Originally an Afrikaans word meaning a long journey by ox wagon, the word ‘Trekking’ in the Himalaya signifies walking or hiking up and downhills. Thus, trekking is a walking trip on mountain trails from just a few days to a month or more, in the same style as exploratory or mountaineering expeditions. Trekking can be a leisurely activity: you carry only what you might want during the day -camera, binoculars, sweater, etc while porters, mules, or yaks carry all equipment and personal belongings. Or you may opt to do it the hard way, personally carrying all your gear on your back.
Trekking is not a climbing trip. Though some trekking venture to extreme altitude and near glaciers, or even cross them, most trekking do not allow the achievement of any Himalayan mountaineering ambitions. As a rule, alpine techniques are not used on traditional trekking and all trails are easily traversed without the aid of ropes or any mountaineering skill.
It spends most of its time in the middle hills between 800m and 4,500m. In this region, the trekking is always on well-developed trails through villages and across the mountain passes. Trekking does not necessarily imply a true wilderness experience. Although isolation is traditionally a crucial element for those in the outdoors pursuit, it is often impossible to get completely away from people, except for short times or at extremely high elevations. Even in these higher elevations, small settlements of stone houses and yak pastures dot every possible flat space.
Much of the Himalaya is still largely without roads. Access to its interior- its villages and valleys, its mountains, deserts, and hills- is by ancient foot trails, and trade and pilgrimage routes that interlace in an intricate pattern across the land. It is difficult though for most westerners to comprehend this aspect of life until they actually set foot on these hills, as their preconception of a roadless area is strongly influenced by the places they backpack or hike at home- true wilderness, usually protected as a national park or forest.
Much of the fascination of trekking will be derived from the opportunity to observe life in these picturesque villages inhabited by perhaps the world’s friendliest people, their traditional hospitality, fascinating cultures and traditions which seem to exemplify many of the attributes modern technical life has lost in rush for development and progress. Indeed, the real adventure is new insights, the awe found in nature, encounters with new cultures, and the excitement of personal discovery.
Trekking in the Himalaya is a special kind of mountain holiday unlike any other in the world that gives you the chance to experience the true Freedom of the Hills.