Tag Archives: adventure

2015! Trek 3 and last!

Tavli.

A place I didn’t know about. A place I’d never trekked before. I place I’d never heard of before. Till papa told me about it. Aaaaaand, I choose to trek that!

One of my mountaineering course friends was going to France for two years (academic commitments, and all that) and this trek was my goodbye gift to him. The monsoon was receding. It scarcely ever rained. But the nature was blooming with love and swinging with joy. And in it, so was my heart. We all met up at Thane station at around 6am, and took the train to Kalyan. At Kalyan we met the two stunning show offs I’d mentioned in my last post. From the station, we took a long bus ride to a village called Kushivli. From there on, we just asked the route from a villager. The night before, papa had given me a vague idea using geographical landmarks. ‘There will be three crossroads, always take left’, ‘if there is an option or diversion, keep taking left’, ‘there will be a thumb-like rock on your left, you’ve to traverse it’, ‘the rock is called Ganesh, traverse it till it comes to your right and you then leave it behind’, ‘you have to walk through a V-col’, etc. His advice might not seem very helpful, but you know what? It was. Through out the route we were like, oh okay we did this part, this is next. And it led us straight to where we were supposed to go.

And it was so beautiful. We crossed a few rock patches and some small waterfalls. My friend’s water bottle went over the waterfall at one point and then had to be retrieved. Some two and a half hours later, we were at a small clearing almost at the top of the mountain. A little shrine and a sadhu sat there. We unloaded our bags and took a little rest. The very nice sadhu gave us some black tea, and then told us that the actual view was a half an hour walk more. We took it upon ourselves to do just that. And it was so worth it. The view, the walk, and the cold cut cucumber. Friends, nature, and peace.

2015! Trek 2

The second monsoon trek I did was to Matheran. Most people know the car route that leads to the hill station. I’d been there that way before. But this time, we trekked up the back of the hill station to a top called One Tree Hill and then to the station. And this time, unlike all the other times I’ve trekked, I trekked with a humongous group. Some 55 odd people. Between papa and me, we carried nothing more than two bottles of water, some chocolates, two caps and a tiny little rucksack. And the shoes on our feet.

It rained hell. And then it sun-ed hell. And we kept fluctuating between wet and dry and then wet again. The age group was varied, ranging from 8 to 55. Needless to say, the trek was easy. A little lengthy, but easy. The road was slippery, some waterfalls tried to challenge us but the view made everything worth it. Green, light green, dark green, leafy green, new leaf green, watermelon green, cabbage green, every green! Everywhere.

Needless to say, I made a few friends. Two boys who kept showing off all the places they’d trekked. And in one single ‘I’ve completed my one month long Basic Mountaineering Course with an A grade in the Himalayas’ I shut them up. Now I’m boasting.

Anyway this trek was beauty. I met so many people I had never met before, and met so many people from different walks of life. And we all walked this particular path together.

It took us two and a half hours of walking to get to one tree hill (not the TV series), and we never realized that we had walked that long. The mausam was just that suhaana.

We reached Matheran, ate each other’s dabbas and took a cab to the station to catch our train back to Thane.

Ye mausam ka jaadu hai mitwa!

2015! New Trek and Bike Ride

One of the first treks of the year was to Karnala. It’s a small fort in the middle of a Bird Sanctuary, and is known to be most scenic during the monsoon!

Oh, and it indeed was.

As soon as the rains hit Thane, we decided to go trekking. AND include a bike ride in it. So it was three bikes – my boyfriend and me, my boyfriend’s friend and his girlfriend, and one of my guy friends and another of my girl friends. Respectively.

We left about 6 in the morning when the first thing we did was fuel up. The next thing was to make sure we had everything we’d probably need on the trip. Lastly, was to actually leave. The total road trip was about 3 hours one way, and on our second hour on the road we were hit with rains. It rained so heavily that we couldn’t see, couldn’t go beyond 50kmph and were soaked. In the last third hour, the sun hit us so strongly that we were dry and about within 15 mins. I guess the 10 min break for breakfast helped. That too was chai, bhaji, and misal pav. Perfect!

