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"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt, and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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Pictures shot by Indiahikes Trek Leader @krunalphotos on the #DeobanTrek. :)

Our trek leader @akshayaralikatti has been killing it with his quick brilliant videos. Check his latest one from #Dayarabugyal!

There are three important lessons that Trek Leader Madhu (@madhusudhanreddy46) has learnt from the mountains: . -Giving up is not an option,
- The best things in life are free, and
- Human connections are very important. .

But these lessons haven’t come easy. “My first mountain experience completely changed my perspective forever. .

I was in the Western Ghats (Harishchandragad trek). .

And I was lost. For 36 hours. .

There was no food and water. All I had were my thoughts and an 11kg backpack on my back. Those scary 36 hours made me realise that all my problems of building a career, making money etc. were all too small compared to living my life. .

In fact, the mountains have thrown at me some of the most challenging moments of my life: from getting stuck in the snow at Chola Pass for 5 hours (a Sherpa had to carry me on his back to the next campsite) to slipping and almost falling 50 ft into the water on the Dudhsagar trek (it took 4 hours and a 5mm sling rope to get back to safety).” .

These challenges thrown at him by the wilderness have made Madhu more respectful of Mother Nature. They have also made his thirst for adventure stronger. Since my early years, adventure is what I had always sought. I still enjoy travelling solo, especially in the mountains. It forces me to get out of my comfort zone, meet new people and make new friends. .

So go fly. Roam, travel, explore and discover.” #ihtrekleaders

"He is the life of our Brahmatal campsite. Every time he sees me, he takes time to recognise first and then he plays like friends from school. When we both saw biggest snowfall of this season on Brahmatal, when everything was blanketed in snow, we both just went out and played like kids. For both of us, this is the best time of year, this makes us happiest!"
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Our trek leader @singla008 writes about the bond he has formed with our mountain dog at #Brahmatal. :)

Being from Uttarakhand, Trek Leader Gautam (@gautam_untamed) had always lived a step away from the mountains. “I remember back in December 2012, my friends and I were on the Chandrashila trek. We started our climb to the summit at 4 AM. My friends were a bit slow so I left them behind and went ahead on my own. Walking in the dark with just a torch in hand, I was feeling proud of my fitness and fearlessness.

But you know mountains have the ability to humble down people.

I heard a sound from the side of the trail. As I panned the torchlight in the direction of the sound, my whole body froze in horror. I was flashing the light right into a bear’s face!

The bear was only a few feet away from me. And it was not pleased with a bright torch light being shown at it. After a moment’s pause, I ran back towards my friends. I don’t even remember whether the bear was behind me. But it’s the fastest I have ever run! That day I realised that there is a difference between being fearless and being foolish.”
The encounter with the bear is just one point in Gautam’s adventurous life journey. He has worked as a dialogue and screenplay writer and done a stint in the dairy business.

He was a yoga instructor with a PG in Yoga before joining Indiahikes as a Trek leader. “I’m a person who appreciates simplicity in life. I remember buying new formal clothes and shoes for my Indiahikes interview because as a yoga teacher, all I used to wear were yoga pants and t-shirt!” Yoga is a part of Gautam’s life. He even holds sessions for his trekkers on his treks. “I practice yoga whenever I get time. Be it for a short duration or long sessions, I always encourage my colleagues to practice as well. I meditate to maintain mental health too. Especially when leading treks, I meditate in morning to mentally prepare myself.

While yoga has truly transformed me into a patient and calm person, Trek Leading has given me the ideal opportunity of working in the mountains.”
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#indiahikes #ihtrekleaders

Trek Leader @devangistraveling asks you "How's the Josh!" All the way from #Brahmatal. :) .

#Indiahikes #IHTrekLeader #Himalayantrek #Highaltitudetrekker

On a trek, you learn to expect the unexpected. This is one of those (un)expectations — heavy snow in November at an altitude below 11,000 ft. Shot by Sruthi Sekar on the #PhularaRidge trek. .

#IHtrekkersinaction

Can you name the mountains in the picture? From left to right?
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Picture by Rajorshi Chatterjee. .

