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Experiences from Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

Mr. Nilesh Deshpande, pens his heartfelt feelings as he treks from Lukla to the EBC.

 एवरेस्ट दर्शन

गेल्या सहा महिन्यांत मागे वाजणाऱ्या तानपुऱ्यासारखा जो विचार मनात सत्तत गुंजत होता, जे स्वप्न कित्येक दिवस जगत होतो त्याच्या पूर्णाहुतीची वेळ. खर तर खूप उत्साहात चालायला लागावं अशी माझीच माझ्याकडून माफक अपेक्षा होती. आणि अपेक्षेप्रमाणे सुरवातीचा जोर मारला देखील.

गणपती बाप्पा मोरया चा गजर निनादला. रोजच्या सरावाने शेर्पा मंडळी देखील आपला मोरया आमच्या गजरात मिसळून दीला. सर्व रस्ता बर्फानी झाकला गेला होता. थंडी तर भलतीच होती कि काय सांगू. खुंबू ग्लेशिअर ला समांतर चाल सुरु झाली. साधारण तासाभरात सुर्य किरण सारा आसमंत उजळू लागले आणि थोडी उब देऊ लागले. थोडके पुढे गेल्यावर उजवीकडे दोन शिखरांच्या मध्ये एव्हरेस्टचं दर्शन झालं. पासंगशी खात्री करून घेतली हेच एव्हरेस्ट. खालच्या दगडाची तमा न बाळगता गुढगे टेकले आणि त्या खडकाळ जमिनीवर डोकं टेकवलं. नजरेत येणाऱ्या टप्प्यात कुठलीहि मानवी अस्तित्वची चाहूल नव्हती. सारे सोबती एकतर पुढचे चढ उतार जवळ करत होते किंवा मागे विश्रांती साठी टेकले होते. निखळ एकांत. फक्त त्या निसर्गाच्या रौद्रभीषण अशा सृजनातला, सर्वात नगण्य किंवा क:पदार्थ मी आणि निसर्गाचा पृथ्वीवरचा सर्वात मोठा अविष्कार सगरमाथा. त्याला मानवंदना दिल्याशिवाय पुढ निघणे अशक्यच होत. अचानक इतक्या पहाटे धुकं दाटून आलं. पाऊस येणार असं वाटतानाच पाऊसाने घेरलं. आता पोन्चो काढणे आले. पण पाऊस माझ्या पुरताच होता. दोन्ही गाल ओले करण्या आधी पाऊस सन ग्लासेस मधून बाहेर पडत होता. बर्फाळ शिखरं नुसत्या डोळ्यांनी पाहू नयेत. या सूचनेची तमा न बाळगता काळा चष्मा काढला आणि डोळे भरून एव्हरेस्टला पहिले.

 आिण अजुन एक दगड तरला

आता चाल एका चिंचोळ्या वाटेने दोन्ही बाजवांच्या दऱ्यांमधून होती. उजवीकडे प्रचंड हे विशेषण लहान वाटावे अशी खुंबू ग्लेशिअर आणि वरती आकाशात घुसलेला तो स्वर्गमाथा. एकेक पाऊल जिंकत पुढे जात होतो. जिंकत हाच खरा शब्द. प्रत्येक पाऊल धाप लगावणार त्यांत चढ आणि उतार. आणि अचानक पाय थांबले. मला बसायचय. त्यांत काही नवीन नाही. थोडकं चालून झाले कि टेकायचं हे नियमानुसारचं. पण हे वेगळ आहे. पाय दुखत नाहीयेत. खांदे जडावले नाहीयेत. श्वास नियंत्रित आहे. तहान सुद्धा नाहीये. डोकं गरगरत किंवा दुखत नाहीये. पण आज मनाने बंड केलंय. मेंदू पायांना चालायचा आदेशच देत नाहीये. ट्रेकिंग पोल टाकून दिलाय, पाण्याची बाटली पण नकोय. जणू काही त्या सगरमाथ्याने सर्व प्राण सोकून घेतलेत. चाचरत चाचरत मी ट्रेक रूट वर पाय घातलाय आणि समोर त्या अतिभव्य पृथ्वीच्या अत्युच्च बिंदुला पाहून ठकची मी ठेला झालोय आता काय करु. माझ मन त्याने बोधून घेतलं आहे. नको काही. नको पुढे जाण, नको फोटो आणि नको ती स्वप्नपूर्ती. आपलं अस्तित्वच मुळात इतकं नगण्य आहे त्यात या स्वप्नांची काय किंमत?

