When I heard of Indiahikes for the first time – it was merely a trekking company for me. I booked the Gaumukh Tapovan trek with them commencing on 4th October 2020. I was super excited to explore the mountains and it was also my first ever trek. Another reason was, I really wanted a break because of the current pandemic situation, which placed us under house arrest for a longer period of time.
For me, mountains are not just a substantial place to overcome your stress in office or a place for meditation or a weekend getaway, but it holds a lot of value as it offers us with the necessities to sustain life. They play an essential role in providing zillions of people food and water in the entire globe. With the splendid landscapes, striking sunrise and sunset, coolant home for all fauna and flora, adventurous expedition to daring hearts, it provides exhilarating experience to every soul. My trek leader Dhaval quoted once, “We don’t go to the Mountains, Mountains call us”. By the end of the trek, I could relate with every single word and decided to trek only with Indiahikes in the future.
There is a saying, “Mountains are foe to none and friends to all”. But, the question is, are we paying our dues to the mountains??? Had it not been this trip I wouldn’t have realized how much harm we are doing to the nature. The environment is in danger because of the human carelessness, which is perhaps a real issue and needs to be addressed soon, so that we can leave the mountain in a better state for our future generation. But, the way we are littering our mountains and the water sources, it is quite obvious that we have taken them for granted. It is intimidating to see an enormous amount of dumping of trash on the slopes. The ecstasy of witnessing the sunrise and sunset on the soaring snowy mountain is unparalleled, but littering is ruining the landscapes. It is high time we need to put our efforts to preserve the nature as it is our ethical responsibility.
Green Trails Project
Indiahikes introduced me to the concept of “Green Trails” during our briefing with our Trek Leader Dhaval. He explained us how humans are knowingly or unknowingly harming the nature. Green Trails is about conserving the mountains by implementing advanced viable practices which a trekker can follow, while on a trek. The basic idea is to leave no speck in the mountain. Do we litter our home? No…. Then why make mountains or rivers a dump yard? Nature is an inconceivable wonder that stimulates us all. The forests, water sources, soils, mountains offer us with fresh air to breathe, food to eat and water to drink. But, with the utter negligence with which the trash is scattered around on our mother earth, it makes it harmful for the environment. The waste can lead to water and air pollution. Nature is an inheritance and future generation has a right on it. So, it is our duty to conserve it, as well as our natural resources, for their benefit. This is something which Indiahikes taught me during my adventurous trip.
On our first day of the trek we all were given Eco-bags. It was a tiny bag which we were supposed to tie around our waste. It was a kind of a protocol which every trekker had to follow at Indiahikes. Eco-bag acted as a waste collection bag, while we all were trekking in the mountains. We were also asked to collect waste enroute our summit such as wrappers, plastic bottles and all other sorts of litter which are non-biodegradable. Infact our Trek Leader Dhaval and Trek Guide Pratap were also collecting the waste throughout the way. I was very impressed with this concept because for me it was a culture which Indiahikes has set over a period of time. They realized how important it is to save the planet from the mindless disposal of garbage and irrational littering. Indiahikes is on a mission to conserve and safeguard the mother earth.
We all were asked to:
1. Collect our trash in the Eco-bags and as well as the garbage left behind by others. We had to take back the same to the base camp site for segregation. This even included sanitary pads. I was told to wrap it in a newspaper and put them in a ziplock and bring it back to base.
2. We weren’t supposed to use wipes as most wipes comprise of non–biodegradable plastics like polyester and other non–biodegradable ingredients, and could take around 100 years to break down.
3. The emphasis was more on eating freshly cooked food like omelets’, paranthas etc. instead of packaged food because of the accumulation of the waste.
4. To keep the water sources clean – no bathing, no washing of utensils, no dipping of feet inside the water and etc. The water source reaches the city for drinking purpose therefore it is our responsibility to keep it clean.
5. To bring our lunch box and cup, instead of carrying disposable plates or cups.
Genuine Effort to Save the Planet
Each and every thing was so intrinsic and well-planned. I was overwhelmed with the arrangement and professional attitude of the Indiahikes team. Waste reduction and collection is very essential for global sustainability and sanitation. More than the collection or segregation of the litter, reducing the waste is the solution to protect the environment. Trails are becoming popular day by day, so if we all trekkers will put genuine effort in cleaning the mountains and educating people towards it, this will have a huge impact on the environment.
Thanks to our Trek Leader Dhaval and Indiahikes for imbibing in me a sense of responsibility towards nature.
“I also believe, What we give is what we get, be it Life or Relationship or Nature. So if we will make our mountains and river dirty, in return we will get contaminated food and water supply”
Special Thanks to Our Trek Leader Dhaval and Pratap for making me a better person and of course Prathima for coordinating such a wonderful trek during the current covid scenario.
Special Thanks to all my fellow trekkers: Aditya, Aayush, Aman, Santosh, Shantanu, Jonathan, Rahul, Sriram for making this trek a memorable one.