#Sandakphu #Indiahikes

Trek Leader Gurkirat (@gurugoesoutdoors) comes from a village in the Mohali district of Punjab. “Brought up in a typical agricultural family, I grew up drinking fatty buffalo milk and playing all sorts of sports in our village streets and the playground.”
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After graduating as an Industrial Engineer, he worked in the healthcare sector for 4 years in Noida. “For the first couple of years I was ok with the corporate job. It let me fulfil my passion for travel and also allowed me to eat at fancy restaurants, buy things I didn’t need and still support my family. . "But when I began to introspect, I realised that city life did not suit me. I didn’t want to deal with polluted air, an inactive lifestyle and the noise and crowds. I realised that I was happiest when I took days off to travel in the Himalayas on my bike. Sports and travel had always lifted my spirits. I wanted to breathe in clean air, drink clean water and enjoy the silence at night. Trekking seemed to fulfil all this and that's when Trek Leading came into the picture. .

I soon began preparing for the next phase in my life. I went on solo treks and gained a lot more trekking experience that was needed to be a Trek Leader. .

My last solo trek before I became a Trek Leader was Dayara Bugyal. It was 22nd February, a day before my 25th birthday. I was at the Dayara Bugyal basecamp when I sent in my application to Indiahikes. And here I am today!”
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TREKKING FIT

Apart from his love for sports and travel, Gurkirat also takes health seriously. “Our diet is the most important thing. I include healthy fats into my diet from sources like nuts, fish, egg yolks, olive oil, seeds etc. and try to avoid oily and sweet things. For proteins, that are very important for strengthening muscles that support our joints, I include meat and dairy products into my diet. .

For physical exercise, I do push ups, planks and pull ups regularly. More importantly, for mental fitness, I try to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone. This toughens up my mind, which is important for an outdoor job. I maintain proper sleep schedule to round it all off.” .

#IHTrekLeaders #workingwithindiahikes #Indiahikes #Lifeofatrekleader

To describe him in one word, Trek Leader Soumitra (@soumitra.b93) is an observer.
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“Once on the Dayara Bugyal trail, I heard the characteristic ‘toc-toc’ of a woodpecker. I told everyone to fall silent and stop moving. Just 20 feet away, on a bare tree trunk that stood alone in a grassy clearing, a Himalayan Woodpecker was knocking on the wood.

Sunlight fell on the whole scene from behind. It made the bird’s scarlet crest and vent shine. Every time its beak struck the tree trunk, flecks of wood fell out. Under the sunlight they looked like sparks of gold. The woodpecker stayed there, knocking away for an entire minute, and then flew away. We moved on.

Sure, it’s a common bird. But that moment? That moment was rare.

Even though almost everything can be photographed and shared, you could not capture the beauty and subtlety of those few seconds; nature seemed to give us a little gift.

There are several such moments -- the sight of a colourful bird, the mist in a valley glowing in sunlight, the glimmer of ice on distant peaks, a moonrise beyond high peaks. These moments are the ones I live for, and I want to share them with trekkers."
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By profession, I am a chemical engineer. I’ve designed oil refineries, worked on cancer research, but you could say that’s only half of who I am.
The other half has always been in the mountains or forests, right from childhood. Ever since my first high-altitude trek to Kuari Pass in 4th grade, I have always been into outdoorsy stuff - camping, sailing, birdwatching, trekking. Perhaps because I’ve been doing this since I was a child, I’ve always felt very comfortable and at ease roughing it away from civilisation.”
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Till the time he is ready to pursue his Ph.D, Soumitra is out in the mountains, taking silent notes on life, observing nature and making use of his sharp wit to make friends. You can read some of his writing on our website.
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#indiahikes #ihtrekleaders

That moment when you look at a tent and go "Boy I'm glad that's not my tent!" .

Realities on the Everest Base Camp trek, shot by Santosh Govindarajulu. .
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. . (PS: That's not our tent. This is a picture shot by our trekker who stayed at a tea house on the trek.)

All of us at Indiahikes wish you a very Merry Christmas! :) The mountains send their love to you! .

Picture by Bappaditya Chandra.

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