इतक्यात कुणी पाठीवर हात ठेवलाय. "सर, थोडं खा आणि पाणी प्या, आपल्याला ईबीसी पत्थर गाठायचाय. मी कुणाला ती अचीवमेंट चुकवू देणार नाही." अजून मी पूर्ण भानावर नाही. दिनेश नकोरे पुरे आता खूप झालं. दिनेश ट्रेकिंग पोल हातात देवून उठवतोय. पाण्याची बाटली उघडून देतोय. काहीतरी खायचं हातात कोंबतोय आणि नेहमी सारखं खोट बोलतोय अगदी थोडं राहिलंय. ये दिन्या फेकू नकोस उगाच, खूप चालायचे आहे अजून, माहिती आहे मला. गेल्या दहा दिवसातली चिडचिड सगळे बंध तोडून दिनेशवर जातेय. एखाद्या डॉक्टरच्या शांतपणे तो ती "रुग्णाची" तणतण दिनेश सहन करतोय. सर, इतकं केलत आता अगदी थोडचं सहन करा स्वतःला पुश करा बेस कॅम्प हाकेच्या अंतरावर आहे.

हळू हळू जाणीवा जागेवर येताहेत. दिनेशच्या खांद्यावर हात ठेवलाय खर तर त्याला सॉरी म्हणायचय. दिनेश खांद्यावरचा हात थोपटत पुन्हा तेच म्हणतोय चला सर. पण पाऊल उचलत नाहीये. आपण कोण, आपली समाजात पत काय, आर्थिक स्थान काय, आपला हुद्धा काय, किती लोकांवर आपली सत्ता आणि अस असून हे हाल. एव्हरेस्ट शिखरमाथ्यावरचा प्रचंड वारा कसा सार काही एका क्षणांत उडवून देतो. तद्वत हे सारे मूल्याधिष्टित विचार निमिषांत उडून गेले. यातली एकही गोष्ट मला त्यावेळी स्वतःच्या पायावर उभे करू शकली नहि.

अप्पांची जन्मशताब्दी चा संकल्प, माझ्या ऑफिस मधल्या साऱ्यांनी दिलेल्या शुभेच्छा, अनेकानेक थोरामोठ्यांचे आशीर्वाद काही पाऊल पुढे घेवून गेली. अर्णव-अनन्याची बडबड काही पावलं सोपी करत होती. आईबाबांची मुक काळजी काही मीटर रस्ता जवळ आणत होती. विनयचा पूर्ण विश्वास होऊन जाईल रे काही धोंडे पार करवत होती. प्राची आणि आर्याचे फोटो काही अंतर तोडायचं कारण ठरले. फोनला रेंजचं मिळत नव्हती नाहीतर प्राचीचं बोलण नक्की पुढे घेवून गेलं असतं. पहिली हाफ मॅरेथॉनचा शेवटचा टप्पा प्राचीशी बोलतच काटला होता. पण आज तो उपाय पण नव्हता. सगळ्यात शेवटी पाऊलांना बळ दिलं ते गुरुदेवांच्या प्रार्थनेने आणि रामनामाने. श्री राम जय राम जय जय राम. आज पुन्हा एकदा रामनामाने एक दगड तरला.

 पुर्णाहुती

दिनेश या सगळ्याचं निमित्त. पहिल्या टीम बरोबर बेस कॅम्प करून तो आला होता. तरी गेल्या सात दिवसांत कुठेही निवांत तो बसला नव्हता. गेले चार दिवस तो विवान आणि विहानच्या विवंचनेत कधी त्यांची सॅक घेवून, तर कधी त्यांना घेवून चालत होता. सगळी मागची बाजू दिनेशने एकहाती सांभाळली होती. तो आज आम्हाला अस काही बेस कॅम्पला नेत होता जणू काही आम्ही एवेहरेस्ट बेस कॅम्पला आमच जाण हे आम्ही त्याच्यावर उपकारच करत होतो. आम्हा सगळ्यांचे समिट व्हावं याची सगळ्यांत जास्त तळमळ दिनेशला होती. त्यासाठी संपूर्ण ट्रेकरूट वर अनेक गोष्टी तो आमच्या कडून करून घेत होता. स्वतःचा थकवा, थंडी, विरळ हवामान, प्रसंगी जेवण याची तमा न बाळगता. दिन्या आमचं समिट तुझंच रे.

