If you want to make this trip sometime in future, here are a few handy tips. I wish I had known some of these before we made our trip. I have learnt a few of them after we completed the trip. Here are my nuggets of experience that will make your next trip to Himalayas better. If you are already from the mountains, or you have already made the trip, then you can help me add to them, in case I have missed out.
For the trek
- Invest in good trekking shoes, that are waterproof. Some of us had non-waterproof ones. Their feet became wet and soaked in.
- Break in your shoes, so that you will not shoe bitten on the trek.
- Keep warm and water-proof jackets that button up well up to the neck. Do not underestimate the weather.
- Do not forget warm gloves and caps that cover the ears. The winds can get super chilly.
- It can start raining any moment high up on the mountains. If possible, take light weight raincoats. This will be useful on the Kedarnath and Yamunotri treks. Sometimes you can purchase raincoats there. But those are of really low quality that don’t really protect.
- Do not carry a lot of items in your handbags during the trek. It becomes quite cumbersome.
- If say you are a party of four, it makes sense for each of you to carry hands-free carry cases for essential items during trek, like backpacks, fanny packs or side sling bags.
- Make sure to pack snacks, cash, list of important contacts, hotel address, contact details and such other info in each one’s possession.
- Before starting, mark out a point where you will all meet when you reach. This is helpful in case of low mobile connectivity.
- On the Kedarnath trek, it makes sense to wear warm pants. I had pulled on a pair of pants over a legging. That helped in keeping me quite warm. Thermal wear may be useful. We never thought of that.
- The palki, pittu and khachar people do not operate on digital money. Carry cash before the start of your trek.
For the journey
- Carry enough change of clothes.
- There are many places where there will be opportunities for holy baths. So there are bound to be wet clothes. Take extra bags to hold your wet stuff.
- There may be opportunity to put these to dry wherever you may be put up. So take a nylon string along to tie from window to window or something.
- Take a detergent soap along just in case you will need it.
- Take all medicines that you generally need and also emergency medications for conditions like nausea, upset stomach, headaches, giddiness, etc. Ask your doctor for help.
- Take a supply of lozenges and ginger chaat etc. These help with motion sickness when you start climbing higher and higher up the hills. The roads do take steep turns and curves.
- Pack in knee pads, ankle binds and such items to help in case of aches and sprains, if any. Ayurvedic pain oils help alleviate aches after treks.
- Take a supply of dry fruits. They are a source of instant energy and can help even if you go without food for long periods of time. They saved us in the Kedarnath trek.
- Take empty plastic bottles that do not leak to bring back holy waters of Ganga and Yamuna.
- If you are travelling in the summer like we did, you will need light, summer clothing for the plains and warm winter-ish clothing for the mountain tops. Make peace with the fact that you cannot travel light! 🙂
- Pack in portable data chargers, you may not find a power outlet except in your rooms.
Of course take a lot of pictures and videos. They will stay with you as you create lifelong memories.