By the time we reached the bird sanctuary gate, we were dry, and ready to climb up the fort! Which we did. Hardly took about two and a half hours, including photographs and everything. Once we were up, we had a running race, some falling on rocks, some climbing up rocks, some holding the railing and crawling up because the height was scary to some. But most importantly, we made it to the top of the fort and had a great view as a reward for our efforts!

Aaaand, then the rain hit us. Again. Luckily we managed to find a cave, and that’s where we settled. Like cavemen hiding from nature’s wrath. And what do tired and soaked cavemen do? Eat. We eat. For lunch, we had banana chips, chakli and some soy sticks. And raw mango juice special in India (called Pannah).

When the rain finally stopped we realize the trouble we were in. The rocks were wet, and there were little waterfalls running down them. Like it was easy climbing down without all that water. But we managed, sliding down rocks like we were in a park. And when the rock part was over, the mud trail started. And that was just some gooey mush now. Every step was like a risk- a risk that the foot you were keeping down would slide so much that you would be doing a full split without meaning too, and that’s how your body would get split in two and you’d die.

Sorry, that escalated quickly.

So basically, we reached the base having a lot of fun. By the time we were done, we were a bunch of pigs who just had a mud bath. Once we cleaned ourselves (by standing under a tap) we were wet once again. Luckily, we knew this would happen and had carried spare clothes. We changed, ate at a restaurant, and rode back. Needless to say, we were too tired to say much when we got back and just went home and hit the sack.

2015! Learn One New Skill : Mountaineering

I’m sure mountaineering counts as a skill. Well, it is a mix of multiple skills that makes it one humongous sport.

I did my Basic Mountaineering Course this year in the summers, and I definitely learned some skills.

How to tie knots. How to rappel in different ways. Rock climbing holds. How to pack a mountaineering rucksack evenly. How to wear a harness.

How to walk without looking up. How to lead people through a route. How to not cry though your body is aching and is telling you to give up. How to march on even though you have period cramps, a heavy rucksack, and no oxygen. How to sing your way through pain even though you have no oxygen. How to sleep in a sleeping bag. How to save water and food. How to understand who will be willing to help you even though there’s nothing they would get out of it.

How to help people without expecting anything in return.

How to live every moment.

How to make friendships and experiences and memories.

How to live.

2015! New Place 3: North Sikkim

As a part of the mountaineering training that I underwent in Darjeeling, we were shifted to North of Sikkim to train in the Sikkim Himalayas. We took buses from Darjeeling to a place in North Sikkim called Yuksam (this is where we would trek up to base camp from). As weird as it was, all the height that we had landed on when we came to Darjeeling was lost to Sikkim as we descended to almost sea level. Which was ridiculous, and irritating, and hot. So hot. We were very comfortable in the Darjeeling cool, breezy weather that was stolen from us in the Sikkim heat. We literally rolled up our pants and sleeves as we got down in Jorethang for our lunch. We went to this restaurant called Big Belly and ordered a mismatched lunch of parathas, momos and thukpa. When we were returning, we went to the same place again. From Jorethang, we stayed at a little village called Yuksam, where our buses abandoned us with only our feet as the only means of transportation. For five days we trekked up to the base camp. For seven days we trained at the glacier. Two days to come back to Yuksam. And in all that time, we were in North Sikkim, experiencing different parts of it and almost at the border of Nepal. Often we had the guts to look up from our trekking path and watch the surroundings, and we couldn’t stop being astounded every time. The scenery was pristine, the mountains majestic and the snow impeccable!

