I just completed a week long solo trip covering two treks and a few days of village and lake hopping. This post summaries what worked well and few things to do better. Consider this as a kya paya kya khoya note to self (things I learned and unlearned).
Solo in Uttarakhand
I absolutely enjoyed traveling solo both through the Kedar Valley and the Kumaon region. The mountains and people are quite friendly. You will find help and information everywhere. People generously give lifts. Shared taxis do ply between villages.
Garhwal region (upper Himalayas) is primarily known for pilgrimages. You will find travelers from all over India. The yatra season is usually May-Oct with July and August being the monsoon months. Avoid travel in the monsoon. Pre monsoon is better for post-snow dry views and post monsoon will provide you with nature at its best (flowers everywhere etc.). Entrypoint to Garhwal is from Rishikesh and is well connected with Delhi.
This was my first time in the Kumaon region (lower Himalayas). Kumaon is much more laid back place. Small serene villages and beautiful views of mountains. You will mostly find trekkers and people visiting from Delhi for weekend gateways. Connectivity is slightly poorer than Garhwal since mostly people travel in chartered or private vehicle. Entrypoint to Kumaon is through Haldwani and is well connected with Uttar pradesh, Delhi and rest of India through trains.
I’d prefer to not combine both Garhwal and Kumaon travel in the same itinerary. Connectivity is primarily via shared vehicles and it takes multiple transitions to make your way through the region. This is a learning from last trip where I combined both.
What to carry
Below list is for a solo backpacker for 7-10 days travel in the Himalayas. Non snow trekking. I do recommend few brands purely as a happy customer (no affiliation otherwise).
- 50-55 liter backpack, 15-20 liter day pack. Backpack rain cover.
- Leave the backpack at base and always carry day pack for the trek.
- Trousers: two trek pants, (prefer quick dry, NH series from Decathlon). Do not take the heavy track pants. 1-2 shorts while resting at night. 1 jeans for transfers.
- Shirts: 3-4 t-shirts (quick dry polyester material).
- Inners: 3-4, your preferred brand and material.
- 1 jacket. Prefer padded if you’re trekking in low temperature.
- A rain wear or poncho.
- 1 trekking shoe (NH150 Decathlon for dry to mild wet treks, MH150 for harder wet treks) and 1 flip-flop for non trekking use.
- Medicine: Paracetamol (Dolo 650), Diamox, Metrogyl 400, Sporolac, Avomine, Omnigel spray (muscle relaxant). I am not a doctor, this is non exhaustive list.
Notes on Plan
I loved the last serendipitous travel. I had booked tickets to and from Delhi. Rest everything was left on chance to shape with time.
The trek part of the trip fared well. I had planned Tungnath first and then Madmaheshwar but did it in reverse as I met with fellow travelers. I’d try such flexibility again.
The plains part of the trip was a bit randomized. I ended up spending little more time on transfers between places. Next time I’d put a sketch of major places to cover in this part and then leave the order for chance. I also learned to keep Garhwal and Kumaon in separate travel itineraries.
That’s all the learning for this trek. Thanks for reading through ❤️
This post is the part of a week long solo backpacking series. All posts are below: