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Trek on a tight budget

health-and-fitness Updated: Feb 17, 2010 14:51 IST
Yana Bey
Yana Bey
Hindustan Times
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We are a group of students planning a trek in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. We don’t want to drive more than 12 hours from Delhi. We are looking for information regarding a suitable destination and the equipment we will require. Can we hire the gear or do we have to buy it? We’re on a student’s budget!

Abhishek Goswami, New Delhi

At this time, Himachal Pradesh will not provide the kind of trek you are looking for. The region is snow-covered at this time of the year. There are nice treks you can do in Uttarakhand.

However, you have to be willing to drive at least 14 hours. The building of a dam has increased the distance to Uttarkashi by 50 km because the road has to skirt the dam. There are really no proper trekking destinations closer to Delhi than that.

Do the dodital trek

The least expensive trek you can do in Uttarakhand is the popular Dodital trek. You will have to drive to Uttarkashi. If you want to take a bus, you will have to go to Rishikesh first and catch a bus to Uttarkashi, where budget accommodation is available.

Spend a day in Uttarkashi to book the forest department lodge at Bevra and the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam lodge at Dodital.

Take the opportunity to visit the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi. The next day, take a bus or taxi to Sangam Chatti, 12 km away, from where you will start the trek. Keep your backpacks light so that you don’t need porters.

The first day’s trek to Bevra is about 12 km. The second day, you will walk about 16 km to reach Dodital.

You can spend the next day in the lodge at the lakeside, or begin the return trek. Since you do not have to pay for tents, food, porters and so on, this trek costs less. But you might need a guide.

Hiring trekking gear

It is possible to hire individual items of trekking gear and organise your own trek but it is far more practical and convenient to pay an adventure company to take care of the logistics.

For instance, you can quite easily get tents on rent but items like stoves and gas cartridges are a little difficult to source. Kerosene stoves are inconvenient because you have to hire a porter to carry the fuel.

Cooking and washing are chores that can spoil the fun, especially for newcomers to adventure.

Yana is a mountaineer and an adventure expert