What do you need to successfully complete a trek or to make it sound fancy, “to summit the mountain?” Well, here’s what I think:
Firstly – Courage
Yes! It starts with the courage to take the first step. You might have been an avid lover of trekking or a regular trekker at one point in time but you need to pluck up your courage to get back on the horse. Courage to join a trekking group when you aren’t as fit as you’d like to be and to go on a trek anyway.
Secondly – Faith
Faith, not only in yourself, that you will be able to complete the hike, but also on your trek leads and fellow trekkers. So, when they say “this is the last tough patch” or ” yeah, it’s just around the corner” or “only half an hour to go”. TRUST THEM. That’s the biggest push you will get to keep going. Yes, that’s the magic mantra, “Keep going.”
Thirdly – Partner
I am not fond of solo traveling or solo trekking, especially when if I’m going on one after ages. That’s why it is very important to have a motivated and optimistic partner with you. Chose a person who will push you when you are about to give up and make the whole journey enjoyable. Same sure you do the same for them. We are always stronger together.
These 3 little things are what led me to the top of Kudremukh, the second highest peak in Karnataka. We contacted Plan the Unplanned, a local travel startup based out of Bangalore which perfectly fits our idea of spending New Year’s Eve amidst the majestic mountains.
So, here is my personal story about the easy and difficult phases of the trek that brought me back to the mountains after almost 4 years.
It’s a 21 km hike, to and fro, which seemed difficult to me even before registering to the group but then my partner (husband) was mentally pumped up saying “We will do it. Don’t worry.” So, without giving much thought, I let the excitement overpower my skepticism.
PS: This re-enforces tip no.3 – Partner up with someone who will encourage you from day 1!
The first hour of the trek was awesome. You trek through the lush green jungle, pristine meadows and sometimes we crossed clear blue streams. The sound of water flowing through the streams, exotic birds chirping and the pleasant weather made the whole experience of walking easy.
There are so many interesting things that you come across deep in the woods. Apart from the peace that nature brings with, it’s the flora and fauna which amaze me. It’s so rare to see long and tough roots turned into stairs or long branches which can easily serve as a swing or the taste of the actual mineral water from natural springs. This natural world, away from hustle and bustle of the city keeps the curious child in me alive. I sometimes get scared when I think about how long will we as human beings be able to protect the environment. I just wish we don’t destroy the few jungles that remain and dig mountains in the name of commercialization. I just want to enjoy every bit of nature as long as it lasts. Surmount peaks, walk through the jungles, absorb the shade of the trees and sleep under stars. That’s the only genuine, as-is thing left to experience before humans make it a “payable experience” in some amusement park.
Then came the first actual climb and here, the trek leads folded their sleeves to prep all the trekkers. Up to now, our journey had felt more like a nice picnic more than a trek. At this point, we were told that the toughest patch begins and once we pass it, we would be back to a manageable trail till the peak. If only that were true!
We soon crossed this patch and saw the lone tree which is mentioned in many blogs. It is said to be a halfway point to the peak. I wondered how beautiful these hills will look in monsoon. The brownish-green color will turn into lush green meadows. This had its own charm but I am more of a monsoon person.
I soon realized that the more you think you are closer to peak, the farther it goes. The last one hour was only about climbing upwards. We could see people who seemed to resemble small ants crawling up a large ant hill. At first, I didn’t believe that I would be able to do it. But I did!
The last stretch is a walk for one km and then a little hike. When we 200m away from the peak, we were drained so we stopped for a while then called this spot “OUR PEAK” and decided not to climb up any further. But trek leads to the rescue! They told us the large stretch would be worth it and made sure that we reach the peak.
As it was the end of winter, the terrain was brownish-green and it was quite sunny at daytime. The trek in monsoon would be different as the clouds play hide and seek and there are surprises around the corner. Reaching the top instilled in me a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was good to have finally made it!
The return journey is where it gets really tough. I remember giving up at one point and the trek lead telling me,” It’s okay, you can give up now. Because I know you will somehow make it back to the homestay. ” and he was right. I didn’t have any option but to walk and reach the destination. The only advice I have here is – Just keep going!
It might sound as if I am just back from some Mt. Everest climb but trust me when you go back to trekking after a long gap and your confidence is really low, even the smallest milestone is a big victory.
My tip for beginners or re-beginners is to prep well before going to Kudremukh. Not because it’s very difficult but it certainly will test your endurance level. The risk factor is very less and trails are really easy and enjoyable. It’s a mix of walking through cool shadows, sunny meadows, and some steep slopes.
Though I realize that I would have enjoyed it more if I were fitter, the feeling of successfully completing a 21 km trek in nothing less than an achievement.
What better way to embark into 2018 than to Plan The Unplanned trek up a beautiful mountain. I know this feeling will keep me motivated till next year!
This blog was originally published on https://monodysseys.wordpress.com