Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Trek to Dodital

As part of my company's team building program, we experienced the beauty of the mountains during a 5-day trek to Dodital. At a height of 3024m, the Dodital lake is located in a forested bowl above Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand.

The goals

Stated goal: reaching Dodital carrying our backpacks
Additional personal goal: climbing further to the summit or staying in Dodital for potential retrospection

The planning
Day 1: 7h of jeep and 6km of uphill trekking
Day 2: 16km of uphill trekking
Day 3: 14km round trip to the summit or day in Dodital
Day 4: 14km of downhill trekking
Day 5: 8km of downhill trekking and 7h of jeep

The team

We were a team of highly motivated and goal-oriented TSC employees. Aged between 21 and 30, we had enough cumulated energy to all reach Dodital despite some individual known/unknown physical weaknesses.

While carrying the bag was probably going to be tougher for the girls due to generally less muscular bodies, climbing to the snow-covered top would be more challenging to the guys as their body weights would bring them down deeper in the snow.

The preparation

In addition to the feedbacks from the people who went to Dodital the previous year, we also met the guy in charge of the trek. The message was clear: be mentally prepared!

Mentally prepared? I’m still not sure of what they meant. Of course, I knew I would make it. What was I supposed to do? Standing in front of my mirror and trying the Couet method?

My preparation was short and not psychologically-oriented at all. This damn bag had to be as light as possible and I went as far as to cut my soap in two pieces and to take my smallest underwear’s. The result: a bag weighting no more than 6-7kgs.

The trip

Despite a tire puncture on the way to the station, we caught the train to Hardwar on Thursday evening. The next day was going to be hard on my stomach. 7 hours in the jeep (and only one stop on the side of the road for me later), we reached the starting point of the trek. The journey had finally started…

The first 6km of the trek were challenging. We had to get used to the bag and to the uneven path covered by rolling stones. I had decided to walk at my own pace and to minimize the number of breaks I would take in order to avoid wasting energy. It turned out to be the best strategy as re-starting after a break was particularly killing. 

The view was majestic. I loved the silence and the loneliness of the mountain. Both are almost impossible to obtain in Delhi and it felt wonderful to rediscover them again.

The next few days were going to be fully relaxing, spending the day on the mountain paths and the nights in tents. The food was regularly served and despite being lost somewhere in the nature, the meal quality was highly appreciable.

We reached Dodital on the second day in the evening. Strangely, despite being sleep-deprived (it was that cold!), I felt energetic during the days. The absence of urban stress and the revitalizing fresh air were a perfect combination.

During the first night spent in Dodital, many of us had nightmares which were, according to our guide, a side effect of the cleansing process.

On the third day, most of us tried to climb to the summit. The snow had fully covered the ground and made the ascension slippery. Despite this constraint, the climbing seemed relatively easy. Sliding on our butts to go downhill was highly enjoyable. Back in my childhood!

Trekking downhill was physically more exhausting. While muscle pains go away quite quickly, joint pains keep increasing. As expected we reached our ending (and starting) point on the fifth day and went back to Delhi.

My feedback


And, as importantly, we were all at some point hero:


-Someone decided to go back to Dodital and tried to reach the summit
… and did so despite a fear of heights.
-Someone tried to carry her bag a second time despite a frail morphology
… and came back to Delhi with two toenails missing.
-Someone decided not to follow the mass by staying in Dodital
… and perfectly adopted the trekker look.
-Someone desperately fought with the slippery snow on the way to the summit
… and almost had to have one of his fingers amputated.
-Someone made it to the summit despite knee problems
… and saved my life by offering me the last piece of her chocolate (Hypoglycemia on the way up).
-Someone made it to the top
… and survived the presence of ghosts around the night camps.
-Someone made it to the summit despite belly cramps
… and survived miles away from the first beauty salon.
-Someone picked up garbages while walking on his first day to clean up the mountain a bit
… and fell from a cliff.
-Someone made his way alone to the summit
… and did so despite kilos of (photo)rolls in his bag and an addiction for pictures.
-Someone proved his team spirit and kept encouraging others
-Someone perfectly coordinated the TSC group
… and both desperately dug into the snow to get one of their shoes back.

On my side, I got the confirmation of a strong will power and I learned to smoke bidi’s!


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Ajay Dhingra said...

I am planning to go for camping in Dodital in October. I have read several blogs and i am very impressed. I am looking for a travel buddy.