Let me tell you about an incredibly fun/miserable thing I did. Is that even possible? Yes, apparently it is. So there’s this thing called hiking. I’m sure you have heard of it. You walk, for fun, up mountains, through forests, across rivers, etc etc. Why would anyone do this when naps are a thing? I don’t know, but for some reason everywhere I go I feel inticed to participate in this activity.
So, prior to coming to India I had read about Triund Trek, which of course takes place in the mighty Himalayan mountains. “It will be fun” they said. “Anyone can do it” they said.
I found a willing victim to participate with me and Sunday morning we were off bright and early! We took a taxi up to Guna Devi Temple, just beyond McLeod Ganj. We were told it would take 4 hours to go up, and 2-3 hours to get back down. I won’t say “sounds easy enough” because let’s get real, 4 hours of walking up a mountain sounds horrible to me. But, I was determined to make it to the top and have bragging rights of hiking the Himalayas.
We were not even 20 minutes in when we needed our first break. We both had a hard time breathing due to the altitude. That plus my broken body made things difficult from the very beginning. I think we both started to realize this was going to be more difficult than we thought, and I was lowkey wondering if it would be acceptable to give up yet. I mean, we already had a nice view?
Guys, I cannot begin to tell you how difficult this hike was. In retrospect, the first 45 minutes was nothing compared to the rest. It began as a lush forest. It’s what I imagine the Pacific Northwest looks like, and Phi agreed. The trees were beautiful and the plants were so green! Then it got crazy. We reached a point where the trail disappeared at times. We climbed boulders, walked through rivers, scaled the edge of mountains, crossed paths with cows, horses, goats, and monkeys, and trekked through rain and mud, all up a steep incline. For over 3 and a half hours. We didn’t even know where the path was at some points and kind of just guessed. It’s a miracle we even made it to the top with my sense of direction, honestly.
As you can imagine, I wore out very easily. Thankfully, Phi was awesome and let me take a break every 10 minutes. The hike was beautiful though, despite my misery. Every turn you made led you to a more incredible view. There were parts that we felt like we were straight out of Lord of the Rings, trekking to Mordor. We made some friends along the way. We crossed paths with a group of guys who were having their own personal photoshoot all the way up and we were cracking up watching them. We would get ahead of them, but then take a break and they would pass us, and so on. We wondered who would win our unofficial race (it was them by the way).
I’m really thankful that I had Phi there, because she’s the only reason I kept going. I wanted to give up so bad. At one point, when I thought my legs wouldn’t carry me another step, I almost told her to continue and I would wait. Just as I was about to speak, she encouraged me to keep going, so I did. Neither of us knew how much longer we had left. It seemed no matter how far we climbed, the top was never in sight. We would ask people we passed how much longer, but got answers ranging anywhere between 4 more hours to 30 minutes (we got 30 minutes a lot and they were all liars).
But, finally, we reached the top. We did it. We competed Triund Trek.
And it was foggy so there was no incredible view.
But no worries. We bought ourselves a drink and some snacks, found a spot on the grass to sit, and enjoyed a break. While we were buying our drink, we saw you could order food and we decided maggi (ramen) actually sounded amazing in the damp, cool weather. We headed back to the shop, found a spot inside, and posted up with our maggi until it was time to leave. We got there just in time too, because shortly after it started to pour, but we stayed nice and dry. As we were leaving, the sky cleared up a little and we were able to fit in a nice photo before the fog rolled back in.
The hike back down was not so pleasant. In true monsoon-season-fashion, it was a downpour all the way down. Thankfully we had ponchos, so we stayed relatively dry, but the path became super slippery and dangerous. It was at this moment that we both started to question our decision to do this.
We were supposed to be back at the bottom at 3 PM for our taxi. Due to the rain, we had to go super slow. At 5:30 we finally made it to our taxi. Phi was my encouragement getting up the mountain, and I became her encouragement going down. I could tell she was hurting, and miserable, and it was raining, and just not a great situation.
So, 9.5 hours of walking up and down a mountain. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I’m glad I did it. Living with chronic pain and fatigue, there was a time that I thought I would never be able to do this, but here I am. Climbing Mt. Afadjato was a huge accomplishment for me last year, and I’m happy I can now add Triund to my list.
I’ve been thinking about doing a hike when I get to Nepal, so I guess I’ve just gone crazy at this point.