Kareri Lake Trek: The Best Himalayan Trek to take Your Child in 2020
As parents, we try our best to choose the best for our children. We give them the right experiences and hope they grow to be strong independent adults. Talking about experiences, how can I forget the mesmerising and adventurous Kareri Lake trek with my 6-year-old son?
Trekking has always been a part of my life. As life gets busy, I do not trek as much as I would wish to, but as long as I can remember I have tried to head to the mountains. I still remember the first proper trek I had in the Himalayan. My father and I had planned to head to the top of a short hill in Ooty. The trail twisted through Eucalyptus forests, tea plantations, and general undergrowth. After about 2 hours (forever in child time) we reached our destination and could see the small lake below. I barely remember most of the trek but that feeling was new to me. It is something I still pursue when I head to the mountains.
Since that moment, I have been fortunate enough to trek in various parts of the world. I have done the Everest Base Camp trek, Mount Kilimanjaro Trek and The Chadar Trek. So when it came time to introduce my 6-year-old boy to trekking I jumped in joy. As a kid, he has always wanted to join me while I left for my adventurous treks and I hoped one day I can get his along.
Overview of Kareri Lake
Kareri Lake is in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is in the same district as Dharamshala. Kareri Lake is a high altitude lake that is formed from meltwater from Minkiani Peak. The trek to the Kareri lake winds through lush pine forests and green meadows.
Kareri Lake is not too large but it looks beautiful. It is also known for the birds and it is a pretty good place for bird watching. You can spot birds like Greater White-fronted Goose, Pied Harrier, Sociable Lapwing, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone Mew, and the Slender-billed Gull.
Kareri Lake Height
Kareri Lake is at a height of around 2,950 meters or 9678 ft. This makes it perfect for beginners or in my case suitable for my son. En route to the lake, you will see a couple of small shepherd homes. Also, you will meet a lot of cute ‘Gaddi Kuthas’ (Himalayan Mastiffs), and a whole lot of beautiful landscapes.
Preparation for the Trek
My son and my preparation started a couple of weeks before the trek with some light walking and jogging. I wanted to get used to walking for a longer period and to get comfortable with carrying a backpack. We started by walking for 20 minutes at a time. I carried my regular backpack with a couple of kilograms of weight and him with an empty backpack. At the end of the week, we were up to 30 minutes with him carrying a bottle of water as well. By the end of the preparation period, we were walking for close to an hour.
Arrival for the Kareri Lake Trek
As the day drew closer and the wife more anxious, we started our packing and prepared ourselves for the trek. Next thing we knew, we were on a flight to Delhi. At Dharamshala, we met Mr Sauraj Jhingan, our Adventure Pulse trek leader. He had been coordinating with us for the past couple of months. We reached our base at Mcloedganj. They showed us our rooms at the hotel. That evening, Samir informed us about the briefing and what to expect over the next few days. During the briefing, he also introduced us to the rest of the group. It was a group of 10, with the average age of the children at 10 years.
The next morning we had a tour planned, where we visited the monastery at Dharamshala and a short tour of the city. An enjoyable day, Himachal has always been close to my heart as I studied nearby in Dharampur. It was a longish day and we spent a lot of the time going through the local markets. We came back to our hotel at 6 pm and after an early dinner, we called it a night.
The next morning we woke up early, ‘D- DAY’. My son was up and about before me (Excitement with a little nervousness). The drive to the Kareri Village is about 4 hours and we had our briefing about the trail for the day. The Kareri lake trek distance from Kareri village is around 4-5 km. The trail is through pine and fir forests and our destination for the night is beside a stream.
The trail starts through the village and my son started strong. Being the energetic child that he is, he ran ahead trying to keep up with our lead guide. I was keeping a keen eye on him, but let him explore the area and make his own experiences. After about half an hour of running around, he started to tire and joined my side.
We were walking at a slow pace, I taking pictures while my son finding something on the ground or the trees. He then noticed the cuts on the trees and the collection of resin. I then went on to lecture him on why they do that, something he didn’t understand put proceeded to dip his fingers in. What then followed is an energetic 6-year-old with a hand full of resin waxing peoples’ arm hair; including my own. The word pain doesn’t come close to describe getting your arm waxed.
Delicious Meal on the Trek
Once we reached the campsite, our hero was completely exhausted. I ended up carrying him for the last half an hour. The campsite was beside the beautiful stream with clear glacial water. After a quick freshening up, we headed to the dining tent to meet with the rest and wait for dinner. After an amazing 4 course meal, starting with tea and Pakoras, followed by tomato soup, main course which was some noodles, rice, gravy chicken and mixed veg; we ended the meal with some Kheer. A delicious meal, which was quickly finished by the troop. Kudos to Adventure Pulse for organizing such amazing food.
We then proceeded to call it a night after a quick game of Uno. This would be the first night my son spends in a sleeping bag. I taught him how to zip himself and he fell asleep pretty quickly. There’s a lot of space in a normal sleeping bag for a 6-year-old.
Beautiful Kareri Lake View
The morning after, we started our journey to our next destination – Kareri Lake. The route is like day 1 with the trail winding its way through the pine and rhododendron forest. We were following a stream and crossing it on many occasions. Our hero was doing much better this day, I had a feeling of pride that he is finally enjoying the trek. After about a couple of hours, we reached the Kareri lake.
We made it, our destination; a beautiful Kareri lake in the bosom of beautiful peaks. I was super proud of my son. He made the journey on his own with no major support from me and hopefully made some beautiful memories. He reached the lake a little tired but super excited and ran back for a High-5 from Sauraj. After some celebratory tea, we started our journey back to Kareri Village.
Trekking has always been a big part of my life and me as a parent can only hope that my kid feels the same.
Parents always try their best to give their kid the best start they can get. But sometimes it is better to let them go and discover themselves on their own. That can be the best lesson, the best memory they have. I still look back to the day my father and I made that short trip to the top of the hill in Ooty. That memory is so simple and yet so pure. I can only hope one day my son will be able to take someone and give them that experience, that joy to have done something never done, to push yourself a little harder and achieve something so pure.
Kareri Lake trek was a simple trek but for me, it was so much more than that. It was like an heirloom. My father passed it down to me and now I had passed it down to my son.