A Trekkers Guide to KGL Trek
KGL Trek

हिमालय की गोद में!

“In the lap of Himalayas”

Disclaimer: The views that are being presented in this blog are completely personal. The blog is a travelogue of this trek as I have experienced it and seen it through my eyes. It is likely that people may not agree with the viewpoint that may be presented in this blog however this blog should be read as informative material that can be used by other people who wish to embark on the trek for the first time. Since I am not a regular Himalayan trekker (though wish to be one) certain aspects that have been detailed out in this blog may seem to be “a given” for regular trekkers. However, this blog intends to provide insight as well as best practices for first-time Himalayan trekkers so that they can enjoy the trek.

Total Height and Distances

Please note that there is a lot of variation in the inputs received from different sources on the accuracy of the height of each peak as well as the distance covered between the two campsites. The numbers provided are approximate to provide a fair estimate. These numbers are gathered post-discussion with the Trek Leader.

The Audience for this Blog

The intended audience for this blog is specifically first-timers to Himalayan treks, People who have not visited the Himalayas at all but would like to enjoy a travelogue, College students who might be planning a trek in the near future, or any other person who is interested to read travelogues and just anyone enjoys to travel and read!

Prelude to the KGL Trek

The idea of doing a trek in Kashmir this year was so enticing that I could hardly refuse it. Our small stay-fit group which is a group of health enthusiasts had already done one successful Himalayan trek last year in Nepal, so had a fair amount of experience. This year I had the energy, enthusiasm as well as time to go for the trek and I was pretty much excited. I have been into my fitness regime for the last 3 years now so I was pretty confident that I can make it but definitely knew that a separate focused practice for the trek would be absolutely essential and was completely geared up for that. I had apprehensions typically about a few of the aspects such as the impact of mountain sickness, body reaction to high altitudes which are completely unpredictable and the impact differs from person to person and has very little to do with physical fitness or even prior Himalayan trek experience per se!

I had to base all my calculations on my experience in the Himalayas when I went to Marhi (a place near Manali) through the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute for a month-long Skiing program almost thirty-seven years back when I was in School and then the subsequent trek I did in Kashmir Kishtwar which was sort of failure as we could not complete the trek due to heavy rains and bad climate. I have never got a chance after that almost for a period of thirty-five years to go to the Himalayas and hence this was a great opportunity that I wanted to grab!

With all these apprehensions, some exposure long back in history but tremendous enthusiasm and aspiration to experience the Himalayas again I geared up for this trek!

Initial Inputs and Information

As any one would do today Google and YouTube become the best-known sources of information today. Similarly, I researched a bit and found out that this trek is not an easy trek. It has been categorized by as Moderate – Difficult. Few video clips do give some idea in terms of the overall duration of a walk in a day etc. A few YouTube videos that I watched which helped me build some sort of picture of the trek in my mind and an idea of the fitness levels requirement are given below. However, let me warn you -None of these is even close to the actual experience but definitely helpful to at least give an idea of the importance of preparation that is required for the trek.

Other Inputs

Few other inputs from the people who had been on this trek were similar to information available on Google but did stress on endurance part of it.

In Conclusion

The inputs just helped me to get a sense of physical fitness but nothing more than that. I have tried to provide a lot of detailed information from the overall ecosystem around this trek which should help you to be better prepared for what is coming!

Although reading this blog and experiencing the trek are two different things altogether, it should be considered as supporting documentation to enjoy the trek better!

KGL Trek Preparation (Fitness)

I started to prepare myself physically about three months in advance. With the information above the only thing that I could get is a requirement to be able to walk which had ascents and descents and straight walks every day and up to 8 hours a day. I have a personal trainer in the Gym, so I discussed this with him, and the training was then sort of focused on certain aspects such as increasing core strength by doing more core exercises such as Crunches (Straight and Twisting), Leg raises, Plank, Step ups, Lunges, Squats and so on.

In addition to this, I was also aware that a good amount of cardio exercise also needs to be added to the regimen. Our Stay fit members who had participated in this trek were regulars to the ARAI hillock in Pune. I joined them with a focused exercise of climbing the hillock at least 4 times (up and down) with a backpack weighing around 6 kg on the back to try and simulate actual conditions. As a group, we also made it a point to go to Sinhagad at least twice a month which definitely proved to be excellent exercise when I look back as the terrain in Sahyadri is actually more challenging than what you get in the Himalayas.