आणि पिवळे निळे तंबू दिसू लागले. अगदी स्पष्ट. कॅम्प मधली हालचाल पण दिसू लागली. प्रार्थना पताकांची (प्रेयर फ्लॅग) फडफड जाणवू लागली. चालत उजवीकडे वळलो पुमोरीला पाठी ठेवून एक चढ चढला आणि मी एव्हरेस्ट बेस कॅम्प मध्ये होतो.

आपण एव्हरेस्ट बेस कॅम्पला आहोत या वास्तवावर विश्वासच बसत नव्हता. समोर इबीसीचा पत्थर होता, EVEREST BASE CAMP २०१६ असं लिहिलेला. रंगबीरंगी पताका फडकत होत्या. अनुप, गोपाळ, महेशला कडकडून मिठी मारली. डोळ्यातल पाणी लपवण्याचा शिष्टाचार देखील तेंव्हा करावासा वाटला नहि. ईबीसी पत्थरला हात लावला. एखाद्या मूर्तीला अभिषेक घालताना त्यावर हात फिरवतात, तसा हात त्या दगडावर फिरवला. वेगळीच अनुभूती होती ती, तो दागडाचा देव होता. शिवछत्रपतींची देखील एक मूर्ती तिथे होती. त्या दैवताच्या पायाशी बसलो, विसावलो. सगळी गात्र निवली होती. डोक्यातला सारा कोलाहल शांत होत होता. प्राचीची खूप आठवण आली पण बोलावसच वाटत नव्हत. त्यातीथे मुक्तीचं मिळाली होती मला. इतक्या दिवसाचा अट्टहास पूर्ण झाला होत. अनेकांच्या शुभेच्छा, सर्व मित्रांची काळजी. आई बाबा अत्त्त्याचा आशीर्वाद. विनयचा विश्वास. प्राचीची आणि आर्याची संपूर्ण साथ. आणि गेल्या दहा दिवसाचे सगळ्या ट्रेकमित्रांबरोबर घालवलेले लक्षावधी क्षण आठवत होते. आकाशी बघून अप्पांना ( गो नी दांडेकरांना ) त्यांच्या जन्मशताब्दीच माझं अर्घ्य दिलं. आता उरले होते ते एकच दैवत माझे शिवस्वरूप गुरुदेव.

गुरुदेव काय म्हणू. तुमचा संकल्प तुम्हीच पूर्ण केलात. अजुन काय म्हणू. त्या एव्हरेस्ट बेस कॅम्प पत्थरला डोकं टेकून डोळे बंद केलं. सार काही शांत होत होतं.

अचानक डोळ्यातून पाणी आलं. डोळे उघडले त्यावेळी विमान मुंबईच्या विमानतळावर विसावत होत. एक समृद्ध करणारा अनुभव घेऊन अनेक जिवलग जोडून मी मझ्या विश्वांत उतरत होतो. सारा भवताल तोच होता पण त्यातला मी बहुतेक बदललो होतो इवलासा का होइना पण मी बदललो होतो एव्हरेस्ट बेस कॅम्पचा प्रत्यक्ष स्पर्श आणि सगरमात्याच्या नेत्र स्पर्शाने.

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Memories from Everest Base Camp

Everest base Camp

Everest Base Camp Memories

Mr. Arvind Chitale, at the age of 60, decides to go for Everest Base Camp Trek and here's what he has to share: 

Turned 60 this January (2018). Was thinking of doing something to kick off the newly acquired "senior citizen" status. Couple of months back had done a 1500 km cycling tour, Pune Kanyakumari with my cycling group. A year ago had done Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal Himalayas. So what could be next. Naturally, Everest Base Camp. Was bit apprehensive due to the altitude, you trek to (5300 mtrs). Annapurna was 4100 mtrs, and I was a year younger. But then, if I don't do it this year, I am not going to be any younger next year. That's it.

