I am not a very spiritual person but Treks are my temple, my pilgrimage even.
I am not a person who can devote her life to a god but I know there resides one just near the snow clad peaks.
I am not a person who is looking for the higher power but I believe that there is a higher power who summons me to climb.
I am not a trekker, but I am a soul and wandering is my passion and thus I wander , i n every lifetime .
Not many people know that I trek, just like no one knows that I am deeply spiritual but I am not talking about Idol worship here, I am talking about worshipping a passion that my soul shares. Yes – this all may seem like a philosophy lesson but I learnt this about myself after my first ever trek in the Himalayas.
My first trek in the Himalayas was in the April of 2004, never knowing that the Himalayas behaved according to their own mood and we set our sails a bit too early. It was only the 24th of April and we were leaving for the higher camps not knowing that rain and snowfall waited to give us a cold hug. The first day started with a bus journey and I thought to myself “Trek….this must be a picnic” Having trekked in the Sahyadris, I thought of myself as nothing less than Bachendri Pal and I was ready for the adventure of my lifetime.
The first day of the real trek began by crossing a mine like structure where it was written – “Bomb blasts take place daily between 10 am to 12.30 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm” and thanks to no digital cameras I could not capture this moment on a camera but I shall never forget this in moment deeply etched in my memory card. We laughed hard and continued to walk. After walking for an hour or 2 we had lunch and drank the cold water from the river/pond or pipe as we could only see a few pipes near the blast sites. By now all my enthusiasm had started to wear out and I started to feel as if I was dragging myself endlessly not understanding the fact that my backpack was too heavy and shoes too tight.
On the first day, my mind was filled with thoughts of quitting and suddenly the green lush dense trees began to feel like a dull drab and boring scenery. It was almost 4 pm and everyone started to ask where the campsite was, if you have been on a trek, you will know that people on the way will always tell you that it’s just 5 mins away. 5 minutes dragged to almost 50 and rain greeted us with its presence and we somehow managed to reach the most picturesque campsite that is sketched in my memory forever but completely drenched and shivering.
Over the next few days, thoughts of quitting engulfed my mind and I think there was a clear connection between these thoughts and the climatic conditions. As soon as I thought of quitting, it used to rain or become really cloudy or there was this one time when my bag suddenly got so heavy that I suddenly wanted to go back to the base camp. Somehow I maintained myself and my friends in the trek encouraged me to continue and thus I somehow managed to pull myself till Day 8 which was the second last day of the trek, it rained that day but my determined self was all gung ho about completing the trek. I pulled a plastic sheet over my head and set to have a power dinner for preparing my body for the last day of the debacle. At this instant I also decided to donate my extra luggage/clothes to the villagers and the thought itself made me feel very light.
Day 9 dawned and we left our campsite at the crack of dawn literally i.e. at 4 am and began walking the white carpet. We reached the top of the Chandrakhani pass at 8 am and this is when it dawned on me that this is what I was meant for, I was a trekker even before I was born in this world, I was a nomad, traveller, wanderer and the mountains were calling my soul. This was my pilgrimage and my mountain god was testing me at each and every phase of life. Finally I had met him, embraced him and got to know him even better.
While I bid adieu to the beautiful Himachal Pradesh before boarding my bus to Delhi, I left my shoes as a part of my soul behind, both as a good omen and help to the fellow villagers hoping to see them again and rediscover myself after completing my first trek.
Also looking to embark on a life changing journey? Look no further: The Perfect Hiking Locations to Rediscover Yourself.
Mitali Jakatdar, Guest Blogger at LivingIt
Mitali is a passionate trekker – an adventure freak, nature lover and an avid reader, Mitali believes that trekking is not just a journey but a mode of worship to her. Follow her trekking journey with us. Mitali also blogs about her life as a parent on www.supermommitali.com