I would like to specially mention here that my association with Ethos personal fitness studio run by Aditya Barve and my trainers Hemraj and Mayuresh have played a major role in improving my fitness levels which has made this trek possible for me!

In Conclusion

A combination of Functional exercises, Weights, and Cardio was what I thought would be a good mix.

Trek Preparation (Mindset)

Long walks at times are isolated. It requires a specific mindset to be created to be able to endure these walks as well as enjoy them! I had a done 100 km Oxfam initiative which involved walking 100 km at a stretch in two days just about 2 years back before COVID. The experience helped me a lot in KGL trek to have the trekkers mindset. We also embarked on smaller treks such as the Harishchandra Gad trek which is almost 5 hours walk, Katraj – Sinhagad Trek almost 7 to 9 hours walk which fine-tuned me psychologically.

KGL Trek Preparation (Luggage)

This was the most interesting and complicated part of the entire preparation. I had not been on such a long trek (8 days+) for about thirty + years and I had no clue as to how much amount of luggage is the most ideal to carry. I simply based it on two inputs I had:

  • The Airline allows 15 kg check-in and 7 kg as personal baggage totaling to 22 Kg
  • We were instructed to restrict our luggage that will be loaded on animals (Khachkars) while it gets transported from one camp to other to 10 Kgs

With these two inputs, I started packing. Being a thorough planner due to my profession I had a lot of redundancy built in to the overall packing. The overall weight almost for the checking bag was just about 15 Kgs and this was supposed to be carried on the Khacchars. I

 did violate the norm though was hoping that someone else would have packed much lesser and I may get away with this!

There was also an input related to rains and hence I had packed various sets of clothes in to smaller polythene bags. Roughly the entire luggage was then put in to a Duffle bag and had around 8 clothes and other things in to 8 odd polythene bags.

I had a back pack of 25 Litres apart from the Duffle bag which would be used to carry my day pack mainly a Poncho, some warm clothing to cover the head and ears, a jacket, Poncho, Tiffin, water, wallet, identification and Goggles.

KGL Trek Preparation (Food)

While I was aware that the food in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner would be taken care off I had additionally equipped myself with specific protein products which should help to satisfy the daily protein requirement as I was not sure on the type of food that would be served during the trek.

Following were specific ingredients that I had carried:

  • Dry fruit mix 60-80 gms per day packets, one packet to be consumed per day during the trek. Mix consisting of Almonds, Pistachio, Pecans, Walnuts, Cranberries, Ground Nuts, Black Raisins
  • Kapoor Laddus – A mix of dry fruits along with Kapoor to give a nice sweet taste for the laddus

Trek Preparation (Accessories)

Apart from the clothing I had following accessories which are a must on KGL trek.

PonchoBladder type water bottle (termed as hydration bottle) with a carrying capacity of

2.5 litres which fits in to a trekking back pack where in a separate pocket is kept for that in the sack, Wildcraft trekking shoes with Anklets as well as inner soles, 2 trekking sticks, 2 pairs of hand gloveswoollen balaclavaSunglasses with a UV Protection on the lens (Non blue colour), Tiffin box to fill in and carry daily lunch, sleeping bag Inner (it’s a light weight cotton material inner lining which takes the shape of sleeping bag to be inserted in the bag from a hygiene perspective as the sleeping bags are typically a shared asset), thermos flask bottle for hot water, thermals – 2 pairs. Toilette paper rolls, Sun cap, woollen cap, Two jackets, One sweater, Two head torches, one pencil Torch, Sunscreen, Cold cream,

These are specific accessories that I had packed in based on the inputs received. However there is a section in the later part of the blog which will also provide the Gaps between what I had carried and what I should have carried or could have been dropped.

The KGL Trek

Day 1 (Srinagar to Shitkadi by Bus – 84 km.)