North Sikkim? Definitely something you should visit…

2015! New Place 2 for 2015: Darjeeling

I basically had nothing to all of my 3 month long summer vacations, and my parents were worried I would be freezing my ass. In front of my laptop. In my AC room. Watching Dr Who. So I applied for the Basic Mountaineering Course of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. By a huge turn of luck or an enormous hand of fluke, my application got accepted. I got my acceptance letter on the 1st of April, for a course that began on 7th of April. And I had to report on the 6th of April. Well, there wasn’t much to think about was there? I booked a flight the very same day, shopped on 2nd and 3rd, celebrated my 18th birthday on the 4th, packed on the 5th and flew on the 6th. The flight went through Kolkata, on to Bagdogra; after which I took a taxi to Darjeeling (which is where my institute was… HMI, Darjeeling, see?).

I won’t bore you with the details of the month long training program I underwent. I won’t bore you with the details of how I froze my ass at the base camp, how I froze my ass sliding in snow, how I froze my ass crashing through ice glaciers, how I froze my ass peeing in minus degree temperature. But I pretty much saw all of Darjeeling. I walked through Darjeeling for two outing days that the institute allowed us, and two days after graduating from the institute. It’s a small place, Darjeeling. It takes a day to see it, another day to learn it by heart. In four days, we knew every street, every shop, every foreigner face that roamed the street. We knew the high end shops, the cheap shops. We knew where food was, where clothes were and where beds were. And we knew where booze was. We knew the prices of every piece of cloth, the cost of every food item, where we could bargain, and how much we could bring down the prices too. Which hotel cooked good food, and how much time they took to make every order. We helped everyone buy stuff for their family, whether it was a lady, or child, or man, or some long lost cousin. And one thing that we didn’t buy was tea. We just went shop to shop and tried them all. And we didn’t buy any of the famous Darjeeling tea before we flew back to Mumbai.

2015! New Place 1 for 2015: MATHERAN

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People usually visit Matheran on long weekends during the monsoon or winters. And I didn’t quite do any of that, as usual. I went in hot summers, just for a day. As it often happens in trips like these, everything went wrong. First, everyone was tremendously late. Which is quite alright if you are tuned to the Indian Standard Time. Second, we boarded the wrong train! Reason for this foolishness- the person who was supposed to know which train we should be boarding told us to climb the wrong train. Apparently, he was in the illusion that the wrong train was the right train, and so we had to wait for over an hour at some random station, return to where we began, and take a new train. We wasted over 4 hours in this nonsense. Then we took a car up to Matheran, walked through a deserted hill station that was out of business in this heat, and sat somewhere to eat Biryani. Biryani which had long overshot our budget, and wasn’t digested by our tummies due to that very reason. Then we walked around some more, singing the song Pompeii by Bastille (I had the very feeling that they portray in the song), then just took random pictures in the camera to immortalize the amazing journey we had survived together. Then we decided to take the toy train back to civilization. Except the toy train that we thought would take an hour to reach down took around 3 hours. The time we reached Neral station was the time we were supposed to reach home, and the girls started panicking. Most of us had lied at home about where we were going. We were supposed to reach home by 7, and there we were at the toy train station. We rushed to the non-toy train station and caught the earliest train possible. We jumped into the train, and made all kinds of plans to con our parents, in case any of them asked where we had been. Plans, plan Bs, back up plans, all ready, we left for home. And our parents didn’t even care.

The conversations of this trip stayed in our whatsapp group, the photos shared and then saved somewhere in the corner of the phone’s gallery. And then we just stopped the mention of this trip, a bad memory.

At least the next time I go there, I will know the mistakes that I don’t have to repeat.

To Do 1: Part 2- Postponement

Yeah, I know. We all hate it when things get postponing of something happens. Especially if it’s something that you you’re crazy about and something you’ve been looking forward to. But I guess it’s better than getting canceled completely eh? Anyway, with this optimistic outlook I must tell you that the reason it has been postponed is Admissions. I go home in the last week of May and admissions for Universities and colleges start a few days later. And I don’t have enough days in between. So I have to act like the adult I am soon supposed to become and prioritize. So, I am going to be good and admit that admissions are more important. And mid June I have a trip to make with my friend. So The Himalayan Trek gets postponed to the end of that month. 😥