Trekking in Ladakh - In conversation with 3 mothers Reviews
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Trekking in Ladakh - In conversation with 3 mothers

Trekking in Ladakh - In conversation with 3 mothers

These first time trekkers share their experiences and look back at the journey. In between their candid laughter and poignant words, we can surely find the inspiration we all seek to embrace new experiences in life. Hear them out!

The trekking season in Ladakh starts somewhere around June and now extends unto September every year. These busy months at this Mecca of adventure are just about enough to give us some of the most exciting stories and unforgettable moments from the journeys of travelers. Be it bikers setting off on their breakaway trips, backpackers on a cultural journey, glamping enthusiasts on their luxury holidays or trekkers on some of the best trekking trails around the world in Ladakh, story of every traveler has its unique charm.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience trekking in Ladakh, then the route from Rumtse to Tso Kar should definitely be on your bucket list. This beautiful hike on the Changthang plateau lets you experience the isolated highlands of Ladakh as you cross through three high passes and an avenue of stunning sights.
Joining us for the trek this season were Anant Golyan, Ranveer Singh and  a trio of mothers, Aditi Hirawat, Sumedha Singh and Kohinoor Agarwal. Sumedha is a baker and a mother of two from Calcutta running her own cafe in the city. Aditi and Kohinoor are both from Kathmandu, Nepal, mother of two kids and are into retailing and arts, respectively. This summer was all about ticking the box in their bucket list for these young mothers as they trekked from Rumtse to Tso Kar in Ladakh crossing some incredible high altitude passes Kumur La (4900m), Mandalchan La (5000m) and Shibuk La (5050m).
Seeking motivation for new adventures in life is essential. Tell us what motivated you to go for this new adventure.
Kohinoor: When I landed at the airport in New Delhi, on being asked the reason for my visit, I told the officer that I was here to participate in a trek. They asked me if I was a student and to their surprise, I told them that I was a housewife. It was indeed a shock for the officer and he didn’t hesitate to convey his surprise to me. If anything at all, it was this incident that motivated me to complete this trek even before I started it.
Aditi: When the idea of this adventure trek was first proposed to me, it sounded pretty exciting. I had never trekked before and my curiosity about this new experience was a big reason that I went ahead with it. As a first-time trekker, I was apprehensive about the comfort and facilities available during the trek. I would say that we lucked out with UFO Adventure Travel. Throughout the trek we had clean and comfortable tents with chemical portable commodes. When the organizers take care of nuances like that, it simply elevates the outdoor experience.
How did you train yourself for this trek?
Sumedha: UFO had given us prior information detailing that at least a basic level of fitness and training would help us enjoy the trek better. I had been going to the gym for a year and this trek pushed me to train even harder as I had something to aim for. 2 months prior to the trek, I focused on strength training, cardio workouts and breathing exercises.
Spending a few days in Leh is essential for acclimatizing. What are your fond memories from the city?
Kohinoor: We spent the first two days acclimatizing in Leh and visited the beautiful Shey Palace, Thiksey and Stakna Monastery near Leh. The visit to these gorgeous sights was essential in giving an insight about the region before we started for the trek. We were told that going on a picnic was part of the local tradition in Ladakh, so UFO organized a barbecue picnic in Shey village keeping up with this tradition. Sitting on the grass, in the midst of trees with the Indus river flowing nearby, was truly something special. We also got a chance to interact and get a sneak peek into the lives of the locals. My chats with Jigmet, Head Operations (UFO) and his sister Padma achi, are experiences that I really adore. This was our first chance to personally experience how beautiful the people of Ladakh are at heart and I feel that they are somehow innately hospitable.