Started looking for EBC treks program. One being arranged by Giripremi of Pune, starting 20th April suited me. I didn't have to worry about getting time off work, as I am not in employment. That gave me three months to prepare myself for the trek.

My preparations included climbing Sinhgad atleast once a week, a few treks to nearby forts in Sahyadri, and walking the hills in and around Pune. My regular cycling continued. 30 kms a day, 4 days a week, with a few long distance weekend cycling rides.

 

On 20th april joined the group of 13 trekkers, from Pune and Mumbai, at Kathmandu for EBC. Three of us were senior citizens. That gave me good company. Rest were between 23 and 55.

 

Except for a couple of members, all of us completed the trek successfully. The weather was very cold, the descends and climb, moderate to difficult, with high altitude casting it's spell. EBC trek route offers good stay and food facilities. The Sherpa guides and trek leader from Giripremi were friendly and kept us encouraging.

 

Experienced walking through snowfall and chilling wind. Also had some sleepless nights at high altitudes.

Changing terrain offers different views, from dense forest trails to cold desert as you climb up.

Unpredictable weather throws challenges of cancelled or delayed flights (from Kathmandu to Lukla, where the trek begines)

Reached EBC on 29th april, i.e. 7 days from start, including 2 additional stays for acclaimatisation.

Return was relatively simple. Completed Workshop to Lukla in 3 days.

Return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu did not happen due to bad weather. Instead had to take a chopper upto Faplu, which is the nearest road head. The 270 km, 10 hour, Jeep journey through hills of nepal to Kathmandu was equally adventurous.

 

 

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Parent’s speak

High rope adventure in Himalaya

मुलांमधे होणारे सुखद बदल अनुभवत आहोत

      माझा मुलगा वेदात्मन गेले तीन वर्षांपासून गार्डियन-गिरिप्रेमीच्या आव्हान-निर्माण-उडान कार्यक्रमातील प्रत्येक ट्रेकमधे वेगवेगळे अनुभव गाठीशी घेत, नवनवीन कौशल्ये शिकत, गिरिप्रेमी कुटंबातील सदस्यांबरोबरच्या मैत्रीने समृद्ध होत, आनंदासाठी गिर्यारोहण करत मोठा होतो आहे. इथे येणापूर्वीचा वेदात्मन आणि आत्ता निर्माणच्या कंपूबरोबर HMI base camp चा ट्रेक करून आलेला वेदात्मन यातला विलक्षण बदल जाणवण्याजोगा आहे.

      तीन वर्षांपूर्वी तो त्याच्या वर्गमित्रांबरोबर गिरिप्रेमीच्या ’आव्हान’ मधे आला. खरंतर अगदी वर्षाचाही नव्हता तेव्हापासून तो आमच्याबरोबर डोंगरद-या फिरतो आहे. पण स्वभावाने तो जरासा बुजरा, पटकन कोणात न मिसळणारा, स्वतःत रमणारा असा आहे. अगदी जवळच्या मित्रांच्याही घरी वगैरे राहायला जायला त्याला फारसं आवडायचं नाही. त्यात त्याला लहानपणापासून थोडासा दम्याचा त्रासही होता. अशा सगळ्या कारणांमुळे त्याला बाहेरच्या कोणत्या ग्रूपबरोबर आम्ही कधी ट्रेकसाठी पाठवायचा विचार केला नाही. कधी तशी संधी आली तर तो तयारही नसायचा. ’आव्हान’मधे तो आला तेव्हाही तो इथे कितपत रमेल अशी थोडीशी शंका मनात होतीच, पण त्याचे नेहमीचे वर्गातले मित्र त्याच्याबरोबर आव्हानमधे होते ही त्याच्यासाठी जरा दिलासा देणारी बाब असावी. त्यामुळे कधी नव्हे ते तो घरच्या लोकांना सोडून ट्रेकला जायला तयार झाला. प्रत्येक ट्रेकनंतर घरी आल्यावर त्याचा फुललेला चेहरा, उत्साहाने दिवसभराच्या गमतीजमती सांगणं, तिथे कायकाय शिकलो त्याचे घरी प्रयोग, पुढच्या ट्रेकला जाण्याची वाट बघणं यातून त्याला हे आवडतंय याची पावती मिळत गेली. गिरिप्रेमी परिवाराच्या सहवासात तो अधिकाधिक मोकळा, स्वयंपूर्ण, धीट होत गेला.

