Over the past few years I have done quite a few treks, mostly in the Himachal, but this one is going to be special. This would not be a very high altitude trek, with a maximum altitude of 9,000 feet, but this would be my first visit / trek to Arunachal, which many say is one of the prettiest and most unexplored regions of the country.
Here am talking about the Talley Valley trek , a trek in Arunachal Pradesh that promises thrilling walks through the dense rainforests of Arunachal, camping in the jungle and also getting a chance to interact with ancient tribes.
Indiahikes organises this trek both in January and March and I had my sights set on the March batch which ranges from 12 to 18th March. It is now less than 3 weeks to go and I am in full preparation mode. Here are 4 things that I have been doing.
- The bookings and permits: When you book with an organisation like Indiahikes, you pay a certain trek fee which takes care of your food and accommodation for all the days after you reach the base camp. That is the sizeable portion of your total expenses, in this case, it was Rs 10,838 with taxes.
Then come the bookings. One has to reach Guwahati ( the fastest way to reach there from Kolkata is to take a flight ) and then take an overnight train to Naharlagun, a picturesque small town situated in Arunachal Pradesh, 10 kms from Itanagar. Then there would be a shared cab ride to Ziro about 100 kms away from where the trek starts.
The train and flight tickets were the first things I booked. Wanted to spend an entire day exploring Guwahati, so have booked at early morning flight. Indians from outside Arunachal Pradesh visiting the state require an Inner Line Permit. One can apply online or collect it at the Guwahati airport or at the Naharlagun railway station. One also needs to fill up a medical form and get it signed by a doctor which certifies that the trekker is fit for the trek. Keeping all the expenses in mind, I would be spending a maximum of Rs 20,000 for the trek.
- Packing the right stuff: The next important thing is packing the right stuff. I have trekked before so have most of the stuff- trekking shoes, rucksacks, trekking pole, upper and lower layers, woollen socks, gloves, caps and jackets. My headlamp is not working so need to pick one up. One also needs to carry a lunchbox, a spoon and a mug and also important medicines. Indiahikes has a list of all the stuff that you need to take, even a video explaining it. https://indiahikes.com/talle-valley/#itinerary
They even give you the option of ordering some of the stuff online and get it delivered at the base camp. Of course, one has to mention the camera and the binoculars as the trek is a bird watcher’s paradise with the Crested Kingfisher and the Common Green Magpie to birds one might hope to spot.
- Getting fit: Fitness is a prerequisite for any trek. The idea is to be fit through regular exercises, but if one is not doing that, one needs to prepare for at least a month. Here too there are proper guidelines on the site on what you need to work on. https://indiahikes.com/talle-valley/#preparation
For cardiovascular endurance, jogging is recommended, one needs to cover 4 kms in 25 minutes. This takes some time, but is doable. Treks means a lot of pressure on the legs and strengthening the legs is important- for which squats are recommended. I normally have a problem descending and so taking this bit more seriously. Finally, stretching hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders is also required.
Even if you land up on a trek without any exercise, you might complete it anyway, but preparing your body means you do it better and enjoy the trek even more. If going from point A to point B is a problem, one does not have the luxury to soak in the sights and sounds of nature and that beats the purpose of the trek to begin with.
- Getting to know each other: Indiahikes treks are in a batch of about 20 people and what they do is that they create Facebook and WhatsApp groups of the participants so that they get to know each other and also discuss things among themselves. Not only does one have an idea of one’s trekmates beforehand, one can also discuss travel plans , book the same flights if travelling from the same place and in general stay connected to co-trekkers.
Like any journey, it is the anticipation of the trek that is the fun bit and what better than a WhatsApp group the build up the excitement.
So even as I do the preparations, me, like all my trek mates are eagerly looking forward to the trek and cannot stop thinking of the moment when we will get off the train at Naharlagun at 5am in the morning. Follow our FB page and Instagram account for more updates during the trek and a write-up on the trek when I am back!
( Images sourced from Indiahikes.com)