What was trekking for me and an apology – Part 2
This is the second part in the series.You can read the first part here.
As I mentioned in the first part, trekking opened a new life style for me. Mainly, I liked the way I could push my body limits. I loved it when I went out of breath and was still forcing myself to climb up, I loved running through the boulders, I felt proud sliding and running when descending down. On the rocks I wanted to mimic the monkeys as close as possible. When I think about those days, the statistics of the trek was an important thing for me.
I even used to judge the quality of a trek by how much total ascent I have to do, and how difficult the terrain(steepness,no trial etc..) is. I felt good about myself after enduring such difficult treks. Restlessness was a common thing in those kind of treks. Sitting silently somewhere, enjoying the view and taking the time to appreciate the beauty of nature and life felt to be waste of timing.
Those times, in CTC(Chennai trekking club), only Peter used to organize such difficult treks. I went for each and every one of his treks, and his treks were said to separate the boys from men.
CTC was life changing for me, and I felt I should give something back. This was the major reason why I co-organized a trek with one of my friend Arun Sekhar. I didnt like the idea of taking people to regular trials, so the trek was through trial where none of us hadn’t been before. Since I had the GPS I was confident about finishing the trek successfully.
To make sure that we complete it successfully, we even kept a fitness test for the participants. It was a small jogging test for 3-4 km. Out of 14 appeared only one qualified the test. But at the end I felt sorry for the other people and took everyone. That was the first mistake I did.
On August 6th 2011, on my birthday, we started our trek. During the initial flat walk itself, few people were lagging behind. Telling them to push themselves, we continued. The team had 25 people, including many freshers. I realize that, it was a bad idea to take freshers into a moderate+ trek. I was 10 trek old, and I didn’t bother to understand the difficulties they faced from a freshers point of view. I thought, “why cant they simply walk faster?”.
At the end of that trek, all most every one was exhausted. Despite starting the trek at 6 in the morning, we had to walk till 9 in the evening to reach a camp site with water. At one point, one fresher girl even cried in frustration. They complained I pushed them too much. It was true though.
In some treks, I took up the role of a sweeper(some one who comes last and makes sure that everyone is together). It was a frustrating job. Pushing the people who are mentally and physically tired, is like a moving a huge boulder. You get tired yourself in the process. Still I continued doing it out of some form of responsibility. When they said, “they can’t keep up any more and need a break” , I didn’t understand what they meant. I thought its just a mental thing and all they have to do is push themselves.
In December, I completed a 9 day mission in one of the best places in the world. It was named DFS(Death for sure). I felt proud. But I started getting more tired in the treks after that. I am still unsure whether its a mental thing or physical thing. But I realized that I can’t run in treks like I did before. I felt sad. It felt like losing some thing very important.
At this stage, I started thinking about the people I have been pushing in all my treks. It may sound silly to you, but I felt bad about myself, for not understanding my fellow trekkers problem. Since my stamina was getting(or feeling) low, I was forced to take frequent breaks during treks. That is when I started noticing the beauty around. When you concentrate on only walking fast and statistics of a trek, you fail to notice little things around you. Suddenly I was looking at treks from a different view point. I laughed at myself, for this late realization.
I think that freshers shouldn’t do difficult treks all of a sudden. I am not underestimating you. You may be able to finish the trek. But its not all about finishing the trek, its about enjoying the trek too. I remember people reaching a camp site and sleep without evening taking Dinner, because they are dead tired. For me, camping is one of the best part in the trek, where we slow down things, and talk to each other and have fun. You cant miss it. I didn’t mean pushing yourself is bad, once in a while its exciting to do some tough missions. But when every trek becomes like that, it becomes boring.
I have to end this article with an apology to all the people I may have hurt in my treks. I am truly sorry for what I have knowingly or unknowingly did. I am thankful to you guys because I have learnt something important.
Next in the series(part 3) – Keeping up the name, Is it worth?