 As the D-Day arrived I was quite excited. We decided to go one day in advance so as to help us settle down and acclimatize ourselves in Srinagar. Our friend Amit Apte who had taken a lead in organizing this trek for us had booked all of us (totalling to 15 people) in a very reasonably priced but nice and clean hotel called Walisons in Srinagar very close to the Dal Lake Boulevard road Gate no. 2. This hotel was also reasonably close to the pickup point. The staff was very courteous, food was reasonable ok

We were picked up from a central place in Srinagar and put in to a two buses. The total group size was about 45, though divided in to two groups. The buses were extremely ordinary and space was very limited and cramped. The luggage went on the top of the bus. It took around 3 hours of travel to reach the base camp called Shitkadi very close to Sonmarg at a height of 8,950 ft. Srinagar is a at the height

 of 5200 ft which means we already gained around 3,750 ft. The moment we stepped out of the bus we could feel the chilling air!

The site was quite impressive but the thing to note that there is huge amount of construction work that is currently on in this area and hence there is a lot of construction debris around the campsite. This is the construction of Z- Morh Tunnel which is a proposed 6.5 km long 2 – lane road tunnel between Gagangair and Sonmarg. One could hear the continuous noise of excavation and work is almost day and night.

Once we got settled in our Tents we were then briefed by our Base camp Manager Mr. Mudassar on the overall trail, things that we need to be aware off, the daily routine in brief, the care that we need to take while walking etc. It was a very informative session. I was quite astonished when Mudassar told us that he had completed the KGL trek almost 250 times!

We were also introduced to our Trek Leader Mr. Javaid Khan as well as guides Gulzar and Rizwan. All of them were very young probably in early twenties but very well experienced in trekking and specifically on the KGL Trek. The day concluded with a good Dinner.

Day 2 (Shitkadi to Nachnai (1200 ft), 12 km)

The next Day we were about to set a routine. I will talk about the daily routine in a separate section called Day in a Life of KGL. After getting prepared we started for our first day trek which was to reach Nichnai Camp site located at 12000 ft. The first day it self we had to climb 3000 ft+. If I were to give an analogy this is roughly close to scaling 2.5 times the famous Sinhagad fort near

 Pune which is about 1,290 ft climb. The overall distance that had to be covered was about 12 km.

The trek starts with a climb taking you through the green meadow where one can see Sonmarg as well as Tajima’s Glacier . After walking for about an hour one arrives at the first Army post where the Indian Army personnel check your Aadhar card and also verify if you are following the Twitter handle (Kashmiri Diaries – Totani Baba1). This is a one protocol every trekker has to follow and is thoroughly checked by the Indian Army. Post this point you will start losing the connectivity. Once we past the check post then trail moves through

maple and pine tree forests which is an experience on its own! The first stop that we had was called as the first Maggie point also known as Table Top which reminded me of Table Land in Panchagani! We had some snacks and a halt at the Table top and then we carried on our journey just to enter in to another beautiful area which was dominated by Silver Birch Trees or Bohm Patra Forest. These are the same trees which provided paper centuries ago for writing long scriptures. These trees are particularly seen in Kashmir. As we passed the Bhoj Patra forest we entered in to a long meadow walk alongside a stream between the valley. It was quite a long and strenuous walk for about two hours and we reached our lunch point. While we were just about to reach the lunch point the climate suddenly changed and the sky was instantly covered with dark clouds and rain started pouring in initially slowly but later picked up some pace and just kept on raining almost till we reached our campsite. While we reached the campsite with a lot of excitement it immediately died down as we started to realise that our sacks, clothes, socks, shoes etc were wet. Post unloading and inspecting the luggage it also came to light that the part of the luggage in the bag which was not protected by polythene had become wet too!

Rain also brings in another issue which is much lower temperatures and a chilling atmosphere. It became all the more difficult first to comprehend the complete situation its impact and then identify a solution. The mind was completely confused. On top of that the trek leader mentioned that in case the climate remains the way it is the next day we may not be able to trek the next day and of course if it continues then there is always a chance that the trek route may have to be reconsidered! I realised that day that Himalaya is so unpredictable!

It was difficult to take dinner that day though had a little and went inside the tent and in to the sleeping bag. There were lots of thoughts dancing in the mind and it was necessary to calm them down. Post a deep breathe I just calmed down and finally decided come what may I will be confident and shall fight the situation as it comes. Then I could sleep a little better. A good night sleep was absolutely essential to endure through the next day.

