Posts Tagged With: Adventure

My first bungee jump

I had a hunch that Bungee would be more terrifying than skydiving(tandem) and I was so right that I chose to do a second jump on the same day even though I had torn my lip during the first one. Being an adrenaline junkie, I loved the freefall, the kind of which I hadn’t experienced ever before, not during wing walking and not during sky diving.

Sai, Divya and I drove on a beautiful sunny day to reach the private Bungee bridge which boasted to be the highest jump site in the United States! The bridge towered over a majestic class “V” river in the middle of a beautiful emerald green forest in south of Mt. St. Helen’s, Washington. Divya was unsure about the jump, so only Sai and I had booked a 12:30 PM slot. We met the jumpmasters on the bridge and got ready in the harnesses for our turns. They gave an intro and safety tips to have a safe jump by when my mind was already contemplating the thrill I would have in sometime. We were still clicking pictures and all of a sudden Sai got called for the jump, he stood on the ledge and at the count of 3-2-1, made his first jump with a loud shout. I asked him how did he not hesitate once on the ledge and he mentioned that there was no time to think since the jumpmasters started the count immediately once he was in position. I saw many people jump, some returnees and some first timers. The look on their face, the excitement and shouts were enjoyable and I was anxious for my turn. My turn came pretty late and they had replaced the ropes a jump before mine. Nervous on many fronts, I got myself tied to the carabiners, crossed the bridge and faced the river standing on a tiny ledge with a clear view of the abyss. I had made my mind to just make the dive and not hesitate and get done with it. As a safety measure, I was told to reach out so that I go away from the bridge before plunging. At the count of 3-2-1, I dived.
First 1-3 seconds:
I remember looking straight down during which my internals started signaling danger of the free-fall. Adrenaline shot up and I shouted as usual. These couple of seconds were one of the most thrilling experiences I have had in my life. Roller coasters in six flags come close but I think it still falls short compared to this vertical fall.
Next few seconds:
The ropes came into action, controlled my fall and I banged my face hard to the rope-wrapper which tore my lip. I could sense it immediately and was worried about my facial structure. For the next few seconds I judged the extent of the bruise and felt some blood while I was bouncing around due to the momentum. I then ignored to enjoy the place I was in – hanging on a rope above the river amidst thick green forest.
After several seconds:
There was an option for a second jump and I decided to go for it since I wanted to experience free-fall again without the worry of being hurt. When I got close to the crew after I got pulled up, I was trying to cover my bruise since I didn’t want them to stop me from having another jump. They didn’t notice I guess, they readied for my next jump.
I stood facing them and at the count, dove again to fall on my back and felt a similar thrill. This time I thoroughly enjoyed the complete fall and multiple bounces. I attached the carabiner to the chest harness instead of waist which was uncomfortable while coming up but other than it was a good jump.

Once on the bridge I shared the (blood)y news to Divya and that was the dealbreaker for her and she chose not to jump. I took some pictures and felt I dislocated my front tooth which I realized later that it wasn’t the case (after going through my teeth pictures from before). My jaw felt a bit loose while having dinner later that night but it didn’t trouble me post that. I looked at my videos to figure out what wrong I had done but it looked like I had made a perfect dive. Body was flat to the ground initially then head went down and I did a complete flip to come on the other side and hit the ropes. This would have been a perfect jump if I was tied only on the legs but here the ropes were tied to my waist and chest. Nonetheless, people had jumped in various angles and maybe I was just unlucky. Anyway, that hadn’t spoiled my mood a lot. I had completely enjoyed the jump and wouldn’t mind doing again. I watched my second jump video and apparently, I had given a weird shout which was super funny. It was a memorable experience overall.

smiley-write-nikhil-navali
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Categories: Adventure, Outdoors, Seattle | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

NEF Enduro3 – Taking adventure to the next level

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Pushing my limits has become like a drug to me now. And the biggest achievement of this drug yet is the NEF Enduro3 race. With 70km of cycling, 60km of trekking in just 18 hours, this race graduated me from the rookie to the amateur level in the challenging field of adventure. However, the race wouldn’t have been accomplished if wasn’t for the thoughtful training, will power, miracles, humanity and blessings from the elders.

