They say it’s hard to forget your firsts. Your first Cycle. Your first school. Your first friend in the new city. Your first job. Your first paycheck. And the list goes on. That’s the reason I will never forget my first trek, ever. My first trek. In the moonlight.
I had always been enchanted by the mountains, hills. I always wondered about climbing one such mountain or even a hill for that matter. Whether it was while I drew rural scenery in my drawing classes or while I traveled through the Western Ghats in train. I wished to climb at least one hill but I got a chance to climb 14! There were total of 18 hills to be climbed during my night trek when I would be walking in moonlight. But thankfully we were supposed to do just 14. I was so glad about that towards the end of it.
It all started when I came across Mapping Journeys through Social Media. Browsing through their upcoming event schedule I saw the one: K2S, Katraj to Sinhghad. I still do not know what prompted me to go for it, but I did it anyway. Because this was supposed to be my first trek and it was of 17 kms with 18 hills. And a night trek. Somehow, I did eventually end up at Swargate depot on the eve of the trek, i.e., 2nd May, 2015.
It started with…
Reaching Katraj ghat via public transport where we were introduced to other fellow-trekkers. Although by that time we had acquainted ourselves with few around. The group was very varied with youngest member being 11-year and oldest had come to trek after a hiatus of 25 years. After the introduction and general instruction about the trek including the one about losing the group and how should we then reach our destination as there would be no network once we started our journey. Our trek started.
But even before I could complete one hill I was involuntarily made to realize that there is wee chance that I might not be able to complete the trek. The sudden elevation and unusual terrain got to my nerves in the first half an hour of the trek itself. But with the help from the friends that I had made; taking breaks in between and missing my footing several times, I finally managed to reach the plain where we were supposed to have dinner. And then the view from there sank in and I went: Whoa! Viewing the city you live in and watching it from the top of a hill in the moonlight with a bunch of people who were strangers few hours ago is something that is inexplicable.
After dinner and few minutes of resting, our journey continued with many such similar events including reminiscing the childhood slides. The difference being the slide here was a little bumpy.
After huffing and puffing my way through the hills for almost 10 hours or probably more I was able to finish the trek with the help of Veeral, Rutum, Vispy and Sneha. But more than completing the trek it tested my endurance, my stamina and more so my patience. It showed me a different part of the city which has been my home for 2 years and still is in some way or other. It made me appreciate nature a little more because of the closeness I felt while I pushed myself against gravity or when I was struggling not to be pulled along with the gravity. Or that twinkling of city-lights can be so endearing from the top of the hill. Or the subtle change in the ink blue sky to the morning dawn and the gradual rising change in the sky with the rising sun over the horizon.
To see one of your drawing coming to life is one experience that you would never forget. As for me when it got clubbed with my first trek it is going to be one memory of trudging through the hills in the dark of the night and the early morning hours that I am never going to forget. The sunrise of 3rd May, 2015 is one I will always treasure not because it was simply picturesque but that it also marked the almost end of the trek. Back-breaking, but it was one hell of a night. Thank you Mapping Journeys!