On her first ever trek, Kamalika Ghosh surprised herself by completing the uphill walk well before time. She narrates her ‘beautiful experience’
With family and friends staying miles away and boredom hitting me hard around the holiday season, I decided to sign up alone for a group-trekking tour, because that was, honestly, one of the cheapest solo travelling options available from Bengaluru. Luckily, a colleague of mine, who is an avid trekker, decided to join me.
Without ever having walked on plain land for more than 5 km at a stretch, or being part of any sport activities, I challenged myself to complete the fairly difficult one-day trek of 18 km back and forth Kudremukh peak with nothing but courage in my heart; and boy, was it worth it! Kudremukh, meaning the ‘horse-face’, is the highest peak of the Kudremukh National Park in Chikmagalur, Karnataka, standing at 1892 m above sea level and sporting brilliant rolling hills covered in evergreen vegetation.
We were a group of 17, with 16 being first-timers. This gave me a small boost. After a brief interaction with fellow trekkers and some breakfast, we set off at 10 am with our guide taking the lead. Within the first 20 minutes, I realised that trekking was no child’s play. My rucksack filled with food, water, energy bars and other trekking essentials had started to weigh me down. However, what kept me upbeat and determined was the beautiful untouched nature surrounding us and the constant encouraging words of my colleague who had no plans of giving up on me. Very soon the two of us had walked much ahead of the rest of the group. The catch was that those, who are unable to reach the peak within 2 pm, have to return to base camp from their existing spot.
Having seen the mountains only from the city as faraway habitats, this was a completely different experience for me. We were walking the mountain on adventurous trails guarded by lush green trees — some of them bearing beautiful wild flowers and fruits. The close-up valley views were breathtaking too. We also walked right into dense forests with natural bridges over tiny cascades quenching our thirst at the right time. I had to let go of my inhibition of drinking water from the stream, only to be surprised by the tastiest water ever!
The best places in the world have no network, they say, rather I do. This left me with zero communication with the outside world. After covering more than half the distance and fighting down multiple thoughts of quitting, I was able to see the Kudremukh peak. The remaining path was only uphill and extremely stony. Most of the members had already given up as it was nearing 2 pm. With legs that I could barely feel and a heart that I could hardly contain in my chest, I marched non-stop for the last 200 meters and finished second after my colleague.
The 360 degree view of untamed nature coupled with the personal sense of achievement was all I needed to reboot my mind. Shortly after, we were joined by six more group members at the peak. After clicking selfies and panoramas to our heart’s content, with none of them doing justice to the actual spectacular view, we gorged on our packed lunch and headed back to base camp through the same path with a lot of body ache but a sense of satisfaction and beautiful memories. My first trekking experience will forever remain a cherished memory of success.