Skandagiri — to ascend or not to ascend…
It was 12:00 A.M . The bus was to come and pick me up at 1:00 A.M at the nearest bus stop. I was sitting comfortably on my bed. I had slept for about an hour so I could be up by 12:00 A.M, to take a call on whether I should go on the night trek or not. I sat on my bed looking at my pillow, adoringly. It was calling me, luring me. My eyes were a bit heavy with sleep. I could cancel and go back to bed, to spend my Sunday lazing around at home, having a nice wholesome breakfast, binging on ‘Community’, my favorite Netflix series and maybe even go on that date I had planned.
To the left was my bedside dresser mirror. I looked into it and saw my reflection. I’m 34, still young, still agile, still pretty, and comfortable with my body. What have I got to lose by heading on the trek? Wouldn’t it be more of an achievement than just an attempt?
So I pulled myself up, packed my bags and headed to the bus stop.
After reaching the bus stop, I realized that all the mosquitoes were getting attracted to me as I was wearing black! What a way to start the morning- being fed on! As the midnight chai waala came along on his Kinetic Honda, more trekkers boarding at the same stop greeted me — a Doctor, an IT kid and an Army man. We were all solo travelers and had decided to go on this trek for a whimsical weekend adventure trip. We boarded the bus, a bit of chit chat and sporadic naps. We reached the first pit stop where we could have some coffee and a bite to eat. The scent of filter coffee filled the deli. After a cup or two, the caffeine-kicked cheering and hooting started on the bus as we proceeded to the mountain base.
Once we reached the base, we enthusiastically started our ascent. The only surprise was that the path which we were trekking on was paved out by water, hence the terrain was rocky. So we had to use our muscle power to head up, hands and feet included. After being a bunch of mountain goats for about half an hour continuously, the initial zeal dropped and fatigue started kicking in. It was now that we realized we had a long way to go and the only way we could do it was if we paced out our mind and body.
As I moved up the mountain, I started getting breathless and took breaks once in a while to recover. I was handed a trekking stick by a newly made friend and got some help from fellow trekkers to carry my bags for a while, as that was hindering my ascent. There were two guides with us — one was the motivator and one was the realist. The motivator would tell us there was just a little way to go to the top, even though there was a lot more. The realist would contradict him and tell us the whole bare truth about how we had covered just five percent of the ascent and it would take two more hours to get to the top at our pace.
I was slower than the rest of the troupe, the fact being that I was probably one of the oldest there. The twenty something’s were a lot faster than I was, but that didn’t mean they didn’t feel the same pain I did. After about 40 percent of the ascent, it was no longer a physical journey but a mental one. I kept motivating myself by telling myself that I had committed to reach the top. I had already reached the top in my head, I just had to do it in reality. I could do it slowly, but reaching the top was the goal. Occasionally I would stop to see the beautiful view as I wanted to still enjoy the journey, no matter how hard it was.
I would meet some trekkers here and there at some pit stops while taking a break, each one on their own journey. Some lying down on the flat stones and enjoying the view and some taking selfies and pictures to stamp the journey into their memories for life. I don’t think I had the energy to take my phone out and take pictures. I was thoroughly enjoying the direct view, not one through any lens.
It took about two and a half hours for me to get to the top with some aid by the guides. Once I got to the top, to tell you the truth, I didn’t feel ballistic or over the moon with joy. I felt like I had done what I had committed to do, proved what I had imagined in my head. Honestly, I had won right when I got off my bed to do the trek, this was icing. I layed down on the flat stones and looked up at the strikingly blue sky. I heard some music being played near another flat stone where others were relaxing. The sun was hitting my eyes but all I was thinking was that ‘I knew I could do it and I did it, in my own time, at my own pace’. I closed my eyes to feel the peace. At one point I wanted to stay there forever. Head on my backpack, my arm over my eyes, protecting me from the rising sun, if I could be here, I thought, there would be no more work, no more excel sheets, no more back and forth in traffic, no more hustle and best of all, no more technology!
But we all know that can’t be life at the moment, even though we do have the freedom to choose that life later if we feel it can be sustainable for us.
After a bit of resting, we were asked to descend. This proved to be tougher than ascending. When you ascend you use your muscles and pace out your breathing to push forward. But the descent was all about not slipping and sliding down the slopes. You either had to put so much pressure on your feet to grip onto the rocks or you had to have the agility of a mountain goat to hop, skip and jump all the way down. Two trekkers aided me through the downward journey. Slowly and steadily we came down, the descent taking about two and a half hours. I was so badly waiting to hit level ground after being on the rocky terrain for about 5 hours. Once I hit flat land, I could have kissed it, but of course I didn’t have the energy to do that. My legs were wobbling a bit due to the tremendous pressure they had been put through. I trudged my way to the bus and once I sat on that seat, I thought to myself— mission accomplished, well done. All I wanted now was some good food and lots of water, which we got at the breakfast point we headed to. This was one of the most well deserved meals I’d had!
Once I got home, I slept for five hours straight and then got one of the most rejuvenating massages of my life. Kudos to Naturals and Green Trends for helping me tremendously on my healing journey. Today, I sit and write this with sore thighs, more stamina and a mind that is stronger.
‘The greatest barriers that you have to overcome are the ones you create yourself’
Such adventures help you break these barriers. To more such adventures! Cheers!