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11/21/2016

Trekking in the Nepal in August - Chapter 2, where to trek in India in August?

We had to find a place where we could baptize our bag... And that... is not easy. Because in August, it rains in India. Not all the time but enough to make any hike a bit tedious.

I know of two superb (and dry) trekking areas in India: Ladakh and Spiti Valley. But I had already explored these places (in August, and with no rain) but I was a bit reluctant to go there, mostly because of the altitude with my little one. For example, my mother had a bad mountain sickness in Spiti Valley.

I then explored Himachal Pradesh, with options around Manali (less far than Spiti Valley) but the prospect of a 15 hour bus journey to get there stopped me immediately. Which the local organiser found surprising and difficult to understand; and quite frankly I don’t know how Indians manage to do such trips with children...

I then went on the trail of Uttarakhand where I had had a very nice (and wet) experience in August in the region of Kumaon. But we were in a nice hotel, the rain sounded more romantic than if I had been in a tent. Yet many treks in this region (mostly pilgrimages) can ONLY be done during monsoon. So I guess it is possible to trek there in this season. A heavy rain put an end to my considerations, when I heard in the news about landslides – you should have seen the debacle in 2013, with some 5,700 people disappeared in these landslides.

So I ended up considering Kashmir and bought tickets before anyone could discourage me: I know the reputation of Kashmir but if you base your decision on reputation, you don't do anything anymore! As soon as I told my (Kashmiri) Pilates instructor she warned me: it's crazy (not to say stupid) to go there on August 15th (India independence day) when the insurgents who want secession are taking advantage of the summer snowmelt to come down and create some chaos in the capital. Oh well well, the tickets were booked, so let’s see! And there, BOOM!, barely a few days later, an rebel was killed, the conflict started all over again, 350 were injured, curfew was set up. Still I didn’t panic. I had one month left for things to calm down.

And to add to this, a few days later, I got to know that one of the girls in our group was pregnant! She asked her gynecologist for advice and the latter reacted in a very unambiguously way: “Trekking in Kashmir in August? But why? Are you telling me you want to go to Kashmir now? I am a Kashmiri and I tell you it is out of question right now with all that is happening!”. My friend asked her to make abstraction of the destination and to advice whether she could do a trek... And she was not overly enthusiastic: her concern was physical exercise, when it is recommended to take it easy during the first trimester. “Why do you want to get tired?” She gave up on explaining! Because it is true, when you think of it, why get tired?And here we were three weeks before departure, without any program. The situation was not abating in Kashmir, to the point that airlines and tourist agencies paying were fully reimbursing any booking. And to be honest I had starting wondering if this all not a sign of destiny: take it easy woman and go relax by the sea in some luxury resort... So I surfed the net, from the Andaman Islands to Koh Sa Mui. And during this trip, I came across an ad for Nepal. Nepal! How could I not think of it before??

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