Nichnai Camp Site : 12000 Ft

 Day 3 Nichnai to Vishansar via Nichnai Pass (Max ht13,100 Ft, 12 Km)

As I woke up early morning around 4:30 am and just peeked out of the tent, the climate seemed clear which was extremely reassuring. As the day unfolded further the sun started coming up and I was quite happy that the day was going to be extremely clear with a great climate! This was a great news and suddenly as if I was re energised. Our trek started with a tiring climb for about 3 hours to scale the Nichnai pass. The view at the top post the steep climb is absolutely magical and worth all the hard efforts that were put in. The trek closes in Vishansar Campsite which also happens to be the first Alpine lake in the journey. A day with huge climb, spectacular views, gradual descent and a long walk through grasslands till the campsite is how I will describe this day!

Day 4 Vishansar to Gadsar via Gadsar Pass (Max ht13,800 Ft, 16 Km)

The day 4 is the most important day from the trek perspective and the highlights are:

  • Longest trek duration day for 8 to 9 hours with a distance of 16 km
  • The first appearance of an Alpine lake and its truly mesmerising when you see the lake

 If you are able to endure this day without much of issues while walking then you have almost made it through the trek as this being the longest and possibly the hardest day of the trek.

Alpine Lakes

The lakes at high altitudes starting after 10,000 ft are termed as Alpine lakes. It’s an interesting phenomenon to see how Alpine lakes are formed. When Ice forms a huge mass over earth it carves out great pits and scrub the land as the mass of ice moves along. As the Glaciers start melting water fills these large depressions which forms these lakes. For every lake of these seven lakes you will observe that there is a huge glacier at the top. These are unique formations, every lake has its own beauty and watching these lakes is truly mesmerising. Every lake has a different character and triggers different emotions and expressions in your mind. I will detail out what I felt when I saw each of these lakes in the blog later!

Day 5 Gadsar to Satsar (Max Ht 13,400 Ft, 9 Km)

This was a comparatively easy day with lovely climate and some fantastic views. The trek is very comfortable. One passes through the great Satsar lake to close on a lovely campsite at Satsar. This campsite was by far the most beautiful campsite and reminded me of the movie Sholay as the campsite resembles the Terrain of the Ram gad village which has been presented in the movie. Some snaps below will give a glimpse of this campsite.

Main highlights of the day:

  • Fantastic views as you scale the height
  • Meadow walks on most of the route
  • Mesmerising Gadsar lake
  • Beautiful campsite

 Day 6 Satsar to Ganbal via Zaj Pass (Max Ht 13,500 Ft, 9 Km)

By this day I was completely in tune with the overall Himalayan climate and attained a certain rhythm in the trek which had become a part of my life. The highlights for this day include

  • A day with absolutely clear climate and usual 3 hour climbs to cross Zaj pass
  • A tough crossing through Rocky Boulders, no sticks allowed here
  • Huge Descent close to about 2 hours
  • Lovely walks through meadows and grass lands
  • Fantastic view of Gangbal and Nandakul lake at the closure of the day

 Day 7 Gangbal to Naranag (Descent to 6000 Ft, 13 Km)

This was the last day of the trek where we had a huge descent close to 6000 ft. All our campsites were at 12,000 ft and now we had to do a huge scale-down. The last day as well provided some wonderful views. Some of the highlights of the last day were

  • The transition from grasslands to Pine forests (from 10,000 ft and downwards where tree line starts)
  • Last Army check point where one has to again produce the Adhar cards, but an extremely beautiful site where the camp is located
  • A Maggie point just before the huge descent begins where you get connectivity and can talk to loved ones before you reach Naranag
  • Huge descent, extremely slippery and complicated trail, need to be extremely careful on each and every step
  • Last day of the trek! You bid farewell to mountains

Overall KGL Trek at Glance

Specific Topics

Planned Vs Actual recommended

I have discussed several aspects of preparation phase in the initial part of the blog. Post the completion of the trek and looking back I feel there needs to be a correction on some of the aspects of planning to refine. The below table will identify the Gaps in the planning and the optimal state as per my understanding. This information can help the first timers a lot.

