The excitement for my first night trek was not hindered even after suffering a terrible migraine pain on the unpleasant day of Saturday; 9th January. After repeated failed attempts of curing it with the help of medicines and sleep during the day, as I was not at all motivated to give up on my night trek because of this irritating thing, I thought of dedicating an hour to the peaceful and calming yoga in the evening hoping that it will cure my discomfort. Today, I don’t know whether it was yoga or my will to deal with it (the pain) and go ahead with the night trek that cured my pain! Whatever it was, it worked in my favor...
Moving ahead, I was looking forward to this trip for several reasons. Firstly, it was my first ever night trek. Secondly and most importantly, it was GBL’s inaugural night trek to this beautiful place called Hulukadi, which is 70 kms from Bangalore. And last but definitely not the least, this was the first time we had 6 outdoor leaders on board! Yes, you heard that right…! When I was made aware of the fact that we are going to have 6 amazing outdoor leaders who will be become a part of this thrilling journey, I told myself, I couldn’t have asked for more…
Post the ceremonial and innovative introductory session followed by GBL; amidst our chitchatting in no time we arrived at our destination, the Hulukadi Betta base. The place had its own essence of tranquility not because it was midnight, but may be because it was undisturbed by the city congregation or it was not much citified. As soon as I stepped out of the bus and looked up, it was literally a myriad of dazzling and super glittery stars that we were standing under. “It is phenomenally splendid”, I whispered, to which Jatin replied saying, “this is nothing, once you start moving up then you’ll see the real beauty.” “Can’t wait…”, I murmured.
Before taking on the mighty hill, we had a nice warm up session in form of yoga coached lovingly by a very friendly yoga enthusiast, Deepthi. It was inspiring to know that not only she fondly practices this impressive art but is also a perfected master and a trainer in this field. After a few easy asanas we proceeded further. The trail of Hulukadi begins from a village-like area, after walking a few miles or so we hit the base of the hill where the rugged boulders resided. Little did we know that the most entertaining part of the trek was right in front of us. Soon our outdoor leaders informed us that we would be engaging in a small fun competition which involved climbing the various boulders. We divided ourselves in 4 teams; I eagerly decided to captain one of the teams and named it ‘Moonless Night’, considering it was indeed a moonless night. Ishan jokingly asked me, if I was the flag bearer of some woman empowerment activity because I intentionally selected only female participants in my team. I told him, yes; it is the time to show some real womanpower! We were shown different approaches including the 3-point contact technique in order to scale the boulders. I was immensely happy and proud of myself just as I sportingly mounted almost all of the boulders and with great team efforts we became the runners up in the bouldering challenge. ☺
After investing a good amount of time in the bouldering zone, we turned towards the inclinations offered by the hill and continued with our expedition. As we trekked higher the path seemed a bit random and adding to it, there were stretches of overgrown grasses, the small patches of water on the slopes and the areas comprising of thick shrubs that made our trail exhaustingly and tiringly adventurous. To make the hiking interesting, ideas like racing on the slopes or interacting and sharing of thoughts on diversified spheres started pouring-in from Vignesh and Sujit. All the energetic outdoor leaders regularly made sure that each one of us was involved in the verbal exchange of thoughts reflecting one’s own perceptions and their respective beliefs of life! It was commendable to see, the endeavors of all the outdoor leaders, to constantly divert our attention so as to make the trail less difficult.
Every now and then at regular intervals, we halted to seize the spectacular and sparkling beauty of the shimmery stars and after a close scrutiny we joyously figured out a few planets and constellations as well. The luminosity of that night sky was such, as if someone had just tossed the diamond dust! ☺
All the drained and worn out bodies heaved a sigh of relief as we approached the peak. When we were marching towards the highest point of the hill we picked up twigs, dry woods and whatever we could find from the surrounding wild shrubs so as to applaud ourselves by lighting up a campfire. The moment we reached on top, we realized that it might not be easy to flash up the campfire amidst the gush of the chilly winds. Nevertheless, we did manage to brighten up the pre-existing ambience of the atmosphere in the wee hours. As per the customs observed by GBL, the scary stories started revolving around while we were soaking in the warmth of the bonfire and in a short time, Salwat and I snoozed off in the bivouac shielding ourselves from the cold air.
Shortly, I heard some of the cheerful beings talking loudly and asking other people to come out from their resting state and enjoy the much-awaited sunrise. Now, here comes the best part of the trek…! Never had I imagined that I am going to witness such a startling sunrise. It appeared like these fine orange colored rays with a tinge of rose, were glowing warmly and pleasantly, and in the middle of these scattered glazing hues, slowly the sun lifts itself up from the tangerine skies. Just like how a child’s head comes out from the mother’s womb, similarly the sun rose like that and bloomed.
Gradually, it started rising high above the sky illuminating the resplendency of the environment. I actually run out of words if I have to describe the arresting beauty of that sunrise. I indubitably agree that, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ See for yourself…
While some people were busy clicking photographs and the other enthusiastic folks were learning yoga, I was quietly sitting far away from the crowd and reading. Reading my thoughts through my words, my poetry… Just that moment itself, Anitha came from behind and requested if she too can join. It was heartening to hear her life story, of how she overcame all the battles and rose like a star, and stood like a sun. She made me realize, how ignorant we behave at times, and how conveniently we tend to over-look things, most of all, how in a fraction of a second your life can flip upside down, which is beyond anyone’s control. Thus, under all the circumstances, ‘appreciate things and be thankful, always…’. We happily sat there enjoying and sharing each other’s poetry and prose.
Soon after we got ourselves clicked by Viggy (as he is great in taking burst shots) in the legendary ‘jumping picture’, we started descending from the other side of the hill: the staircases. For me, no trek is complete with a ‘fall’. Yes, I tripped, pretty badly! ☹
When the favorite boys, Ishan & Salwat are guarding you, the journey in itself would inevitably be a roller coaster ride. On our way back down the hill, we were only discussing food, food and more and more of food facts. Their all-time favorite thing, I must say.
To sum up, the trek was an experience in itself. One word to define it will surely be ‘breathtaking’, in all aspects. Do visit this place, for the reason; you will never forget the sunrise, in the blink of an eye.
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