted point, after days of walking. We aren’t the first people in the world to reach there, so why cry.  Maybe all the thoughts that run in our heads while we are walking for 6-7 hours daily all come together and overwhelm us when we reach the summit.

For some there is the sheer sense of achievement on being able to push themselves beyond what they physically thought they could. And for some, its just gratefulness, for being able to be in the midst of such beauty.

You must experience once – a 360 degree view of the world’s highest mountains. You will keep turning round in round in circles, keep smiling, keep exclaiming how beautiful it is. You will become a child. After all that’s how small we are in front of those mountains.

Why do we trek then. Well, I don’t know. I just want to get up tomorrow morning, have bread and eggs with some sherpas,  and walk on a mountain again.

Our love for treks has pushed us to put up a lot more treks this year. While our Kasol Bunbuni trek is going on as we speak, some of the upcoming treks we are doing are

Bhrigu Lake Trek: July 2-6
Kashmir Great Lakes : July 30- Aug 6
Tarsar Marsar trek: August 21- 29
Annapurna base camp: September 17-27
Everest base camp: September 17- 30

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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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