 Trek Preparation

 Gaps between my planning and Actual

 Additional Recommendations for first timers

 Physical Fitness

Adding Yoga to my daily regimen to increase the flexibility further would help in a better trekking experience apart from what I am already doing

· Focus on core exercises and functional at least 6 months prior

· Focus on regular cardio exercises thrice a week 6 months in advance

· Small treks to forts like Sinhagad twice a month 3 months in advance

· Full body check-up, specifically get dental work done well before the trek begins

  Mindset

No Gaps

· Couple of endurance treks to get a feel of continuous 8 hours walk with on a rough terrain would be a good practice.

· I found Harishchandra gad trek to be an excellent practice trek for those in Maharashtra

  Luggage

· Total weight to be carried to be restricted to 8 Kgs to 10 Kgs max

· A 80 Litre sack is better than a duffle bag

· Need to ensure each and every item is protected against rain. A sack also provides a good protection as it has inbuilt rain cover

apart from the polythene packing inside

· Refer the original preparation section along with the Gap. This should help better luggage preparation

  Food

No Gap

· Good sumptuous and tasty food is served through the trek

· Additional snacks just to ensure daily protein content is satisfied needs to be carried. A thumb rule – daily protein content for a person

in gms = Weight in Kg

  Accessories

· One stick is good enough (for me)

· Should have carried a better quality Sunscreen. Lotus

Sunscreen is better

· Refer the original preparation section along with the Gap. This should help better luggage preparation

· 2 good dry fit track pants are sufficient, where as I had carried 3

· Half pants not required – I had carried 2

· 4 Dry fit T shirts are sufficient I had carried 9

Exercise to activity mapping

Physical fitness is one of the most important aspect that needs to be considered on a trek like KGL/ I have provided the specific exercises earlier in the blog however I am providing the activity wise mapping of some of the exercises which will give an idea as to where the specific exercises will be applied during the entire trek

 Activity

 Exercise

  Getting up from the sleeping bag

· Crunch cum sit ups

  Attending Dry pit Toilet (Indian style)

· Squats

· Lunges

  Getting out of the tent

· Surya Namaskar

  Sitting in the tent

· Sukhasan, Padmasan

  Trek Preparation

· Full body Stretching

  In Trek activities

· Squats

· Lunges

· Step Ups

· Light weight Gym

· Stability exercises

· Mobility Exercises

· Cardio

The trekking Support System (Trek Leads, Kitchen staff and others)

There is a full fledge ecosystem that works behind the scenes to make these treks successful. It’s a great opportunity for youngsters in Kashmir to make money and it can be scaled in future too. Each batch has roughly followed configuration of support staff

Total Batch Size: 20

No. of Khacchars required : 21

Staff helping transportation on Khacchars : 5

No. of Kitchen staff: 1 chef + 3 helpers

No. of Trekking guides: One lead (Senior and accountable for the safety of each trek participant) + 2 guides (Junior)

No. of Kitchen Tents (A Type) : No. of Dinner Tents (A Type) : 2 Total support staff : 12 for group of 20 Trek Leads

Chef and Kitchen staff

Food is the most important aspect of the KGL trek. Proper intake of the food, right food at the right time with a great taste is absolutely important as trekking in Himalayas is extremely hard and strenuous activity. The food that was served to us by our chef was always on time with a great variety and was very tasty. I was quite interested to know what is happening behind the scenes on this aspect and hence I interviewed the Chef who was kind enough to open up his life story to me. I will try to provide a peek in his life, I am sure most of the chef community will have similar stories which will give an idea to the reader in the life of these important backstage Artists.

Name: Laxman Singh Bisht

Native: Uttarakhand, Chamoli District, Village Kuling

Laxman studied till 12th standard however he had to leave education to support the family from a financial perspective as his father could not provide complete support due to health issues. Laxman always had a inclination towards cooking and hence he ventured in to that area as a helper in a restaurant in the place where he hails from. Later he moved to Delhi and again joined as a helper in one of the posh restaurants. His penchant for cooking caught the eye of the chef their and he advised him to venture in to actual cooking in another job.