Why trekking in Ladakh? What motivated you to say yes?  
Aditi: Treks in Ladakh are known for the instant landscape changes that leave you spellbound. Such dramatic landscape changes were indeed a mesmerizing aspect of walking on this trail. When we began the trek from Rumtse, I was completely taken over by purple mountainsides, glowing in the sun, on the pebble trail and I was keen to collect the stones too. But by the time I made up my mind to do it, we’d already entered a green track and the pebbles were nowhere to be seen now. The changing trail with patches of greenery and the unending cold deserts were something I wanted to witness for a long time and it truly gave me a sense of how beautifully diverse landscapes in Ladakh can be.
You crossed three high altitude passes during your trek to Tso Kar. How challenging was it for you, both mentally and physically?
Sumedha: The high passes were both mentally and physically challenging for my husband and me. Sometimes you just have to keep your head down, breathe and put one step after another. I didn’t keep my knees flexed while walking and my knees were jammed before we could reach Tso Kar. Kohinoor helped me out with the knee guards that helped me reach the next camp. We also had an extra horse with an oxygen tank along with the guide in case anyone was very tired or an emergency. So we had the necessary arrangements if anyone had any problems.
Travels, and especially high altitude treks, are always beautiful in retrospect. How do you remember this trek to Tso Kar?
Kohinoor: It is said that travel is not about the destination but the journey and this trek proved it right for me. The view of the Tso Kar was breathtaking and indeed unforgettable but throughout this entire trail from Rumtse to Tso Kar, we were bowled over by the stunning vistas that unfolded before us day after day. Be it the changing colors of the meandering rivers, the herds of yaks or the local people we encountered, every experience simply renewed our energy to keep moving forward.
Sumedha: For me this trek had been about a search for a place where I could find perfect quietness and Tso Kar was a perfect destination in that respect. When we reached this majestic mirror lake, there was no other trekking group around us. The lake was beautiful in its reflective glory! Enjoying this sort of peacefulness away from the city and the civilization was what made it all worth the effort of tireless hiking for days.
What do you have to say about the UFO Adventure Travel support staff on this trek?
Kohinoor: By the end of this trip, we felt like a family walking together. We all walked at a different pace but somehow we would always find someone from the support staff walking alongside. UFO Adventure Travel has a 1:1 staff client ratio and this is an important reason why I would return for another trek with them. It’s incredible how after the long day of walking uphill, the head chef Kazi Dai, assistant chef Dawa and other helpers would hardly rest and get on with setting up the camp, greeting us with juice/tea and hot/cold towels and preparing for bonfire and dinner. Our guide, Tashi, had his own tricks to keep us motivated to walk and complete this dream of a trek.
Aditi: We were definitely well taken care off during the entire trek. I remember the first day when I had a bit of a headache and I’d stop after every 30 to 40 steps, I would always find someone from the team by my side to walk along. At that high altitude it was unbelievable how comfortable our sleeping tents were. We were using 5-person tent on twin sharing basis and had a separate lounge tent for playing games, reading books and socializing throughout the trek. Other than a mess tent and kitchen tent, we also had a chemical portable toilet, which is something I have never heard any other adventure travel company using in their itineraries. The staff understood that the devil is in the details and from clean and comfortable tents, portable commodes to impeccable hotel facility in Leh, UFO staff took very good care of us.
How important do you think it is for women to venture into the outdoors?
Aditi: In the past whenever my kids went out on camping trips, I would always be curious about it. This trek gave me an opportunity to understand their outdoor experiences better and I certainly go back with a better understanding of travel and exploration. As a mother, it simply opens a new dimension for me to connect with my kids and introduce them to newer experiences in life. I hope that i can go trekking with my two kids in the years to come and encourage them to step outdoors more often.
Sumedha: This was my first trek and it was both empowering and reassuring to see Aditi and Kohinoor on the trek as it was a completely new experience. We were very comfortable with each other and got along well since the beginning. Interestingly, each one of us is a mother to two kids so we had a lot to discuss about! Talk about having things in common. City life can get stagnant and uninspiring sometimes and getting out in nature is an instant reset. I feel active and rejuvenated now as i am back with my family and more than ready to face the challenges of running a business. Kohinoor and Aditi in the group and UFO taking care of the logistics certainly played a major role at making the entire experience really memorable for me.

Thank you for your time! 

The experience of these first time trekkers and mothers crossing high passes and camping in the isolated Changthang plateau would have certainly inspired you to get out. Shedding inhibitions and overcoming self doubt, they are now more confident of themselves and look forward to more adventures and exploring the outdoors. So step out and explore the unique trails and fascinating new frontiers of the world waiting for you. Just #follow_the_feather.