I was vacation deprived, corporate-ly depressed and dying to experience something adventurous in my life when my work-besties came up with the idea of trekking. Quick browsing over the internet, a quicker call to the tour planner and quickest decision took just 15 minutes and we booked our trekking expedition to Triund near McLeod Ganj. All three of us were the newbies in this respective adventure, so we decided to take a book a guide with us. Not that it was available for very low prices but because we also wanted the guidance to complete the Triund trekking safely. As we booked the tour, we also got out Volvo bus tickets to McLeod Ganj and back from PayTM and reserved our seats to get awesome cashback.
From packing important stuff to exploring the image section on google, we spent almost two days discussing the fun we were going to have on the hills. Our tour guide sent us the list of things we have to bring with us which includes torch, rain coat, mosquito repellent, winter clothing, trekking shoes etc. Finally, the day arrived and we boarded our bus from Majnu ka Tilla, Delhi which was comfortable and well managed. We reached McLeod Ganj at 6 in the morning. Since our reporting time was 9 o’clock, we still had enough time to freshen up and have healthy breakfast. As we have not planned this three-hour stoppage, we booked a hotel room for Rs 500 which was little less than pathetic, but we hardly cared, it was just about the answering nature’s call.
We met our guide exactly at 9 o’clock in the agency’s office and got our complimentary breakfast kit and raincoats (we paid Rs 100 per head). Our guide told us Triund is 9-km from McLeod Ganj. Initial 3-kms can be covered with a cab which is available for Rs 400. Instead, we decided to walk down this 3-km road till Galu Temple to warm up. However, the path was steep and we were heavily fed, we lost our stamina and gave up, ultimately decided to get a cab to Triund Check Post.
Tip #1: Never fed yourself heavily just before the trek
As we reached the Triund check post, near Galu Temple, we had a cup of tea for Rs 30 each. Please note that the forest officer here were quite strict. You cannot carry liquor more than a permissible limit. Moreover, drinking is completely forbidden during the trek. You have to get registered here with your identity proofs and baggage check. Since we had a guide with us, they were quite lenient and offered easy entry without any check or questions.
Tip #2: Be polite with the forest officers. They are strict but kind and understanding
We started our real trekking from this very point a 10 o’ clock. Initially, the trail was good enough and made us feel that our trekking experience will be awesome. Few zig zag ways, stoned paths and steep trail gave us the feel of adventure. But believe me, this was nothing as compared to the last one-km. We walked, took frequent breaks and relaxed. Our guide made sure that we are maintaining the pace and momentum.
Tip #3: Just focus on the trail while walking. If you want to enjoy the view, just stop by and feel it. Do not try doing these two things at the same time
Since we were first-timers, the challenging route began when we reached the Magic Point. We relaxed here for the bit and started again. Now was the time when the toughest part of the trail started. From thereon, the route was just the steep rocky road with big rocks and bad weather. We had big, heavy backpacks which further slowed our speed.
Tip #4: Keep yourself as light as possible. Take only most necessary things like raincoats, mosquito repellent, winter clothing
Somehow we managed to cover first five km but then the drizzling started and we were at our backfoot. The last km was the toughest as the rock got slippery and it was starting getting cold. And above all, the heavy bags. We lost our stamina and courage to complete this trek as the rain washed our hope to cover this trek in record time.
We finally reached our destination at 4 o’ clock and took shelter at a shanty which was serving food, tea and some basic necessities. Since we had soaked our shoes and socks in the rains, we sat there for an hour or so, until the time our tents got set up. It was already 5.30 pm when we came out of that shanty. We had some food which was decent enough to feed our empty stomach.
Tip #5: Do not expect delicious food. It is just for feeding your need not your appetite
As we had some energy in the gut, we clicked some fabulous shots, time lapse, slow motion videos, panorama frames and what not. The weather was changing every moment- from foggy to rainy to sunny to foggy again. Most of the crowd was from Delhi or Chandigarh and were in groups which made the ambience lighter even after a tiring trekking trail.
Tip #6: There are no toilets. No means not a single one.
There are no lights as well so carry extra batteries, torch and speakers for an enjoyable night. There are very thin sleeping bags available but good enough to prevent the chilled winters. You can sit out of the tent if you have the guts to tackle the usher cold, enjoy star watching or just enjoy the music. We slept around 9.30 as we have to start the downhill by 10 in the morning.
Tip #7: There are absolutely no phone network. Only few points catch Vodafone signals that too, sometimes
We got up at 7 in the morning, bright and energised. Clicked some beautiful shots and started again after having a light breakfast. Our guide specifically mentioned us to maintain our pace as 90 per cent of the accidents are reported during downhill. As I was busy admiring nature, I missed a step and fell on my knees. Luckily, my guide was just 20 steps away from me and came with first aid box. He applied some alcohol strips and I started my trek again with an injured knee.
We reached the check-point around 3’o clock and again took a room to freshen up. We boarded our bus at 5’o clock from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand.
Our overall trek was an amazing experience as you can see from our pictures. Triund gave us travel goals and an addiction of trekking. So if you too have some plans to get into adventure mode, start from Triund.