Laxman then joined a Dhaba and from their on his journey flourished as a cook! He also

garnered the art of making different Mithai’s such as Gulab Jamuns, Kala Jamuns as well as Roso Gollas when he use to take lessons from his room mate who use to work at a

Mithaiwala. The food that was served to us had the roots in Laxman’s hard work and passion about cooking. Last day he served us Gulab Jamoon’s which were just out of the world!…Hats off to him!

Laxman is now a regular in this business of being a cook on a trek. He is quite sought after due to his culinary skills. The life of a cook is harsh yet satisfying he says. The kitchen staff also has a responsibility to be present on the campsite atleast 2 to 3 hours in advance and build the tents and start the preparation. This means that the kitchen staff which leaves a little later than we do on a camp almost walks at speed double than us and completes the daily trek in about 3 hours, for which we take 8 hours! The daily walk is a given for these guys, there specific job actually starts after they reach a campsite. This insight was an eye opener for me and a lot of learning of the eco system around us which we do not see but is working to support us!

Living in Tent

In a Himalayan trek such as KGL there are two separate interesting set of experiences that one goes through. The trek in itself through the day and living in a tent. While staying in the tent may prima facie look easy and exciting, its not as easy as it sounds to be unless you are trained to stay in a tent! One does not need a special training per say but a good awareness and understanding of living in a tent would help adapt the situation much faster. Once you do a trek like KGL that would also act as a training ground to stay in the tents. Few things that should be considered while living in the tent are as below:

  • A tent is a shared property hence ensure that you keep it clean
  • Always check the chain whether it opens and closes properly for a tent. In case not then raise that as an issue to camp leader and try to get this sorted
  • I had opted for a single tent for myself. Typically Tents are shared between two people. There are advantages of sharing such as better heating due to two people in a tent, some one to talk to, a great relationship gets built etc, while as the disadvantage is space. The tents provided although for two people are not really so if we consider the luggage aspect of it.
  • There are better tents available which may have a bifurcation between sleeping area and luggage area, these tents are better. You should check directly with the agency, there is a possibility that with a little more money one might be able to get a better tent
  • I have also prescribed various exercises which would make your life easier in the tent which definitely needs to be practiced before going for the trek.

Day in life of KGL

A typical Day in life of KGL trek looks as below:

5:00 am to 6:00 am : Get up Freshen up (Washroom, Brushing your teeth, pack your sleeping bag)

6:00 am to 7:00 am : Have black tea (Kahwa), Pack your day bag to be loaded on the Khacchar, get hot water, cold water, change your clothes

7:00 am to 7:45 am : Breakfast, pack your sack which you will carry with you, get the tiffin box filled, wear your shoes and get ready

7:45 am to 8:00 am: Stretching exercises 8:00 am : Start for the trek

11:30 am : Break for snacks 2:00 pm : Break for Lunch

 4:00 pm: Back to camp site, do stretching exercises, get your sleeping bags, your luggage and settle down in the tent

5:00 pm : Tea and Snacks

7:30 pm : Dinner followed by a briefing for the next day 8:30 pm: Sleeping time!

What if scenarios?

Poor fitness and lack of practice

It’s quite unfortunate that none of the Organizers check the physical fitness and ability to complete the trek of the people who want to do the trek. They just shave off this responsibility by getting an indemnity bond signed by each participant so you are responsible for your fate!

The organizers do have a lot of experience and also are willing to provide help if required, however, there is no governance per se on mandating basic physical fitness.

We had a few such cases where they were handled by providing a horse to them specifically for climbing tough terrains within the trek. However riding a horse also is quite tiresome and can be fatal in case of accidents, walking on your own feet is better!

If I don’t drink enough water

Keeping oneself hydrated is extremely important. In case you don’t you are likely to get Acute Mountain sickness (Headaches, acidity, diarrhea, etc). Low hydration also may pose challenges while climbing. Take a few sips of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Bladder-type water storage helps you to have this very easily while you walk.

 Push yourself to complete faster

If you push too much then there is a possibility that you may burn out. It is essential to find your own pace and carry that pace throughout. Remember the trek is for 6 days, and one needs the energy till the last step.

