I heave myself up another steep boulder, look up and sigh when I see where I need to go next - it's a narrow climb, between two large rock faces and it's full of brambles. The team leader hears my sigh, looks at me and asks, "Manjot, do you want me to take your bag before you go up this one?"
I want to say, "No Shankar, you misunderstand my grumpiness. This isn't my first trek you know. I have learnt to pack sensibly over the years and my bag is comfortable. I'm not even tired. But I'm annoyed beyond words at the number of thorny bushes you're making me walk through. My arms are bleeding, these bushes have gotten through my pants and I have a hundred wounds on my legs. Couldn't you have found a less painful track? But thanks for asking about the bag." But I've known him for less than a day. So I don't say any of that. All I say is, "No Shankar, I'm good."
But maybe that's not the right way to begin writing about what was one of the most memorable treks of my life. Rachakonda fort, about 50 km from Hyderabad is a moderately tough climb and I recommend it to everyone. I went there yesterday with a bunch of people brought together by the well organised if slightly pretentiously named Great Hyderabad Adventure Club(GHAC). It's a good club and I plan to continue being a part of it.
About the trek -
19 Feb 2011-
7.00 pm : Mehul and I reached Koti where the group was supposed to assemble. Met and made friends with some very interesting people. The team leader, Shankar Reddy, who I had been speaking to all these days, turned out to be a fresh faced 22 year old! Got a bit delayed in starting from here, left the place with 25 people in 3 cars and 9 bikes at 8.30 pm.
10.00 pm - 12 pm: Drive from LB Nagar to Rachakonda Fort. The latter hour of the drive was so beautiful, and we kept stopping to make sure everyone could catch up and to take pictures.
12 pm - 4 am: Climbing at night is awesome! The moon was so bright that torches proved unnecessary.
20 Feb 2011:
4 am to 6 am: Well earned sleep in my new sleeping bag. Mehul says he was up all the time sitting next to the campfire listening to the old hands talk about their Himalayan treks, but I distinctly remember waking up once, surrounded by so many kinds of snores, one which I noted was his.
6 am to 10 am: Some more climbing, this time among the bramble land. Thank god the hill we climbed in the night was not so generously bestowed with thorny plants. I don't want to count the number of scratches and bruises on me. I'd rather dwell on how wonderful the view was. Every five minutes of climbing and we'd be treated to a view that made all the pain worth it. And the people - nothing beats being among your own kind. I have six new friends on facebook today and I can't wait to go trekking with these guys again. One of the highlights of the trek will remain the making of friends with this exotic person called Amera Pasha. This is a a girl who got a degree in commerce followed by an MBA; then realised that an extensive knowledge of law would be useful and so decided to get a degree in law as well. Funny and tenacious, she turned out to be one hell of a trekking buddy.
10 am to 1 pm - Drive back home to ISB, where Shally and Navneet were waiting to take me out to lunch to Westin. What a return to civilization! What Sushi! I could write poetry about that Sushi...