My first ever hiking experience, was when during my 9th std holidays. We were to do hiking in the pristine Himachal. As kids, going on a 2 week trip was a very big deal. That was the first time I was travelling away from my family for such a long time. We trekked in the jungles and montains of himachal. We reached the tip of the snow point. It was the first time, I saw snow, the first time I touched it, the first time I felt how snow could numb you. The 1 week hiking taught me many things. Ofcourse as a school kid, I did not realize much. But as I think about it even now, I know, it’s been a great learning experience.
Well, after that for a few more years, I don’t think I did much of hiking. I started working and then, with G and his hiking friends, went hiking to KumaraParvata. This is one of the most difficult hikes I have ever done. Although we climbed from the Somwarpet side and got down from the Kukke side, climbing was a very big challenge for me. The peak is one of the most difficult ones in Karnataka. There was even a rock which was around 45 degrees, which we climbed, without any support to hold down. If not for G’s encouragement, I would have never completed the hike. Once we reached the peak I was ok. I don’t have much problems, getting down the hill, somehow I manage to get down, without much exhaustion. It’s mainly the going up part which is difficult for me. We had stayed overnight at a mantap there. The next morning, was one the most beautiful mornings of my life. All the exhaustion and pain which we endured the previous day was gone. Till date, I haven’t gone again to hike here, since I don’t know if I can do it once again.
We have been to quite a lot of smaller ones. Everytime, my worry is until we reach the peak, the moment I look up, my brain goes into denial mode. The moment I realize, its time to go down, my brain eases up, and I feel like a free bird.
2 years back, we went to Tadiandamol, the second highest peak in Karnataka. It was an amazing experience. We hiked in rain all the time. This hike had everything, plain land for a while (a nice breezy walk), a slight incline in the beginning, a thick forest in the middle, where the roots of the trees formed the steps, and then the final steep incline, where if you slip you go down few feet, with no support. The best part was the peak. It was so cold and windy that day, I realized what pins and needles actually meant. I could feel every little hair in my body being pulled from me. Infact it was so cold, I was already thinking of options on how G and my brothers were going to carry me all the way down, coz I felt like dying out of cold. The steep incline was the most difficult to get down, since it was all slush due to rain. Once we crossed that, I felt much better. All this was happening with rain as a background. It no longer felt wet anymore, we were drenched upto our bones, or so I would like to believe. Ofcourse the next day I had fever, and unbearable body pain. Was it worth it? Totally yes.
What do you bring back as souvenirs? Well, there might be scratches. There might be leech bites. There can also be scars. But what’s most important you bring back great memories. Every time I go on a hike, I have inhibitions, I have a feeling, I will not be able to complete it. There are times, when I curse myself for doing this to myself. But it also teaches you, patience, endurance, pushing your limits. Once you are back, you are in pain, you can probably feel every body part of yours screaming at you for waking them up. But that’s the beauty isn’t it? You are made aware of what your body can take. Hiking in all possible ways is a Life Coach.