11th Jan 2014 saw a bunch of us trek to the Kalawanti Durg near Panvel, and what a group it was, 3 kids and 7 adults, nah make that 10 kids, the youngest kid was 6 and the oldest kid had just turned 41 🙂
All of us were excited, ready to start trekking and scale up the mountain to see the wonders that our nature had created. We started our walk around 10am and soon it started sinking in, this looks to be a long one, it is getting hot, do we have enough water. Though, the nature was so overwhelming that we soon forgot our worries. The little kids were full of energy and excitement, the youngest kid being a veteran already(this was his 7th trek), looked very much in control. The other two kids, their first trek, were just energy balls running, jumping, screaming, asking questions. It was fun to watch them.
After an hour’s walk, we reached a plateau, and what do we see, a restaurant serving local cuisine, a quick rest here, we ordered our lunch and soon were on our way up. We met a bunch of college kid’s that had hired professional trekkers with them, they were a blessing in disguise, I had lost my binoculars (actually my wife’s), and I was getting worried (scared to be honest), we went looking for them, yet did’nt find them. Co-incidenatly my cousin was part of the group, I told her I lost my bino’s and miraculously one of her group mates found the binocular that I had lost on the way and promptly returned them to me after about an hour or so, I just blurted out “You are the man, you just saved my marriage”.
The route after the restaurant was treacherous, we were already getting exhausted and soon few of us were saying either aloud or thinking “How much more?”, “I cannot do this anymore”, “I will wait, you guys go ahead”, though herein lies the force and power of a well bonded group, we kept egging each other, joking, laughing, falling, laughing again and surprisingly we reached the V point the narrow valley between Kalawanti Durg and Prabalgad. Here at this point, we were so exhausted, we ate as if we had been starved for days. I thought this was the end of the trek, but no, someone showed some steps going upward and they looked scary. Steps on an almost 90 degree rock, my knee had started to hurt and I was going to give up and rest.
Then the group spoke again collectively, if we have come till here, we got to go up, else it will remain incomplete, my son went up a few metres and got scared, he too gave up, though I saw in his eyes that he wanted to go up. The other kids were scaling up swiftly. The father in me said “let’s go”.
We left behind one friend, who had hurt her ankle and started upwards. The trek leader of the other group, said its very easy, and it sure wasn’t, I was scared to bits on some points, yet couldn’t show my fear as my son was looking up to me to be the hero, here in lies a big lesson. We kept waving at the friend below and soon looking down was a nerve wrecking experience. The group leader guided us and soon we we’re united to the rest of our group. A collective sigh of relief was evident on our faces and question writ large “we came up, good, how in the world are u going down?” It is going to be nuts.
Thoughts of was it a good idea to get kids along up to this point crept in my head and then I looked at the kids, they were calm and enjoying the beauty. Soon we too started soaking in the nature, the expanse, and few of us said “we are so small, the nature is big”, “we learn our place on earth, when we have such experiences”, “wow its beautiful” and similar such thoughts.
Well no, this wasn’t the end too, we had to scale up a 15-20feet rock to reach the peak. This tested our nerves, a friend’s wife was the first to scale and soon we were all up. The small kiddo tried to go up, though he felt nervous, so the father said let him go down. My son and the other kid had already gone up. The moment I reached on top, I looked for my son, the look on his face was priceless, I was proud of him, myself and the rest of us. It was no mean feat, we were now 2300 feet above sea level, “wow”, “amazing”, “superb” such adjectives looked inadequate, we all thought, oh we should have got the friend who stopped at the V point, we all missed the people who couldn’t make it to the trek. The feeling was exhilarating. This was probably a 40×60 feet flat rock with some rock’s lying here and there, the two kids were playing here as if it was playground. I was losing my nerve, didn’t bother the kids at all. Then came a moment of silence, a moment of being one with the universe, the moment when you realize, what are you doing life, is it worth it? No answers just questions, the only answer –“There is beauty and adventure around us, we just have to explore”.
On the way down the thoughts of what did we learn crossed my mind, the two things that stood out were
1) The leader of the trek group was a leader in action, brave, confident and composed. He was taking care of all, even us, who had just met him, he lived his role, going up and down the route to make sure all are safe. We couldn’t thank him enough, had we not met him, we probably wouldn’t have scaled the peak.
2) The second thing that stuck out was the feeling of moving ahead even when we couldn’t see a path, going beyond fear, beyond doubt. Doesn’t this happen in daily life too. We were in a way living the mountain dew advertisement.
Now we were a bunch of new people after this experience, proud, happy, tired, exhausted yet with a sense of excitement of doing something we never imagined, testing our limits.
A quick lunch on the way back and we were on our way, the voices spoke a new tone, there was joy when we looked up and said aloud, “Wow did we really go up there” 🙂 yes we sure did.
Personally I got a sense of grounding even while I was at the top of the world, a sense that had no language, it was just ethereal.
Oh and I almost forgot, we had two dogs that were with us all throughout, some sort of guardian angels were they?
“Ain’t No Mountain higher…….” kept ringing in my ears.
Finally, the peak that we all scaled was inside of us, it just manifested in the form of “Kalawanti Durg”