Saturday, January 24, 2009

Straight from the horse's mouth

Having somehow successfully completed what is rated by many as a difficult trek in the Sahayadris - Harishchandragadh, I believe I have arrived there. Plus, Harishchandragadh being a night trek, i think i have now become a true trekking veteran. So here is a compilation of a few do's and dont's which every novice and a not-so-novice trekker should take care of before embarking on a trek.

1. First and foremost: Ask yourself the question: Is it really worthwhile going all the way up a rocky mountain? To help you answer this question, there is a whole set of sub-questions:
a. Have you slept really well over the last week or so? You will be losing on some precious sleep during the trek. If you have already answered NO to this question, please ditch your trekking plans and instead go to a beach. Trust me, any beach, however shady/dirty it might be, Rocks!
b. Do you think you don't really need those exotic Reebok sneakers that you recently purchased at a flat 40% discount? Okay, so you are actually bored of them.? Go to the next question.
c. If you cannot make it to college/office tomorrow, will there be a good samaritan who will fill in for you? If your answer to this question is a YES, be sure (s)he is going to screw you up very soon.
d. Do you have a life insurance? Better get one soon!
e. Is there someone in your trekking group who is outrageously insisting that you have to come along on the trek? If YES, even a scatterbrained can smell something fishy.

If you are still intent on reading this post, here's the remainder of the advisory.
2. When the group is really large, it inadvertently always breaks up into smaller groups.
a.Do a headcount for each of the groups. Stick to the one with the highest number. Aliens, by virtue of being super-human and hyper-intelligent, swoop down on the smaller groups. The same doesn't necessarily hold true for the animals.
b. While walking in a file (remember the tracks are too narrow for you to walk alongside your best friend), avoid leading the file and also avoid being at the end . Aliens and animals alike, have a penchant for the first and the last. Any normal Hollywood/Bollywood flick should tell you why.

3. Always dramatise and overdo. Pretend to be in pain and act as if you are suffering a lot because of the arduous climb. Someone is bound to have pity on you and offer to carry your rucksack. Immediately offload. People change their minds relatively quick during a trek.
4. You will come across numerous short cuts which apparently cut down the time of ascent. However, bear in mind that people have fallen off crevices and lost their lives while navigating such short cuts.
5. Walk as fast as the slowest member in the group. (S)he is just being street smart and saving on some energy. The more vibrant and active members of the group are known to suffer from heat strokes and dehydration at the end of it.
6. Without intending to sound a chauvinist, the female race seems to have the sensible-trek-genes in abundance. They scout for the safest, no-thrills no-frills route. So, if possible, have atleast one female in the group. What it additionally does is, it raises the overall compassion-quotient of the entire group. This translates into frequent pitstops, loads of food and water break, by-passing of the difficult stretches of the climb and in some rare cases, leaving the trek unfinished. Which is actually good for everyone!
7. During a night trek, carry the most powerful torch possible. Snakes and insects are creepier than you can imagine. Insects, unlike animals, always have nefarious motives. The best way to deal with them is to stomp on them or bludgeon them to death with your torch. So, if you happen to be an entophile, better not go on a night trek.
8. The view from top is absolutely breath taking and awe inspiring. But that feeling is momentary. Once the novelty wears off, you can comprehend how difficult the descent is going to be for someone whose limbs refuse to move and whose energy has been totally sapped. People have been known to suffer from the NDEs (Near Death Experience for the uninitiated) after reaching the peaks. And some went into eternal meditation mode . Do you think its worth the risk?

My advisory doesn't end here. However if I have still not managed to dissuade you from embarking on some trek, then nothing else in this world can. So. MAY THE FORCES BE WITH YOU. Do leave behind a comment if you manage to come back alive and in one piece.


18 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook
Theres a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder."
- Rendered Led Zep Style
Arunabh Sinha \m/ (your favorite tag :P)

~Ruchika

Anonymous said...

Hurrrrrrr... you think i will buy this and not go on trek!
Man, i shall pester you until you also include me in your trekking group.. when i happen to come to Pune that is :D
Btw, what is the snooty Ruchika trying to say? :P :P

-Vedant

Yashika Totlani said...

What an exaggerated post :p Can dissuade even the most enthusiastic ones from going on a trek :p
Funny as always. And a lotta fun to read (this comment comes to u from a jaipur-bound bus on nh8 btw). Great to see you writing even while the job is still on :)
P.S. YES, you just called! Long life!
P.P.S. Any beach is fun. Id totally vouch for that!
P.P.P.S. Congs on completing the 'most difficult trek ever' and 'coming out of it alive' :D :P

Aneesha Pillai said...

