The Epic Trail Is Back For Its 10th Anniversary
It's Himalaya trekking at its best. The epic trail returned for its 10th anniversary
The Great Himalaya Trail, one of the best treks in the world, headed out on Monday 24 February 2020 for its 10-year anniversary.
Let us introduce you to the 2020 participants who started trekking in Nepal for five months, from east to west – Tania from Australia and Manu from France.
When did your love for the mountains and the great outdoors start?
Tania: Many family holidays as a child involved trekking with a backpack and sleeping outdoors. Fortunately, this appreciation continued throughout the years enabling me the opportunity to dream, contemplate and muse without question whilst interpreting nature in its purest form.
My introduction to Nepal and the Himalayas was in 1997 with the successful summit of Mera Peak, inspiring me to seek out similar encounters and igniting a passion for adventure and the mountains.
Manu: I have been a big fan of mountains since I was eight-years-old. Living in France, my parents used to take me to the Pyrénées or the Alps every year to hike – and I kept doing it ever since! I am going on multi-day hikes twice a year and I often take to the mountains.
I have completed the Te Araroa Trail, a challenging 3,000-kilometre trek that crosses New Zealand from north to south, walked most of the GR5, the Grand Traverse of the Alps, and last year I hiked in Canada’s Banff and Jasper National Parks for two weeks.
How did you first hear about the Great Himalaya Trail?
Tania: I became aware of the Great Himalaya Trail via social media in 2018. At that time I was unable to explore further due to commitments, however in 2019 trekking the Great Himalaya Trail became a consideration and here we are today about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
Manu: Nepal was calling me! I was looking to find a big trek in the Himalaya. It only took one search on Google and I quickly found out about the Great Himalaya Trail.
Why did you decide to join such an epic trek?
Tania: Our day to day happenings can at times seem overwhelming. Trekking for me is taking a moment to pause, to breathe, to be still, to listen and to just live. I chose to undertake the Great Himalaya Trail as a personal journey to quietly reflect upon my recent and incredible 18 months where I had the great honour and privilege of fostering and caring for a precious baby who in now living with family.
This motivated me to reconnect with the stillness, balance and harmony that nature has in abundance and commit to the physical and mental challenge that the Great Himalaya Trail demands.
Manu: When I finished the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I go for another big trek in the future. My only concern was to find one with mountains only.
Everest is the mother of all mountains and the Great Himalaya Trail is a perfect match for my next adventure because it combines remote backcountry, perfect for disconnection, and human interaction with Nepal’s culture.
How did your family and friends react when you told them about it?
Tania: Family, friends and many others that I have met during my training, both in and out of the gym, have been incredibly supportive. The Great Himalaya Trail is not every person’s journey, and that is totally OK – it is at the present my journey.
Manu: They were happy but also scared as the high altitude will be a new dimension for me. But they were happy and relieved to find out I am joining a team this time!
How are you preparing for the Great Himalaya Trail?
Tania: Training has been a combination of cardio, aerobic and free weights. I have been utilising the local gym (stepper in particular), home gym with my BFF Michelle and local cliff top trails. There have certainly been memorable trekking moments both exhilarating and confronting. During these times I endeavour to focus on what’s right in front of me (mostly my feet) and tell myself to just take one step… and then another… and to keep going one step at a time. At times we are pushed to challenging our own limits, and yet we don’t really know what they are until we do.
Manu: I’ve been training mainly by doing lots of different sports. For the past year, I have been playing squash 4 to 5 times a week, which is very good cardio exercise. I run 3 times a week and I often go on rides with my bike to build endurance. This month, I am also doing a special training course in the Alps on mountaineering skills.
Finally, what are you looking forward to the most on the trek? And what the least?
Tania: My expectations of the Great Himalaya Trail are humble, nonetheless I eagerly look forward to embracing what can only be described as an enriching and unforgettable experience.
I am looking forward to all 7 stages of the trail taking me through majestic landscapes and mountains both transparent and unpolluted, matched only by the beauty and nature of the Nepalese themselves. During the more difficult and exhausting periods, I hope to draw strength from every person that has touched my life and take them along with me one step at a time.
Manu: I am looking forward to being amazed with the scenery of Nepal, meeting and interacting with the locals and living simple – going back to the basics, focusing on the vital needs, the remoteness offering a complete disconnection from the world.
I can’t wait to meet the team and start the first section of the trek… but I am not looking forward to the cold temperatures. It will be hard being away from all friends and family so when we finish the trail, on 22 July, the first thing I will do is speak with them (and have a hot shower!).
The Great Himalaya Trail is the ultimate trekking holiday in Nepal and the 2020 trekkers will 'report live' on this experience of a lifetime on the Great Himalaya Trail blog.
Find out more about what makes the Great Himalaya Trail one best adventure holidays in the world, join one of the seven sections that depart this year or book the Full Nepal Traverse!