The Life Lessons of Adventure Trekking

by Pawan Kotiyal

Nearly a decade has passed since I dedicated my life to traveling, and trekking through the Himalayas. There is no question that trekking offers the ultimate thrill I constantly yearn for, but there is much more to trekking than exercise and adrenaline rushes. Along with adventure, comes a means of happiness and inspiration. With every step, I learn something great about life.

Your life is yours, and only you can decide where it leads.

Adventure trekking through the twisted trails of the Himalayas.
Adventure trekking through the twisted trails of the Himalayas.

A trek through the twisted trails of the Himalayas, will take you up and down, up and down, right and left, left then right, and all over again. Even if I get tired of these twists and turns, I still trek forward. While trekking across the Himalayas, I faced constant challenges like crossing lakes, climbing huge boulders, and instant weather changes. My feet were swollen and some members of the trekking group advised me to turn back, but I didn’t give up. I had gone so far and not completing the journey would have been a huge disappointment. I decided to forget about the pain and complete the journey. When we reached Valley of Flowers, the enchanting beauty of Mother Nature was worth the pain. 

In Life. Trekking is an independent sport even when done with others. It is up to you to get yourself to your destination and back. Unless you have a great connection with a helicopter pilot or can convince one of your trekking buddies to carry you down a mountain, the responsibility will be yours. 

Nothing is impossible   

Perched at a height of 29,029 feet, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on earth. Climbing it even in your dreams might be a struggle, but many determined climbers have made it a reality. In 1953, Edmund Percival Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first two champs to experience its inaccessible heights. They didn’t listen when people said 29,029 feet was an impossible target and now their names are famous among trekkers. 

I was pretty surprised when my friend told me that our journey through the Himalayas would include a trek across a frozen river. I actually thought he was joking, but turns out he was completely serious. Our trek began at Chilling Valley and came to the frozen river in the picturesque Zanskar Valley. We braved the bone-chilling temperatures and sometimes felt like giving up. The only thing we wanted was a hotel bed and hot shower, but they were miles away. The experience of walking across a frozen river in the Himalayas, while tough, was incredible. It motivated me, I cried with joy, and completed the journey. The memories will always remain etched in my heart and I will cherish them forever. 

In Life. We come across many things that appear improbable just like these unsurmountable peaks; there are goals that we feel are impossible to achieve. However, nothing is impossible. If I really have the desire and determination to do something, no one can stop me–trekking helps people find that drive within themselves.   

The journey matters more than the destination

Last year’s trekking expedition to Chopta Chandrashila in the majestic Garhwal Himalayas was rewarding far before the final destination. The way is filled with a myriad of natural wonders. There are blooming meadows gently canoodling with the land, then snow-drenched Himalayan peaks kissing the azure sky. The trek is a continuous supply of million dollar vistas. The feeling of being a part of this beautiful environment was way sweeter and more satisfying than reaching the destination.

In Life. This mantra of enjoying the journey should be applied to any situation–enjoy every moment of life, at home, on a mountain, or at work. 

If the end is worth it, it probably won’t be easy to get there

Has anyone ever heard of the Kalindikhal Trek? The big daddy of all treks. If yes, then you probably know that you really need to have a special kind of stomach to try it. Though I’m an experienced adventure enthusiast, this trek made me push myself. The way is blocked by moody, bone-freezing weather, high altitudes, slippery snowy terrain, and huge crevasses-both stunning and death defying. But keep the end, Kalindikhal Pass at a height of 19500 feet, in mind to motivate yourself. It is a life time achievement for any adventure trekker.

In Life. The same is the case with life. All those goals and dreams that are worth achieving–that offer us the best moments of our life–they never come easily. You must face the unfavorable weather and bear the circlet of thorns, to make it to the best rewards.

Have faith in yourself

The Frozen River Trek is one of the most popular treks of Ladakh, but walking over a thin layer of the frozen river is not everyone’s cup of tea. When I heard about this trek, it gave me goosebumps, and I decided not to do it. After hearing a little more about the experience, my no finally became a yes and I went for it. It was a great decision. I almost missed out on an amazing trek because of doubt. 

In Life. This is often the best route. You must jump in even if you don’t feel completely ready. Otherwise, you will spend your whole life preparing and waiting for perfect moments that will not come.

I never imagined the challenges and rewards of trekking would teach me so much about life, but I have pledged to implement all. What about you? Ready to start trekking?