Trekking, to me, means staying closest to the nature - where there are less humans and noise. It is the best break I can take from the hustle and bustle of city life. Trekking gives me an unmatched exertion: much needed and pleasant, and the experience becomes exhilarating when the summit is reached.
Monsoon is the season when I like to trek the most. Paths through the jungle are moist. I always trek barefoot, so it feels great to walk over wet soil and foliage. The leaves are young and their colours, more soothing to the eye. Every patch smells better. The animal life is at its peak and one gets to spot more cute creatures. The sounds they make together are pleasing. In general, the environment is livelier.
When it comes to trekking, unlike other travels, I do not prefer going solo. I like trekking in the company of people who understand and respect the nature. My trekking group is a small one and consists of my sister and two to three of her friends. We all have almost the same feelings when it comes to what we want the trek to be like and the take away.
We are all environmentally conscious people, and to that extent, like minded. Trekking in the company of people also helps motivate us when we feel exhausted. And it is always safe to be in a group when the trek is a difficult one.
During treks, I come across groups who play loud music on Bluetooth speakers. They destroy the feel of nature, and I despise such people. Then, there are others who throw away plastic wrappers and bottles and dirty the pristine place. But we also get to spot good people, who come with their small children and teach them how beautiful nature is and why they should respect her. There is a special inspiration and happiness that I derive when I see aged people trek, when they slowly overcome the limitation age has put on them.
It is not adventure that I seek from treks. I love the whole experience of exerting my body and being amidst nature. I usually go on day treks which begin in the morning and end by evening. But overnight treks are also exciting. I have been on treks where we collected firewood from the base village, carried that along with ingredients and the vessels to make food, cooked and spent the night in a cave just below the summit.
Early next morning, when we woke up, we found ourselves in the company of naughty monkeys who had come to eat the food that we had made and the biscuits that we had. A few of them had not waited for us to wake up and had already tore the bags and picked up stuff.
The most exciting and adventurous trek that I have ever been to was the one to the Kohoj Fort in Maharashtra. We were five and none of us had gone there before. The place is not one that is taken by trekkers usually and hence the path upwards was not clear, but we decided to go ahead. After walking for around half an hour through paddy fields and crossing a small bridge over a stream, we reached the base of the mountain.
It was drizzling and we enjoyed playing under a natural water fall. The water was fresh and cool. We came across plenty of leaches and a few scorpions. We were also looking out for snakes, which we luckily did not find. There was no path at all, just dense growth of plants and trees all over. We kept walking.
At every point where we felt confused, one of us would randomly direct to one side and the others would follow. Finally, after about three hours of climb, we could see the fort at a distance. To see the summit from close is a great experience which can be understood only by the people who have actually trekked. Seeing the fort also meant that we could now get some direction rather than going around the mountain randomly. But to our disappointment, we had reached the back side of the fort and the rock was so huge and plain that it was simply impossible to climb up. We spent some time sitting there looking at the fort which we had no fortune to enter.
In no time it began to rain heavily and we started descending the mountain. All of us had good falls and by the time we reached the base, so much water had poured down from the mountain that the bridge we had to cross over the river had completely submerged and could not be seen. The villagers had tied a strong rope through the narrowest part of the river that was least submerged. The flow was intense and the situation was risky. We had no other option but to take that risk. We were all scared.
Two of us slipped and fell into the water but somehow, by the grace of nature, we managed to catch hold of them. If not, we wouldn’t be having them with us today. Water was flowing with such force that one would have been helpless. Luckily, all of us managed to get back safely. This remains the most adventurous trek all of us have ever had. But we plan to go there again, hoping that the next time we will be able to enter the fort!