It has been said time and again that age is just a number. That no age is too late to pursue your passion. And Dr. Radhadevi Vadapalli is the perfect example of this ideology. With her every trek, she has proved that fitness is the key and not her age. A resident of Muralinagar in Vizag, Dr. Vadapalli works as the Assistant Dean of the Skill Development Centre at Dr. Lankapalli Bullayya College of Engineering. But in recent years, she has made a name by trekking to the most difficult terrain of all – The Himalayas. Back in 2018, she had gone on a trekking expedition to The Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand.
In her most recent trek, she visited Beas Kund in Himachal Pradesh. Located near Manali, it’s one of the most popular and challenging treks in India. The Beas Kund lake itself is dipped in history and a picturesque location to visit. But at a daunting altitude of 12,772 feet, this trek is not for everyone and definitely tests a person’s fitness. Dr. Vadapalli was up to the challenge, not just to prove her detractors wrong but also to have an unprecedented experience. In a chat with Yo! Vizag, this passionate trekker describes her most recent adventure, the Beas Kund which she undertook the previous week.
Her journey to Beas Kund
The trekking expedition to Beas Kund in the Himalayas was organised by Indiahikes. Dr. Vadapalli was part of a group of 25 people, all of whom had the same objective – to trek to Beas Kund. Due to fitness concerns and the difficulty level of this trek, people need to prepare heavily for it. Especially after having undergone a rigorous fitness regime that lasted about 2 months. In her preparations for this expedition, she walked or jogged 5 km everyday. Additionally, she did crunches and shoulder exercises regularly to physically prepare herself for the trials and tribulations of this expedition.
All her hard work gave fruit when she was cleared for the trek. On the first day of the expedition, Dr. Vadapalli climbed up till about 9,000 feet where the group rested for the night at the Palchhani base camp. The next day, she covered a further 3,000 feet to reach the second base camp at Lohali. From here, on the third day of their expedition, she climbed the remainder of the trail to Beas Kund. The same day, the group returned to the Lohali base camp. This is from where they began their descent out of the Himalayas. Dr. Vadapalli described the descent from Lohali as very tricky. Heavy rain compounded the struggles, with the trail becoming very muddy and slushy. But with the help of the local trek guides that had been hired, the group was able to make the descent safely.
Talking about the mesmerising beauty of the Beas Kund trek, she shares, “The best part of this trek was that we walked mostly along the banks of River Beas. The combined view of the riverbanks, snowclad mountains, Deodhar trees and the grasslands was nothing short of spectacular. The view along the trek was so beautiful that we felt no fatigue in climbing to such an altitude. The snowclad mountains looked so near. The temperatures were extremely low up there so we made sure to be well covered. The whole trek was really beautiful. Camping in the cold and in between the mountains was really exciting. Our trek leader also organised various activities for us at the campsite. ”
Trekking during the Covid-19 pandemic
Trekking in the Himalayas, that too Beas Kund, is challenging as it is. But the current Covid-19 situation in the country added more obstacles to Dr. Vadapalli’s trek. Not only did she have to get a medical certificate from a doctor but she also had to submit proof of double vaccination and a negative RT-PCR test report. Apart from this, every participant’s oxygen levels and blood pressure were checked twice a day.
Trekking in Vizag
Acknowledging the trekking culture in Vizag, she pointed out the extensive scope for trekking in Vizag. “Vizag has a lot of mountains that an amateur-level trekker can climb. From Kambalakonda to Madhavadhara to Yarada, these mountains not only give budding trekkers an idea of what trekking is about but also offer some breathtaking views.”
She also talked about the various trekking associations in the city that organise regular treks in and around Vizag. She herself has formed a “Walkers and Trekkers Club” at Dr. Lankapalli Bullayya College of Engineering where she takes students and other trekking enthusiasts on treks.
Advice to budding trekkers
For those who love trekking, and want to get into it, Dr. Vadapalli suggested that they start off with easy treks like the ones around Vizag. This, she said, is in order to understand the difficulties of trekking. She also talked about the need to prepare diligently for medium and high-difficulty trekking, like the expeditions in the Himalayas.
After Beas Kund, Dr. Vadapalli’s next goal is to visit Hampta Pass, which is at an altitude of about 14,000 ft.