You might have heard many people say - "Life has a way of getting in the way." More than often this statement comes true in the day-to-day life of most of us. We all are working our day jobs, getting our degrees, keeping up with our responsibilities, and in all that, we forget the little dream we once had, and that dream suddenly becomes a 'one day’ fantasy.
That one day keeps getting pushed further into the future, and unsurprisingly, so many of us fall further into the repetitive habit of life and never fulfill that dream.
Here you will find Treena's Travel Journal. And no, she is not a believer in one day. Instead, she is taking charge of her life, living the dream vacation now.
Meet The Adventurer: Treena Topdar
There are those who say yes, those who say no, and those who say maybe later. Meet Treena, a woman who sets out on a journey regardless of whether she knows where she's going or not. Treena, a dancer and traveler from Ahmedabad, is a massive fan of the mountainous regions and planning to travel!
After completing the Chandrakhani Pass Trek, she realized Chadar would be the next one on her itinerary. That wasn't an easy choice to make, but it was one that was well worth making. If this woman has already been making plans to travel to Everest Base Camp after this year, we aren't surprised. She unmistakably has a deep connection to the highlands.
The Elaborate Planner
While she's known for always saying "yes," Treena appears to believe in investing a lot of time planning a vacation like the Chadar Trek, one that requires overcoming psychological and emotional obstacles that perhaps an average healthy body isn't fully ready for. This is based on her observation and the comprehensive input she received from Thrillophilia partners.
Treena has already thought about Chadar ever since she knew about Himalayan Trekking. When she decided to go on the Chadar Trek, she did a significant amount of research and looked up information from the internet.
Treena had trained her body and mind thoroughly for the Chadar Trek, one that she booked through Thrillophilia.
"To be there, to see that all, the entire magnificent charm of the Himalayan mountains at Chadar was a wonderful experience for me" as she recalls her journey to Chadar.
Finding Friends Who Turn Into Family
When you make the journey alone, you're more likely to meet new people and make friends along the way. The inspiration for this tale has nothing to do with Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, Into the Wild, or just about any other movie concerning traveling readers might have in mind. This is a story that solo travelers frequently share with us. On the ice of Chadar, several thousand kilometers from her city, Treena would be the one to tell us all about her new family and friends in this story.
"It was a pleasure to meet them. Everyone was so friendly and kind.," she says. "Since the beginning, we've been family. On the final day of the journey, we had all been overwhelmed with emotion as we prepared to return to our towns and cities."
And The Journey Begins
On the morning of January 20th, 2018, Treena finally took the flight that she had been dreading for weeks at least, or perhaps even years, unknowingly. The plane ride to Ladakh, a hidden in plain sight treasure India has had for millennia and will remain to have for plenty more. Upon arriving in Ladakh, the first thing one should do is spend a day acclimatizing in Leh. The dramatic switch in average elevation and temperature when visiting a location with cold temperatures and decreased oxygen levels necessitates a period of adjustment for a foreign body. Treena was transferred to her guest house room as soon as she stepped off the plane, and it pleased her heart!
Chilling to Nerak is the starting point of the Chadar Trek, which takes across the Tilad Do and Shingra Koma trails, as well as the Gyalpo and Tibb Caves, stops along the way. And as fast as the thick sheets of ice changed their appearance, Treena changed her way of walking on them. Something she shared with us further in her travel journal.
Frozen And Chilling In Chilling
The very first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Chadar is the prospect of trekking across a frozen body of water for six days at a time, trying to cover a distance of about 15 kilometers each day on average. Add to that the frigid temperatures, oxygen deprivation, low pressure, and the worst-case scenario of accidentally going down through the ruptured ice into the stream.
Treena recalls the experience while sharing with us her travel story, "The feeling of accomplishing it was altogether new that can't be described in these few pieces of text and photographs. To truly understand Chadar, you must experience it for yourself."
While driving through Chilling from their start point, Tilad Do, they enjoyed the scenic views and exciting roads. The journey took a turn for the better as their thrilling feet wanted their first steps on the iced Zanskar River, the most exciting part of the adventure. How often does one hear about someone walking on water? And here, this family, on the other hand, was doing the unimaginable: they were walking across a frozen river.
"The first vision of Chadar is definitely going to end up leaving you mesmerized, and even the best of best pictures will never be able to do justice to its splendor," Treena exclaims with sheer excitement.
The excitement she displayed on Chadar is no mystery to us. The place is enchanting, and everyone who has set foot leaves mesmerized.
At Tilad Do, they spent their first night; the following night, they stayed at Gyalpo; the next night, they decided to camp at Tibb and then Nerak and then return to Leh in reverse order. Treena describes camping under the stars as a unique adventure part of the journey.
The Nights Spent Stargazing
"At night, the Milky Way could be seen in all its glory. Throughout the night sky, there were several millions of stars and so much time for stargazing. At the midpoint, however, your patience will be truly tested! Encouraging oneself to get out of bed each day to repeat the same actions, with the same hurdles put forth, again and again, was frustrating and especially when the only thing you are seeing all around yourself was just the clear blue stream beneath the ice, the plain white snow, and the amber-colored majestic Himalayas...nothing else!"
These are the remarks Treena included when we inquired her how long did it take her and her companions to climb out of their double-layered sleeping bags and trek towards Nerak Falls, the final destination on their Chadar tour, before making a U-turn back to town!
During the nighttime at Chadar, they could relax their legs and muscles and quietly move toward the following day, bringing a new sense of hope to conquer the Valley of Blue River, white ice, and golden skies!
Republic Day At Nerak
The family finally arrived at the Nerak Falls on January 25th, 2018. During the early hours of the following day, the group gathered at Nerak Falls to celebrate Republic Day. The group was filled with a sense of delight, independence, and compassion, and national pride was the glue that held them together.
There was no longer any trepidation about having to cross the frozen river. The Chadar trek was now complete!
Treena's Advice To Future Trekkers
We decided to ask Treena regarding her most incredible treasured memories from the journey during our post-trek conversations. She referred to a chef who often inquired about their wellbeing, their meals, and afterward offhandedly mentioned that the next day the Chadar could split, and water will indeed reach their shoulders!
For those of you planning to tackle the Chadar Trek shortly, Treena generously shared the simple tips.
- Brace yourself psychologically and physically for the temperature extremes by learning about them and wearing several layers of clothing.
- Before embarking on the Chadar Trek, make sure you know the Network and data facilities in Jammu and Kashmir.
- You can also try to get a medical certificate from a doctor, just in case.
- Learn a few methods to alleviate pain from sprain and such on the trek.
- Keep portable chargers for battery power in smartphones and digital cameras.
- Start your preparation for the Chadar Trek early: good fitness and exercises are necessary.
- Finally, acquire a little bit of the Ladakhi dialect.