      गिरिप्रेमी परिवारातली एक छान गोष्ट म्हणजे ट्रेकबरोबर येणा-या ताई-दादांबरोबर या सगळ्या मुलांचं असलेलं जिव्हाळ्याचं नातं. खरंतर गिर्यारोहण क्षेत्रातले अतिशय अनुभवी ताई-दादा या मुलांबरोबर प्रशिक्षक-मार्गदर्शक म्हणून असतात, पण ही मुलं अगदी बरोबरीच्या नात्यानं त्यांच्याबरोबर दंगामस्ती, चेष्टामस्करी करत असतात. मुक्कामी ट्रेकमधे, मुक्कामाच्या ठिकाणी पोचल्यावर सगळ्या दादांकडून त्यांच्या मोहिमांच्या गोष्टी आणि आठवणी ऐकणं ही या मुलांसाठी एक ’भारी’ गोष्ट असते. ट्रेकची मजा घेणं, आणि त्याचवेळी जबाबदारीनं वागणं, निसर्गाच्या संकेतांचा आदर करणं, पर्यावरण संवर्धनाचं भान, स्पर्धा न करता सर्वांना घेऊन पुढे जाणं अशा कितीतरी गोष्टी मुलं दादा-ताईंबरोबर राहून, त्यांच्या वागण्या-बोलण्यातून आत्मसात करत आहेत. काही ट्रेकना तर उषाताईही मुलांबरोबर होत्या. असे कसलेले मार्गदर्शक बरोबर असण्याचं महत्व फार मोठं आहे.

      बियास कुंडच्या वेळी डोळे पुसत पुसत निरोप देणारी मुलं नंतर फोनवर ’आई आम्ही शेवटच्या टप्प्यात मस्तपैकी बर्फ़ात खेळलो’ असं उत्तेजित स्वरात सांगतात; पिंडारीच्या ट्रेकला जाताना प्रयत्नपूर्वक चेहरा हसरा ठेवून- नंतर रेल्वेत रडून घेणारी मुलं ट्रेकहून परतल्यावर ’बाबा, आता आम्ही फ़ोर थाऊजंडर्स झालो’ असं एव्हरेस्ट जिंकल्याच्या थाटात सांगतात; हे सगळं अनुभवणं फार मजेचं आहे.

      HMI च्या Adventure Camp ला जाताना ही मुलं अधिक जबाबदार झाल्याचं जाणवलं. हिमालयन पर्वतारोहण संस्थेचा हा कार्यक्रम सोळा वर्ष पूर्ण केलेल्या मुलांसाठी असल्याने या मुलांसाठी तो चांगलाच आव्हानात्मक होता. ट्रेकच्या महिनाभर आधीपासून दादांनी करून घेतलेल्या तयारीमुळे, मुलं मात्र शारिरीकच नव्हे, तर मानसिकदृष्ट्याही हे आव्हान पेलण्यासाठी तयार झालेली होती. एक मोठाच टप्पा पार केल्याने आणि हिमालयन पर्वतारोहण संस्थेच्या पदाधिका-यांनीही कौतुक केल्याने मुलांचा आत्मविश्वास कमालीचा वाढला आहे आणि ती ’उडान’साठी सज्ज झालेली आहेत.

      आव्हान-निर्माण-उडान कार्यक्रमाला दरवर्षी वाढता प्रतिसाद मिळतो आहे आणि गार्डियन-गिरिप्रेमीचा चमू तितक्याच तयारीने आणि यशस्वीपणे त्याला सामोरा जातो आहे. विचारपूर्वक आखलेल्या कार्यक्रमातून फक्त गिर्यारोहणाचा खेळच नव्हे, तर गिरिप्रेमीची संस्कृतीही मुलांमधे रुजवतो आहे.

