Indiahikes recently inaugurated with the Western Campus. And, on January 8, 2021 we had our first trek to Kothaligad from here. 13-year-old Ananya Naidu was a part of it. In this riveting blog, she details out each day of the experience
Let me just start by saying I’m somewhat of an ‘environmentalist’, which leads me to talk about Indiahikes’ Green Trails program.
| Green Trails means leaving the site cleaner than when you arrived there. Pick up all the trash you see, even if it’s not yours!
It might feel unnecessary. But only on the last day, when you dump all the trash from your eco bags onto a tarp, and you see the amount of trash that was collected, are you filled with a sense of realization that we need to keep nature litter-free.
If we don’t pick up after ourselves, people will stop going on treks because who would want to see trash all over their trail anyway?
Imagine, a beautiful, clear lake where you can go to paint or swim in the morning, filled with plastic bottles and wrappers and filth. That may happen unless we clean up after ourselves and others. In nature, humans are the intruders, not the other way round.
Now that I’ve spoken about keeping nature clean, the way it should be, I’ll tell you about MY trek experience.
Day 1 – Arriving at Indiahikes Western Campus
We arrived at the Vijayabhoomi University at 4 pm, and hiked about one kilometer to our campsite.
Once everyone was settled with their tents and luggage, we had an introduction session followed by a short debriefing by Prathima, Izzat, Gautam, and Tirth.
Our wonderful cooks, Narendra and Sandeep, made hot chai and snacks for everyone. Just on time too, pretty soon, the rain had us cooped up in our tents, missing the activities. Mr Rakesh, who was the spirit of the group, sensed the rain had dampened everyone’s mood, and he arranged a game of antakshari. By then, the pouring had turned to a light drizzle, so everyone was only slightly damp😁.
Dinner was served, and it was absolutely delicious! I couldn’t believe my eyes when Narendra and Sandeep brought out the special dessert, shahi tukda. Not only was it presented beautifully, but it was also mouth-wateringly good too.
After dinner, we went on a short night walk. It was a serene experience to hear all the night sounds you normally wouldn’t in the city.
At the end of the day, after we got back to our campsite, we shared our experiences of the first day with each other and went to bed. The crickets soon lulled everyone to sleep.
Day 2 – An Adventurous Trek To Kothaligad
A wake-up call was given at 5:30 am. We had to report at 6 am with our lunchboxes and mugs for breakfast. As usual, the cooks didn’t fail to impress us. We had a breakfast fit for the long trek ahead and hot, refreshing herbal tea.
At 8 am, once we received our instructions and packed lunches, we started off on our trek.
It took about 4 hours for us to reach the summit, but it didn’t feel like a deary walk at all. The Indiahikes team kept everyone in high spirits, and made sure nobody felt like they were lagging behind.
Once we reached the top, We had yet another amazing meal (I swear if you try to lose weight on a trek with Indiahikes, you will fail, just because the food is so good), Then we rested a bit and started back down. Our plan was to reach camp by 4 pm to have snacks and tea.
Once back down at camp, Nari and Sandeep had tea, juice, and snacks ready for everyone.
After that, we had reflection, where we talked about our overall experience on the trek. Then, we headed into our tents to get changed and nap, if we wanted to.
Later in the evening, a tarp was laid out on the grass and everyone gathered and chit-chatted. Soon, It was dinnertime, which was followed by fresh, hot gulab jamun for dessert. We washed our lunchboxes and gathered on the tarp again, this time for games. We played and had a blast till late in the night. This time, I think everyone slept like a log because we were pretty exhausted from the day’s events.
Day 3 – A Creative Session By The Lake
A professor from the university was to join us at the lake for a drawing/ painting session. Everyone was refreshed from a good night’s sleep and got ready pretty fast. We had a light, early breakfast, and were off to the lake. There, we had an informative and fun session of painting and drawing nature around us.
After we got back from the lake, We laid out a tarp and emptied all the litter that we collected throughout the trek onto it. Then we segregated all the waste into three bags, recyclable, non-recyclable, and landfill.
After that, we washed up and had brunch. Then, certificates were distributed and we had reflection again.
All of us unpitched our tents, packed our bags, and hiked back to the university, said our goodbyes and left. It was an unforgettable experience, and the fact that all of us were complete strangers to each other, yet we became so comfortable and friendly within the 1st day, was amazing.
I look forward to going on many more treks with Indiahikes!