Kedarkantha, one of the most famous peaks in Uttarakhand, is located at 12,500 feet; it is definitely a challenging climb. On October 13, 18 students in Grade 10, along with three chaperones, went on a five-day hike to summit this peak. This was one of the most challenging yet significant and crazy weeks of my life.
We reached the summit at around 2 pm on Wednesday, the 16th, and we were very excited to see the view. The uphill climb was steep and extremely rocky. It was one last challenge before we accomplished our goal and we were happy at that thought. Once we reached the summit, we lazed around for an hour feeling as though we were on top of the world. We soared with the feeling of accomplishment. We were so glad that we had finally reached the top and looked forward to heading downhill.
Saying that walking downhill was painful would be an extreme understatement: our toes were numb and covered with blisters, our backs were sore and our shoulders were throbbing. We were exhausted and just wanted to reach camp. We hiked for nine and a half hours until we finally reached camp. We ended up walking an extra five kilometers as our campsite had been taken by villagers who lived around the area. We were exhausted and frustrated that we hadn’t reached camp but tried to keep a positive mindset and figured we would end up walking less on the last day.
Our group really bonded after spending this week together. We befriended our guide, Chensingh, a true selfie king, and eagerly listened as he told us stories about his experiences on the mountain. We sat around a bonfire every night and talked till late in the night. We played truth or dare and other games, singing songs together around the fire. The nights were the best.
The weather was another obstacle we faced throughout the week. On the second day itself, we were welcomed with heavy rain and even harsh hail. This was a slight inconvenience as it went on for at least 5 hours and the only thing we could do was sit in our tents. And so we played cards while eating trail mix for dinner and whined about how cold it was. We bonded with each other and gossiped for hours.
Waking up in the morning was the biggest struggle we all faced on this trip. Once we managed to somehow sit up in our warm sleeping bags, we saw the most stunning view of clouds and landscapes. We sat in our tents and drank chai with biscuits and watched the sunrise. It was breathtaking but extremely cold.
We reached our hotel on Friday around lunchtime and as happy as we were, we knew we would never experience this again. Even though this activity week was challenging and exhausting, it’ll be the most memorable one so far.
Featured image by Govind Ji
Ira Ahuja is a staff reporter for The Woodstocker
Edited by Nupur Agrawal and Aarti Malhotra