I have come a long way from one of those millions of travelers who love mountains but only from a certain distance, sitting and admiring its magnetic charm from a hotel window. This was two years ago and Triund was the stimulus I needed to get rid of that fear.
I am not trying to sell this trail short, but let truth be told, it is what it is and perhaps more. So perpetually single that I am, thanks to my pseudo-nomadic ways, 14-feb 2015 was a date I chose to go to McLeodganj in Dharamshala. A nice little mountain town, accessible to Delhi and Chandigarh within hours of drive. Naturally, the town was brimming with tourists celebrating St Valentines Day in the mountains, which also happened to be a weekend. That night in McLeodganj was a boisterous one, lot of drinking and singing with unknown people.
Next morning was to be my trekking day, something I didn’t quite want to think about. Joined by two more guys from Delhi, also unknown, open for trekking hiking, met us in McLeodganj at midnight and plan for Triund was set. In the morning, we asked around a bit, because the weather report said that it will rain and perhaps snow at the top, they advised us against it. Not prepared for that kind of challenge, we decided to go for it! Yes, we didn’t think about winging it but go anyway.
For a trail like Triund which is so common, a little adventure is never out of order. But for us, this was also a blessing in disguise and you will know why.
Absolute hiking novice that we are, we just left for the trail, no preparation, no food, no water. Reaching at the trail head at Gallu Devi temple, we began our hike up in the sun. The weather was not so good, my fear of going up the mountain gripped me as I started panting after every 10-20 steps.
3-4 hours later, we were closer to the top because I could see speckles of snow beginning to dot the landscape. The trail was becoming easier and the views sharper. Reaching at the top was no feat but it was breathtakingly beautiful and we had the whole mountain to ourselves, speaking of blessing in disguise.
I set off a chain of events that day that brought me to a point where 2-years later, I am thinking of that weekend fondly and thanking my stars that I did what I did. I am an avid mountain lover today, with quite a few treks under my belt and all set for joining a mountaineering course this year! All of this began after that one hike in Triund.
If you are even remotely close to what I was two years ago, then you will perhaps relate to my feeling of dread that comes with effort associated with hiking/trekking. Those sore muscles, the perspiration, the uphill struggle, and hours and hours of going up. But after the struggle ends, the charm begins. The spotless clean scenery, the mountains that look much closer than that hotel room window, clean and crisp air and of course the high of making to the top. The last one is almost addictive!
Let me tell you in 5 simple points why Triund is an absolute perfect first-time-hike.
1. The trail is almost easy and you get the taste of going up a mountain without breaking your back, figuratively speaking.
2. You meet so many people on the trail who become sort of your friends. You are all headed in the same direction, you will all meet at the top. You will all have an experience of your own to share. Thus, a bonding in the making!
3. You don't need experience to hike this trail, this could very well be your first solo hike! It is clear, well marked and full of people to point you in the right direction
4. If you are in for some camping game, this is the safest and easiest way to induct yourself to some outdoor travel. Remember a camp under the blanket of 5-billion-stars is any day better than a 5-star hotel, and it is free!!
5. Hiking is a must because you earn the views. What you can see from up there, is your own reward. After reaching the top, you know you deserve to fill your lungs with clean air and absolutely warrant a camera full of memories.
Outdoor travel is severely undermined in India but Triund has all the makings of how and why it should change. You can experience first-hand why every once in a while you need to give your hotel room a miss and spend some raw time in the nature.
So did you give yourself that push? If yes, tell me in the comments section! I would love to know your outdoor experience.