The Ups And Downs Of Trekking

When it comes to trekking, the up is a down and the down is an up but sometimes an up is an up and a down is a down.

What?

Walking uphill, particularly at altitude, is hard work.

And we weren’t even at very high altitude (under 3000m). But uphill is uphill.

So you would think downhill would be preferable, right? Wrong.

While walking uphill hurts the thighs and the lungs, walking downhill kills the knees.Β Going downhill can be just as bad as going uphill, particularly if the track is narrow, or rocky, or muddy.

So you would think a nice flat, wide road would be a trekkers dream, right? Wrong.

The flat, wide roads may be easier but even they have their downside. Boredom.

But as much as you might grumble, you always keep in mind that things could be worse.

You could be a porter.

They’ll overtake you, you know. And fast enough to have camp set up for you by the time you get there.

Ah, camp. Both an up and a down.

Who wouldn’t want to spend a night here?

Or here?

You would. But bear in mind you’ll also be sleeping on the ground (or on a thin mat or, if you’re smart – unlike me – on your own thicker thermarest), washing yourself, your clothes and your hair in one tiny bowl of water and the ‘facilities’ will beΒ a hole in the ground in a small tent.

And if you are camping at higher altitudes, there’s always the chill factor. Even at less than 3000m. Let’s sing: “Early one morning…..”

Of course, trekking comes with other bonuses.

Interaction with the locals:

Fun bridges:

A fully cooked picnic lunch beside aΒ river:

My favourite part of trekking? The mountains. Whether climbing them or just admiring them in the dawn light, coming from a country whose highest mountain is only 2228m high, I will never get over the majesty of a mighty mountain range.

In the end, even the downs are enough of an up to make the whole experience worthwhile.

What else do you do when you’re in sight of the highest mountain in the world?

 

 

 

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67 thoughts on “The Ups And Downs Of Trekking

  1. I love your human “sign” – what fun! Although I can’t agree that the flat roads are boring. In that spectacular country, a flat road still has much to see around you. And some of those vistas brought back my own memories of walking those roads, and those stunning mountains that are up in the air about the line the clouds normally sit!! What was the worst part of the trek besides the ‘downyups’

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll admit the road was still mentally stimulating, just physically boring. How about that? And the flat long road leads me to the worst part of the trek which was finding a suitable place for a…er…’rest stop’. It was much easier on the trails to find a convenient clump of trees off the path. They were oddly scarce on the road. By the time we found a suitable spot more than one of us was verging on ‘desperate’!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ah Yes, I can imagine how that would have been a problem. And at times, the toilets, in a village, are such that the clump of trees is sometimes a better option. Still it is all part of the experience and not a problem when compared to the nicer parts of one’s
        holiday trip.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That looked like a bit of a trek. Up can be down, and down can be up. Like how you put it. I’ve never really thought that going downhill would hurt your knees more so than going up. Then again, I suppose you have less control over how your feet lands going down, and with gravity that makes your knees hit the ground harder. Walking up slopes, I do feel my knees get tired easily.

    Would love to have joined the trek that you did. It looks like everyone went slow and steady. That looks like a currypuff you ate as part of your meal? It looks healthy and I hope it gave all of you energy to finish off your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was classed as an Introductory trek but I think just because of the lower altitude. The first day up to the alpine meadow was all up hill and at times along high ridgelines. You wouldn’t have wanted to suffer from vertigo! But Ram, one of our Sherpas who lead the group while walking, set a good steady pace. (Actually, at first he was a tad too slow so we hurried him up just a bit. πŸ™‚ )

      There’s a whole other post coming about the food. So wonderful. That’s a cheese puff on that plate with yak cheese inside. I think I ate three….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Always good to have a leader on these kinds of treks so as to know where you are going. Dealing with vertigo and altitude is one thing, getting lost is another entirely πŸ˜€

        Cheese puff. I could use one of that now…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Trekking is always great, and with mountains as a backdrop…. I would say anything over 2000 m is at altitude. Denver is like 1600 m and when I went jogging there, I felt every cm over sea level πŸ˜‰ Great pictures! Thanks for sharing more of your adventure with us. What type of camera are you using? An Olympus OMD?

    Liked by 2 people

    • As soon as you exert yourself, you notice. I’d hoped to manage some runs but the tracks were really too uneven to risk a broken leg in such an environment. (See, sometimes I can be sensible. πŸ˜‰ ) I did get a couple of runs in when we were laying the concrete for the school. I was on return duty, running the empty bowls back to the mixers.

      Its an Olympus E-M10. I broke the cardinal rule and bought it just before I left so it stayed mostly on the Auto setting but I’m happy with the results.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, only a few days after i went running in Denver I was going up a steep slope at 3900 m, wearing ski boots, carrying skis….
        Yes, I could see not running up there. You are accident prone enough πŸ˜‰ Running empty bowls back to the mixer does count. With how hard you worked, you didn’t need to go running!
        I use an E-M5, the first one, not the one that came out last year. I love it, it’s a great camera. The E-m10 is a very similar camera. I think almost the same except the weather proofing. And since I have the old model, yours has some newer features. But almost the same, so great camera.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for taking us on this adventure with you. LOVED all the pictures and my legs ache in sympathy!