Oxygen Levels going down

Oxygen levels are checked daily. Typically oxygen levels above 82-83 are considered reasonable at high altitudes (As per the information shared by the Trek leader). In our batch typically the oxygen levels ranged between 85 to 99. It is likely that at high altitudes these levels may come substantially down and the person will start feeling the impact. In such a case emergency Oxygen cylinders are available with the staff which is hooked on and the person is transported to the base. It roughly takes a day to reach the base from any of the locations as I understood from the trek leader. We had one such case though in another batch but the person was rescued. The Oxygen level normalized once at the lower altitudes.

If we do not do Stretching before and after the trek

One of the most important aspects is to prepare yourself with specific stretches before a trek is started and then specific stretches once the trek is completed. It helps to increase flexibility while you start the trek and release muscular stress and recover faster post-trek. If not done the recovery becomes a bigger challenge.

Age is No Bar

As I always say age is just a number! Anyone at any age can do at least the moderate-level treks if the person has kept himself fit. It’s all about fitness, endurance, and mindset. The following photo gives a peak at the overall age span that we covered in this trek!

Camaraderie

I made some great friends in this trek. This blog cannot be completed without mentioning all these friends who have made this trek enjoyable! IN all we were 20, but I will list a few who have made an impression for life on my mind.

I will remember these people for their specific attributes that have made a life time impression

Amit Apte: For his fantastic Organisation skills

Nilesh Hardikar: For his passion for life and tremendous energy

Prashant Deshpande: Wealth of information on any topic

 Dr. Vivek Govande: A great person, a great singer and of course for his medical advice

Shilpa Gijre, Priya Bhide, Pradnya Joshi: I call them Teen Deviyan…the only three ladies

in our group who did a fantastic job

Narendra Desai: My school friend, excellent trekker and our storage for Mithai! He had almost brought each item form his shop.

Amol Areole: Excellent trekker and a fine human being, enjoyed my walks with him

Kedar Damle: Excellent trekker, always calm and quiet, extremely helpful and supportive, always reached first at the campsite

Sachin Joglekar: My school friend, extremely helping nature and a fine human being

There are few others such as Malhar, Sachin, Pankaj, Dr. Vivek, Samir who have made a lasting impression and left some fond memories!

Lessons Learned from the trek

  • Its essential to keep yourself hydrated always. Hydration helps you fight AMS (Acute Mountain sickness – It’s a type of sickness when your body is not able to adapt to high level of altitude). As you trek, the water content in the body starts depleting leading to fatigue and challenges in transmission of electrical impulses from brain to the rest of the body. Continuous hydration helps to fight this situation.
  • Any trek either shorter or longer in Himalayas should not be taken lightly. It important to practice, have a top notch fitness, carry proper trekking gear and follow all the safety protocols always while on trek
    • The climate in Himalayas is unpredictable. Be mentally prepared for the fact that the trek may get disrupted in between due to climatic conditions forcing you to stop.
  • Not to be over-adventurous when on the trek. One wrong step can cost a life.
  • Resources on a trek in the Himalayas are limited. Every resource has to be used carefully.
    • Mountains give you so much! Keep them clean, and do not throw plastic on the trail or at the campsite. Collect it and let it go through proper waste management.
  • Always provide a helping hand and be a team player. When in mountains every one is equal irrespective of background, age, religion, culture, profession, society status, etc
  • Mountains teach you to be humble!

Concluding Remarks

The KGL trek is one of the most beautiful treks in Kashmir valley. However, this trek is quite hard, and strenuous and tests your endurance. To thoroughly enjoy the trek, it is essential that one is physically fit and mentally fit. I have tried to provide a recipe to the first timers, if followed I am sure that the trek will no longer be a rough experience but instead will be an enjoyable one!

Almost everyone who goes for this trek completes it. Either you walk or then take the support of a horse to complete the trek if it becomes impossible. However, if you want this to be a truly memorable experience in your life and want to enjoy a sense of achievement then follow the practice regimen and enjoy the full journey of the trek.

If you have a group of around 7 to 10 people then one can register directly with any of the local operators such as Cliffhangers and enjoy the trek.

This Blog is written by Amit Vaiday – An avid trekker. He hails from Pune Maharashtra and can be reached at amit.2.vaidya@gmail.com. All the pictures are the copyright of the author and are shot from One Plus Mobile.

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Cliffhangers India

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