We were 20 of us, all set for one of the most beautiful beginner’s treks of Himalaya in Uttarakhand. We were a few 40 plus women in this group from Northern India with a variety of professionals. Soon after initial meeting at the convergence point on Dehradun Railway Station, we boarded the traveler, and by the time we reached Sankri, the base camp for the Har Ki Dun trek, we were friends and we knew a lot of travel stories from each other’s life.
The next day, after a short jeep ride to Taluka, we all started our trek to Har Ki Dun Valley, it was a pleasant day and we all were very excited. Within the first hour, I found Aparajita and myself struggling to keep the pace with the rest of the group. Our sweep trek leader was with us motivating us by saying, you are doing a good job, keep moving. In my head, he was lying, I was feeling guilty for being slow. I wanted to push myself and Aparajita for pacing up and match up with rest of group. A part of me was angry and agitated too.
More I tried to match up with the group, more I started to huff and puff. It was becoming embarrassing for me, that there was similar age group woman who seemed to be walking with ease and were always far ahead of me. Whenever I got an opportunity I stopped and gulped water. By afternoon, I was left far behind, just my sweep trek leader was behind me.
The most beautiful trek trail, which I had come to enjoy, looked like a punishment and my only objective was to pace up with the group.
I am sure a lot of you who have been thinking of trekking or had been trekking would somehow relate to my condition – it happens to all of us and slowly with the right guidance, we learn the art of setting the right pace in the mountains.
To explain this let’s take up an example of the motor vehicle. Every vehicle has an optimum speed and at this speed vehicle cruises steadily with maximum fuel efficiency and minimum wear and tear.
Similarly, all of us have an optimum speed, which depends upon a lot of factors. The kind of environment we have been born and brought up, kind of physical work we do in daily life, also depends on our age weight, body strength and kind of training we have gone through to prepare for the trek.
If we can move with our optimum pace, wear and tear on our body would also be minimum. Your pace on which you are comfortable is your optimum pace.
Once you learn to focus on breathing, climbing becomes easy and you would know what is your pace. Keep breathing, keep walking. The game is to complete the trek not to compete on the trek.
If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, It would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.