Saturday, November 4, 2017

Why do we trek?

In last 15 months, I completed 5 hikes in 5 different countries. I started off with Markha Valley in Leh, then Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia - tallest peak in South East Asia. Then I went to Mount Rinjani on Lombok island in Indonesia. In August, I intended to go to Mount Fuji but bad weather forced us to change the destination and we went to Mt. Shibutsu instead. Finally, in the month of October I went to Everest Base Camp from Nepal side. With this flurry of treks, I surprised my family, close friends and myself too.

Trekking was part of my life in 20s when I was in my graduate engineering course. Every semester would start and end with a trek in Sahyadri range on ancient forts. When I look back at my life in engineering course, I don't remember my subjects, my studies, my professors nor my grades for which I struggled so hard. I don't even remember what I learnt and how that is helping me in my life now. All those memories are hazy. What I remember very clearly are my treks. I can close my eyes and see the rocky mountains, green valleys. I can hear cuckooing birds and waterfalls jumping from the cliffs. I can smell the wild flowers and jungle grass. I still remember who said what and how we laughed till tears rolled on our cheeks. When I think about those days my heart is filled with serene happiness.

Life zipped past me. I was in my mid-forties before I could think of trekking again. That's when I accidentally stumbled upon an opportunity to do my first high altitude trek in Leh. I grabbed it with both hands and rest as they say history.

I jokingly tell my close friends that my mid-life crisis manifested itself in resurgence of trekking in my life. I had fond memories of this adventure sport in my early life, its helping me to cope with uncertainty in later half of my life. What I didn't know is it is not just filling the void. It is much more than that.

Trekking has opened me to a lot more life experiences than I could ever imagine. It has transformed some simple moments in golden life time memories. It has helped me to have deep connection with people across the world, whom I may never see again. But those moments will bind us together make us miss each other wherever we are.

In this blog series, I plan to share my memories, experiences. They enriched my life beyond my expectations, hope you will find them enjoyable.