This past weekend our group went for a three day trek. The first day we hiked out to our campsite, where we stayed for the two nights. The weekend was comprised of classic camping activities, such as ghost stories and card games. On the second day there was an optional trek comprised of 13 km uphill to Kareri Lake, and 13 km back down again. As I am someone who gets extremely winded on the way up to our guest house it may surprise you that I decided to do this optional 26 km trek. Though I stand by my excuse that the air thinner here, and the reason that I weeze so heavily up that hill has nothing to do with my general lack of physical fitness.
The surface of Kareri Lake is about 3000 m above sea level. I also learned that it is one of eleven sacred lakes. There was also a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva on the hilltop we ate lunch on that overlooks the lake. Kapil and Ishan led us up the mountain, they were both so incredibly impressive that I’m still not convinced that they are not super humans. I’m constantly surprised in the best way by what people can accomplish. On the way up Kapil told me that this was his favourite trek. The fact that Kapil was willing to share his favourite trek with us made me feel so privileged. It is incredibly special when someone is willing to take you somewhere important to them, that gesture alone makes it special for you too.
Your experiences shape who you are. But I think that people often forget how heavily who you are can shape your experiences. Being able to stand and look across the sacred lake made me feel incredibly privileged. I was afforded an opportunity many being don’t get to experience, even within the surrounding area, because of who I am, and who I was with. However, by going on the hike I wasn’t able to go with the rest of the group to Kareri Village. Without seeing the village, my experience trekking up the mountain are devoid of the social context and importance that it exists within. We did see other people along the way, but my focus was intently on putting one foot in front of the other. Retrospectively, it would have been amazing to talk to people in the village or on the trek. As it stands, the experience feels a bit odd, like when you walk through a neighbours’ backyard without their permission. You feel like you are invading on something special and personal to them.
All in all, the entire weekend was an amazing experience. Charlie (pictured below) really felt that hike harder than anyone else. With all the running back and forth she probably trekked twice as far as the rest of us. There is likely a lesson in there about knowing your own limits, and knowing just how hard to push them. The folly of youth.