      आपलं मूल गिरीप्रेमी परिवाराचा एक भाग आहे ही आमच्यासाठी खूप आनंदाची आणि मोलाची गोष्ट आहे. गिरीप्रेमी परिवाराला यापुढील यशस्वी वाटचालीसाठी मनःपूर्वक शुभेच्छा!!

 

 

अश्विनी केळकर, पुणे

 

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Mt. Island Expedition Experiences

island batch 1: 2018 arrival to KTM 5ap418

My Trust with Imj Tse

Expedition to Mt. Island  (Nepal)

The day that I had been waiting for eagerly during the last 4 months had finally arrived. With a sense of trepidation laced with excitement I boarded the flight to Kathmandu from where we were to proceed on our expedition to Island Peak in Nepal Himalayas. I had decided to reach a day earlier to have time for any last minute purchases suggested by our Sherpa team. On examining my stuff, Wangda Sherpa gave me the nod and the rest of the day was spent visiting Pashupatinath for the much needed blessings and chit chatting with fellow trekkers.

Early morning on 7th April we reached the airport to take the flight to Lukla. After a long wait, as the weather was bad, the day ended with us trooping back to our hotel. Discussions followed as to what to do the next day if bad weather persisted. Guided by Keshavji (Giripremi’s Nepalese partner) we were inclined to take the chopper, if required. Accordingly, after waiting till noon, we finally decided to fly out by helicopter and reached Lukla by 3pm. After a quick lunch we kick started our 14 day journey well past 4 pm.

The initial route upto Dingboche was familiar as I had travelled on it during the trek to EBC. There were many high points en route - the acclimatisation trek to Everest Hotel from Namche Bazaar and the spectacular view from there, the first sighting of Mount Everest after leaving Namche, the monastery at Tengboche, the snow fall en route and the tranquility of the mountains all left me with a sense of awe.

From Dingboche we turned east for Island Peak. Chukung at 4,600 mts was where we hired all the equipment needed for the summit climb and proceeded to Base Camp ( 5000 mts). From here onwards we were to stay in tents. At Base Camp we practised jumarring as the final summit push would entail having to jumar for about 200mts. We also climbed up a small hill to catch a glimpse of Imja Tse - a lake which was totally frozen - what a sight.

Pre summit day - we reached High Camp (5,500 mts) by mid afternoon. It was too cold to stand around so we settled into our tents for the long wait till midnight since it was decided that we would start at 12.30 am for the final push. Layering up to counter the cold, mentally checking that everything needed had been packed, I tried to sleep but the excitement got the better of me. All that I succeeded in was lying down quietly and waiting for the wake up call.

We started as planned at 12.30 am - the initial climb was a sheer rock face. We climbed assisted by head torches which gave us a visibility of around 5 ft. Probably that was a boon as had we been able to see the rock face it would have been daunting.

After toiling for over 4 hrs we reached Crampon point where our equipment had preceded us. Here with temperatures around minus 15 degrees C we got into our ice boots, crampons, harness and decorated ourselves with the other equipment - ascender, descender, carabiners, jumar, helmet and ice axe.

Off we started in single file. I was wearing crampons for the first time so it took a bit of time to adjust. Initially there was a bit of snow on the rock face which made it very difficult. Thereafter, there was only snow, snow and more snow to deal with. The temperature felt like minus 20 but I can’t confirm the exact figure. We walked along a narrow ridge - all around us were mountains covered with snow - even the clouds were below us. Daybreak brought with it a different sheen, various hues which was breathtakingly beautiful.

By now my hands, although well gloved, were getting to be very cold and the sensation in the fingers was lessening. The grip was just not there and the ice axe kept falling from my hands. Thoughts regarding the consequences of frostnip / frost bite flitted through my mind and along with it an element of fear. It was decision time and about 250 -275 mts from the summit I took the hard decision to not continue and turned back after a wave to my fellow trekkers. After turning back my Sherpa asked me if I was happy. I vehemently nodded as talking in the cold was getting difficult. It was then that I realised the true meaning of the cliche that the journey is as important as the destination. My happiness stemmed from the enormous joy that the trek had given me. Being so close to nature, realising your potential, understanding your limitations and above all the peace and tranquility as you progress step by step in the journey is something to be experienced and cherished.