Overblown it is but downright funny!! Loved it :)

arunabh said...

@Ruchika
Words can definitely have double meanings. The smart ones can discern them. And of course, you are so snooty and hence so smart :P
Why Led Zep style though?
Btw, Vedant is terrible!
Keep visiting :)


@Vedant
Ditch man!You are too thick and asinine.
Keep visiting ;)

arunabh said...

@yashika
Really, did i do that good a job? :P
And its all about taking time out from your busy schedule. Some people are just too good at multitasking you know :D
Please take away that long life curse. What all beaches does Delhi/Jaipur have ? :O
Keep visiting :)

@aneesha
Thanks. But still, parts of it do hold true :D
Keep visiting :)

Metallica bhakt! said...

post the trek there are some others who end up saying that they are all fit coz there is no muscle ache!! hote hai koi McK studs! :P who relate complete fitness to completing a trek!! ;P.. hilarious post! oh btw its losing in the beginning! and more so, night treks are fun! they let u star gaze, just make any faces behind the back of people,do pranks and blame it on someone else (like if one has super dumb people in the group) it was true abt not being 1st or last :P.. I actually remember I was LOST on my way back in the morning from a trek coz my group forgot the way back in broad daylight!! treks are fun!and u forgot to add: female do add some more fun and at the same time danger quotient too coz they keep yapping so much that even if one is asked to keep quiet and walk on a Leopard/Tiger track, they yap so much that the tiger might walk past u without harming u but laughing at you in a teasing kinda manner.. LOL

Sudha Rangarajan said...

I do remember climbing up the singhad fort huffing and puffing. Two things u mentioned happened. The group did get broken into many small clusters and v stuck only with that cluster and behaved as if we dint know the others ;) :D
I did try to save time by negotiating with steep slopes only to end up being the last person to complete the trek!

U might laugh as much as u want, being the veteran climber u r! For me Singhad remains a truckload of painful falls and sprains :D

THE WANDERER said...

Your style of writing is so tongue-in-cheek humour!
Its damn funny! Totally enjoyable man, keep writing.

arunabh said...

@Yashshri
I would not like to comment on the Mck stud bit. Cos i am not too impressed with his performance and caliber. But let's keep that for some later discussion when the offender can also participate :P And thanks for pointing. I just keep screwing up the "losing" part again and again. Bad habits die hard :) Females do yapp a lot. Agreed. But, i never knew it actually drives the animals away. Thanks for that info :P
Keep visiting :)

@Sudha
So, my theory gets a validation here itself. I told you - short cuts never work in life. Least, in a trekker's life :)
And oh c'mmon , a Sinhagad is obviously going to be an easy climb for a Sinha - a trekking veteran or not :P
Keep visiting :)

@The Wanderer
Hey! Thanks a lot man :)
Keep visiting :)

Psychochan said...

Omigod!!!I don't think I can ever look at a mountain the same way now- your post has left me very wary.'Aliens, by virtue of being super-human and hyper-intelligent, swoop down on the smaller groups' This being said, I think i shall stick to the verrrrry biggggg groups in the cities. Safe, no?

But your advisory aside, when the call of the wild beckons, you shall go, and I shall go and we shall all go ;)

SaIk said...

you didn't talk about ensuring a good "warm-up" by making sure that you come all the way to the base sitting on an ST bus floor" and also going back that way :P

arunabh said...

@deepti
As far as my observation goes, aliens generally stick to lonely desolate areas. So, the cities are more or less. For more gyaan about alien behaviour, please to watch "Plan 9 from outerspace" :P
Yeah, trek we will!!
Keep visiting :)

@sai
That is more for the veterans i guess?
Btw, i missed out on the pranayam thingy. Damn it!
Keep visiting :)

mallika said...

A completely hilarious take on the trekking scenario...
Thanks for some advice though..next time I shall move somewhere in the middle of the line( last time I was leading and the guys were too happy about it ;)even admired it :P apologies for my not so modest nature)
However it does not dissuade me from going even though I have experienced the near to death feeling...
Hope you continue with it too.
Happy trekking!!!

arunabh said...

@mallika
Immodesty apart, thanks to me, now you know why the guys admired you as a leader :)
And please to forgive my immodesty. I am also known to suffer from bouts of immodesty now and then.
Importantly, since you have validated my NDE theory, i think people would not tag this post as overblown/hyped/exaggerated any longer. You deserve a Thank You :D
Shall keep trekking and preaching.
Keep visiting :)

Anonymous said...

Dhinchak!
Where do u get such ideas, da?

Ashutosh

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