Hello peeps! Long time no see, no me, no posts! Have some time in hand today so thought I’ll quickly write up a post. Also, its Sunday today – what are you guys up to today? Busy with something you love, or simply lazing around? As far as I’m concerned, all I’m doing is reminiscing last Sunday – because at this time last Sunday, I was in my favorite place – up in the mountains! So here’s a bit about last Sunday’s trek to Kothaligad, like not the intricate details ( chuck, you’ll know when you read) – so read up!
To be honest, I was sleep deprived and super exhausted (courtesy a hectic work week) before the trek even began . I had to wake up at 4.30 in the morning to get ready and leave home to reach the pickup point on time, at 6 am. And I’d set the alarm to 4.30 am, but I was so delirious, that when the alarm rang, I woke up , sat up scratching my head wondering why on earth have I set the alarm to 4.30 in the Morning on a Sunday! It took me a couple of minutes to finally realize I had a trek to go to!
Also, I was missing from the action scene since the beginning of 2019 – this trek was my first trek this year. I wasn’t able to keep the ‘one trek every month’ pact I’d made with myself. After Fort Mahuli in December 2018, I sadly wasn’t able to go on even a single trek ( life and the 150 reasons it throws up to make sure the odds aren’t in your favor!). I wasn’t missing it for anything in the world So I picked up my tired limbs, gathered myself up for the trek and set out.
Sleepy as I was, I thought I’d catch up with some sleep on the three hour journey to the fort – but no, that wasn’t to happen either! We had a trek buddies reunion – we had all met last year, on Fort Mahuli for the first time, and the ball we had on that treacherous trek! And the thing with trek buddies is that no matter after how long you meet, nothing can beat the enthusiasm to see similar faces on a trek! So yeah, we had almost 7 months of catching up to do – during which we talked about two things that mattered the most – what are you doing currently? And do you set aside time for maintaining your fitness levels?
And for me, while the first was easy to answer, I felt really guilty while answering the second one because I’d given up swimming and running too – I’d decided to pursue either of the two to keep up with my fitness, but I just couldn’t. It’s really important to maintain your fitness levels if you’re a trekker (unless of course, you’re perfectly cool with holding up the entire group with your snail-speed, wait for unnecessary breaks to catch your breath and make someone else carry your bag). So here I was, with no physical activity (stopped running since the past two months), with a lethargic body, arriving shamelessly for this trek ( which by the way, was no joke)
And the consequences of it.. well, I bore them. I struggled through the initial phase of the trek. As the altitude rose slowly, I could feel that my lung capacity had dwindled down. We weren’t even through one-fourth of the trek and here I was, already huffing and puffing, all red in the face! Added to this was my week long exhaustion, already aching body and extremely high humidity levels (84%) that day!
Thankfully, I had the best companions with me for this trek. We kept talking and walking, motivating each other. And all through this time, though I was struggling to keep up with the pace, I kept reminding myself that I’ve done tougher treks than this and though I was in my prime physical form during those, it didn’t mean that I have lost it all in me. I reminded myself, “once a trekker, always a trekker”. And rather than cribbing about how exhausted I was, I should focus my energies on trudging ahead. Did that work? Well yes, it did.
I soon caught the rhythm and was moving ahead like I had nothing to lose. Nature has her own ways of showing you, bringing to your notice of how you have been neglecting yourself, your body. But once you’re in nature’s arms, she will comfort you like no other. And there I was – one with Mother Nature – reveling in all her beauty, absorbing every stunning sight she was unfolding as we kept going higher.
There was a rest stop when we were done with 3/4th of the trek. We were given the option of settling there or going ahead. Because of the extreme conditions (scorching heat and humidity) half the group settled right there, while the other half ( my companions and me included) were visibly excited to go ahead! After all what’s a challenge if you don’t accept it? Especially when we were informed that the last part was the toughest, with rock climbing and a huge, winding staircase to the top (which would make any head spin!), we were like, “Yaha tak aye hai, poora kar ke hi chodenge” (If we’ve come up till here, we’re not returning without reaching the top)
And we did – the steps through the winding staircase were huge – at the beginning we did hop onto the steps as though they were a child’s play, soon we realized that there were many flights of stairs leading to the top – each stair two feet tall, covered with moss and super slippery too. After two flights which we managed to walk upright, we were on all fours for the rest of the stairs! There was no other way out!
But yes ,the struggle was worth it – the rewarding view and the breakfast with the dragonflies, honeybees and butterflies whizzing past was all worth it. Especially after having breakfast, lunch in the office cafeteria – cutlery, shiny plates and table etiquette – this reckless breakfast was a welcome change. In fact I was longing for this since the past 7 months. Just sat still at the top, watching the wind mills in motion at a distance, biting into the crunchy apple and peanut butter chikki – throwing caution to the winds – not bothered about unwashed hands, lack of tissues and even plates – just peace and sheer bliss.
Trekking teaches you that you can survive with the bare minimum – you don’t require luxuries to make your life happy. It makes you realize how you waste a lot of your resources( time, money) to indulge in luxurious stuff when the real happiness lies in the simple stuff. Real happiness won’t require you to spend a fortune, the simple act of wandering away into nature is enough. An aunty, who was with us for this trek rightly said – a trekker will never be ashamed to sit cross legged anywhere and have their food. A true trekker would never seek happiness in anything material – but will cherish little moments that enrich their lives.
And oh, I forgot to tell you – I have a fear of heights. I feel dizzy when I look down from a height, with my heart beat beginning to race. And this is also one reason why I’m super comfortable with the ascent part, but very scared of the descent. But this trek changed something – while my fear of heights still hasn’t gone away completely, what I noticed was that descent no longer scares me! So a quick yayyy for me, please? I was as swift as a deer on the way down!
And then when we reached down, a piping hot lunch was awaiting us – and of course, we ate like there was no tomorrow! And then slept like babies on the way back to Pune!
I was tanned, bruised, with blisters on my feet, and tired (a different kind of tired this time 😉 ), but nothing of it mattered, because over it all I was HAPPY. SATISFIED. LIBERATED. Once, you’ve tasted adventure, you’ll never revert back to anything else to seek happiness. After all, once a trekker, always a trekker!!! 😀