Many emotions ran through me - I had spent months practising, imagining how it would feel at the top, anticipating and waiting for that final day when I will summit - amongst the many challenges that I had steeled myself for, freezing fingers was definitely not one of them. As they say, you probably have to wait with all humility till the mountain gives you permission to summit. For me, I will have to wait for the invitation.

 

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Madhe to Upande -Durga Naniwadekar

Madhe to Upande -Durga Naniwadekar

Trek to Madhe Ghat - Upande Ghat

Madhe ghat - Upande Ghat Trek

When I boarded the bus for the first trek of Avhaan Advanced, I started seeing familiar faces. Many of my friends from the May High Altitude Manali camp boarded my bus too. I felt so happy and excited to meet them again, for I had missed them more than I missed my parents for any trek. Ira came and sat next to me and we started chit-chatting about how excited we were for this trek. Soon, the two of us went to sleep (both of us had woken up at 5 am and were very sleepy).

I woke up an hour later, and we were already outside Pune. Our road was surrounded by the lush green mountains of the Western Ghats. It was drizzling slightly and there was the lovely scent of damp soil all around. I felt so wonderful and fresh after my sleep. This continued for a few hours. Soon, we started seeing villages and farms. After we reached the trek starting point, we were divided into groups.

As we began the trek, I was surprised to find that we were going downhill! Dada said that we will be going uphill later. As we descended, our path joined a stream. I had to really concentrate – one wrong step, and my entire foot would be drenched in water. I really enjoyed the ‘stream walking’. As we reached the bottom of the valley, the trees cleared up and we could see the cliffside. We saw the Keleshwar dhabdhaba, (waterfall named after lord Shiva) and the dry route of Lakshmi dhabdhaba. The nearby village was called Kele.

We soon reached the village at the bottom of the valley. We were so relieved!I removed my muddy shoes and we all sat for lunch in the courtyard of the family who accommodated us. After lunch, everyone ran out to feel the cool breeze, but I stayed inside and wore my poncho, because I predicted that it was going to rain. A few minutes later, it actually started raining heavily and we resumed the trek only after the rain stopped.  I removed my poncho, but after half an hour, it started to become cold and breezy and dark grey clouds covered the sky.

But I was so proud of my earlier prediction that I forgot to predict this time, and very soon I was drenched from head to toe! But I didn’t try to wear my poncho this time, because, what’s the use of a monsoon trek if you don’t get drenched? I happily climbed up the cliff in the rain until the soles of my feet started becoming warm. They were tired and a tiny blister came up on my little toe.

But again, the rain came to my rescue and because of the heavy downpour, our trail turned into a ministream; and every time I took a step, cool water gushed in and soothed my souls (of my feet too). When we reached the top, we could see the Konkan side with all its farms and villages! It was so beautiful seeing it from above the clouds! After the watching the dazzling view, we observed that two little streams joined into a bigger one, and everyone jumped straight in! ‘Why not have a little more fun since we were already wet,’ I thought.

When at last we completed the trek, there were dry clothes and warm tea waiting for us. There was also a kind aaji in the village who allowed us to play with the fluffy chicks from her farm.  We all boarded the bus and had a sleepy and content journey back. I thoroughly enjoyed this trek and hope there will be many more like this.

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A DAY AT FORT TIKONA – vaidehi Deshpande

Particiapnt of Avhaan Program

Trek Tikona

Vaidehi Deshpande sharing her experiences of Trek Tikona:

Sunday, June 25 was pretty much the wettest day I’m sure anyone went through- at least while climbing a mountain! We all attended our first Avhaan trek to fort Tikona which literally means a‘triangle’ and is like-a two hour journey from Pune.

It was raining continuously while we were ascending and descending the hillside. Only after we finished trekking and reached the foot of the hill was when the rains stopped. Water was continuously flowing down the hillside and onto us. All of us were muddy and dripping but everyone was ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the view of our surroundings  near the base of the hill. A few of us were very eager to get to the top and raced up. But because of the altitude and rain , the atmosphere was full of mist which surrounded the fort like a fuzzy blanket. The fort was in a pretty good condition considering the harsh weather it has to bear most of the time. After a short rest we began our descent. Climbing down was a lot harder than climbing up because of the increased chances of falling. Children slipped quite a number of times on narrow paths and loose rocks. Luckily no one was hurt. It felt good to be sitting again after nearly two hours of

constant trudging in puddles. We had our lunch in the buses and as everybody was tired, we slept for a while. On the way we stopped for some yummy vadapav. We got a cap, a rope and a book for keeping track of our ‘adventures’. After a satisfying snack, we reached home. It was a really enjoyable day and I’m looking forward to more days like these in the year.