    I do disagree about one point though … 3000 metres is respectable altitude and will kick butt!! You’re badass πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having gone up and down the side of a waterfall in October (which is nothing in comparison to Nepal or Mt. Everest), I can attest to the “down” killing your knees. I was ready for boring flat by the time I got back down to the bottom. I finally understood the necessity of the hiking poles as I wish I had one at the time.

    You have such cool adventures, H…stories and memories of a lifetime. I love the photo of your Everest group standing in the shadow of the setting (or rising) sun. Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my wanderlust meter just went flying through the roof. I loved this post H. You are so correct in that there are many challenges in this kind of adventure but the benefits so outweigh those inconveniences. I also find I come home much more appreciative of basic things, like hot running water and a toilet.
    How are things going these days? Sending hugs and hopes it’s a sunny day today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue. Yes, on our list of things to look forward to when we got home were definitely a hot shower, a flushing toilet and a washing machine! At one of the camps, a few of us walked down to the next village to have masala tea at one of the teahouses. I asked to use the facilities before we left the teahouse and I came out terribly excited because it flushed! πŸ˜€

      Improving. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a gorgeous photo journal H. I wish I had done this 40 years ago when my lungs and legs still worked properly, now I shall just have to accompany people such as yourself from my armchair. I don’t mind the ups so much as long as I can stop and rest take photos, but some of your downs looked very dodgy and vertiginous. Your last photo is a lovely fun memento for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of the downs got really muddy and slippery and I wish I had a photo of it but I was too busy trying to keep my feet. My hiking pole paid for itself several times when it stopped me from landing on my backside!

      I love that photo. It was such a piece of silliness but it will always remind me of how fun those people were and how they were always ready to jump on board with some mad idea. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a great adventure! That bit about the knees, going downhill is something we mountain-goat types do know about. I couldn’t figure out what you were up to, in that last photo, until I read it in the comments….I thought maybe you were all just drunk, or something…:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gorgeous photos, and a really lovely narrative. All of this is so far out of my comfort zone, I can only sit back in amazement and applaud. Especially the work you all did there. It sounds like the best kind of adventure; excitement, companionship, great fun and a good purpose. Hope you’re on the mend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was such a wonderful trip, Su. I do believe that we bonded so much more tightly because of the work we did in the village and then the trek afterwards was so much fun because we were already friends. So even though some of those hills were a bit tough, it was still fun because you were walking with your mates.

      I had a very good day yesterday so hoping that’s a sign of increasing recovery. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel I should at least make an effort and go trekking somewhere. Actually, we do. Most days we trek around our local little river behind our house. It is a level walk. Your trekking is a serious one and I admire your stamina. I did climb mountains but it was a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I returned from Peru years ago, I was determined to do more walking even if it was local but the reality is that one of the things I loved most was the mountains and impressive mountains are definitely in short supply here. Oh to have the ability to travel whenever and wherever I wanted. I’d be walking in the mountains every year. πŸ™‚

      I’d be interested to hear your mountain climbing stories, Gerard.

      Like

  11. I’m tired just looking! You’re right about coming down being worse. I wrecked my knees coming down Mount Kosiosko (spelling?) and was in agony for days. I just wanted to sit there and cry! You did well. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love to walk and used to enjoy walking hills. I love food, and that dish looks SO good. But sleeping on the ground? Peeing while in clothes, squatting? Yuck!!

    I don’t know if they have ’em where you live, but I can highly recommend Huggies brand “natural care” baby wipes for bathing when water is scarce. With practice, strategic folding and refolding, and proper hygienic sequence, you can do vital areas with just one, most everywhere with two, and even “wash” your hair with a third. A package holds 18 days of full cleanliness–cleaner than you’ll feel from a tiny reused wash/rinse water bowl. They’re also great at removing waterproof mascara, if you’re gentle. And, as a fellow redhead, you may appreciate that they are truly hypoallergenic, for I, the Rash Queen, have certified this–just now–in writing.
    (Disclosure: This blogger may or may not have received compensation in the form of cash, search engine optimizations, or blog hits, for this endorsement.)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love the human Everest sign. Nice post Master. I’m off walking in our mountains – tiny though they are – in a couple of weeks. I love it all – narrow paths, wide roads, hilly climbs, tricky downhills BUT all in moderation. I like coming back to our mountain apartment at night and sleeping in a comfy bed. Takes all types I suppose!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything in moderation in think sums up enjoyable walking. πŸ™‚
      Our gear list stated that a thermarest was optional. As we had very tight weight constrictions for the internal flight, I didn’t bring one. Neither did my tent mate. After the first night of sleeping on two very skinny hard foam mats, we were trying not to think about the fact that we had two weeks of it ahead of us or we’d cry. Luckily our guide had a friend in the village (also a trekking guide) who lent us each a thick sleeping mat for the duration. Sleep is very important. πŸ™‚
      Enjoy your walks. (And your sleeps.)

      Like

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  15. I love this post! My husband and I are avid hikers/backpackers/trekkers, and you have captured everything that we love about hitting the trail. Like you, we have also not been smart enough to bring our own Therm-a-rests on a few occasions on international treks when we were told they would be provided, so we feel your pain on that one. A great read!

    Liked by 1 person

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