THANK   YOU   GIRIPREMI!

Vaidehi Deshpande

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My (first) Visit to Manali – Vishwajeet Shingare

Adventure Trek Participant: Avhaan

Adventure Course at Manali with GGIM

I always had a question in my mind. A question for which I got a number of answers, but none of them could satisfy me. I was very curious to discover it's answer but as I grew up my curiosity started to fade away. But last month I realised that I had found my answer.

The answer for which I had been waiting since a long time. The question may seem a little childish. Was there a thing called as heaven? If it was then can we find it on earth? And was it possible for us to reach into it? It took a long time for me to discover the answer but finally I got it. Last month I had been on a trip to Manali between 9th May to 22nd May, probably the best trip I have ever been to. Me and my sister Ojaswini joined a mountaineering group called as ‘GGIM (Guardian Giripremi Institute of Mountaineering)’. At first, I was very nervous as I didn't have any friends in the institute. We had to go through a train journey to reach Delhi and then we hired a bus to the institute. When we reached Manali I had a pleasant sense of smell which kept on changing. This smell mesmerized me and I got up to look through the window. There came a smile on my face and my eyes closed. Looking at the beautiful cherry plants and apple trees and the lustrous and soft leaves of Gulmohar I was lost in my past thoughts. I had finally discovered the heaven on earth. We got down the bus and walked to our famous institute, The Atal Bihari Bajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.  It was just like a palace in the woods. The gentle winds blowing slowly, tickled me. We got our rooms to stay which were pretty luxurious. We had to stay five in a room where I made many new friends. After a while it was lecture time where we learnt about the great mountains of the Himalayas. After a tiring travel, we all were very hungry. The food arranged for us was no so delicious but was certainly very nutritious. After the lunch, we got a free time and we decided to click pictures. We all ran to get our cameras to capture the beautiful terrains of nature during which we didn't realise that it was dinner time. We had our dinner and were fast asleep after a tiring day. The best thing I liked about the day was that we all had to maintain utmost discipline which made me feel like an army leader. On the first day, I was made the group leader which was more than a proud moment for me. The next day we had to get up early by 4 'o' clock when we were served hot tea. We had our breakfast at 6 'o' clock and at sharp 6:30 we left for the trek. The trek was a little tiring on the first day but as we moved on every day for the acclimatisation treks we became used to it. As a leader, I had to coordinate all the activities like providing refreshments and look into any other problems of all the members. After a few treks, it was finally time for the trek for which we all were waiting. The trek to ‘Beaskund’ which was known so because it was considered as the origin of the river Beas. It was going to be the most tiring trek since it was a very high-altitude mountain. While others were very nervous about today's trek I was very excited. We began for the trek early morning. After a long distance, we all were very tired but our organizers were successful in encouraging us. When we all reached the foothills of the mountain we could see the snow after which all of us ran towards it. We all made snowballs and were hitting each other with them. We also made a huge snowman and the best thing was that the whole group participated in it. This was a sign of team spirit. After an hour of enjoyment, it was time for us to leave. I was able to see many different emotions in many people. Some of them were happy while some felt home sick. But finally, we started again for the rest house with a new energy. When I entered my room the first thing I did was that I jumped on my bed and woke up only after an hour. Finally, it was time for us to leave. We all packed our bags and got into our bus. We reached the Railway Station in an hour and left for pine. When we reached the Pune station on 22nd May’2017, we all met our friends as we were going to meet them only after a long time. Finally, it was time to go. We bid farewell to each other and left for our home.

It was a very adventurous experience for me in which I learnt and developed many qualities in which the most important was the leadership quality. I would love to go on such a wonderful trip to heaven once again.

 

Written by: Vishwajeet Omprakash Shingare (GGIM, Pune)

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