NEF Enduro3 is a team sport – an Adventure Race which tests the competitors’ physical and mental endurance. The team should cover a vast area; navigating from checkpoint to checkpoint steering past a combination of disciplines like orienteering, mountain biking, trekking, etc. This year (2014), the race was held on Feb 1st and 2nd at Pune. I considered myself a rookie as I knew hardly anything about adventure biking, and this is the prime reason for me not wanting to lead the team or organize for the race. Hence, I posted in Facebook asking if someone was looking for a teammate. Finally, on 23rd January a guy named Shane Hines from Pune replied and I never stopped dreaming about the event ever since. Shane’s father’s organization sponsored our team and we registered on January 25th with the name “Mitras on Wheels”. I had absolutely no idea about who the 3rd guy was until I met him at Pune on Jan 31st.

Preparation:

Fortunately, the gym and pool in my apartment building had been functional since the past few weeks, and the recent Kumaraparvatha trek in Dec 2013 highlighted my weaknesses. I concentrated on cardio and legs, thus started with tread mill, cycling, cross trainer and swimming. I geared up on the last four days before the event with following practices:

15 mins of Tread mill (Starting with speed 10 km/hr) Treadmill

15 mins of Cycling (Levels 4 – 10)
15 mins of cross trainer (Intermittent levels of 4 and 8)
300 mts of swimming Exercise Cycling

And taking stairs in the office.
Diet included fruit bowl/juice, dry fruits and lots of food.

Only very essential things were packed: padded cycling shorts, gloves, toilet kit, cap, sun glasses, two pairs of clothes and charger – all fit in my tiny Wildcraft bag. I wore Kalenji running shoes for the entire course of the race.

Pune:

I left for Pune from Bangalore at 9.30 PM on Jan 30th in a comfortable Airavat bus with a Puneite sitting beside me who filled in information about his work, Maharashtra and little other stuff. After checking in at Sushil Lodge in Swargate, I left for Rajiv Gandhi National Park to say Hi to fellow species. It’s a huge area around the Katrej lake with snakes, crocodiles, monkeys, antelopes, tigers, peacocks and many other animals either in caged rooms or open large areas. White peacock and white tiger were new for me. Then I met Shane (team leader) and the other teammate Shailesh, and went to Shane’s hostel near the Katrej milk diary. My qualms about the race multiplied when I learnt that they were Physical Education students who looked well-built. Being frequent cyclists they had all the gear required for the race and were ready with almost everything barring few items. Shane had arranged a mountain bike from his friend, Cannondale Five worth around half a lakh but I realized its true worth only during the race. He himself had Trek and Shailesh Cannondale Six. We shopped in the evening and I retired to bed and slept which was very essential before the race.

Route

Day 1:

The race was divided across categories: Open Mix, Amateur Mix, Amateur All Men, Corporate/IT Mix, Media, Junior and College. Open Mix had the toughest route with Amateur’s route almost close to it. Our team was called AMM11. The flag off event was at Kataria High School near Swargate and everyone had assembled to mark the start of NEF Enduro3 – 2014. We were given the route maps, jerseys, cap and ID card. The route was around the backwaters of dams located around 40km southwest of Pune. Varasgaon dam and Panshet dam embanks the Mutha river’s two tributaries in the North and South respectively. The dams are located in the eastern part and two main narrow lakes (backwater) stretch to the west. We had to start from the eastern part of northern lake, trace the bank of the lake for around 21kms then do hike and bike to touch the southern lake. We then had to park the cycles at a village called Mangoan, then do a loop of around 50kms of trekking in Sahyadri hills and then collect the cycles and ride back to Panshet dam tracing the southern lake, which was about 40kms. I could see multi-national people all excited and ready to cycle the red carpet. Yes, it was nothing short of a red carpet and cycling on it was one of the most awesome feelings I had ever experienced. Drummers, photographers, etc. had lined it and cycling amidst them I felt no less than a celebrity. I just hoped that I complete the race to be worthy of this feeling. We had to cycle till Mhatre bridge and then use own transport till Panshet to start the race. We put our cycles on a small tempo where Shane and I sat in the back enjoying the curiosity and the cheer of the onlookers.

Cycling Part 1:

As there were a number of categories, ours began at 12.55 PM sharp. Everyone enjoyed the first long ride downhill only to realize that we had taken the wrong route. We had to climb all the way back and thus the steepest cycling climb in the first day’s race was due to a wrong turn taken. After this it was a straightforward route where we just traced the lake on a rough non tar terrain. Happy To my horror, the back brake lost its 90% of power in a short distance. Shailesh couldn’t check this the previous day as it was hydraulic disk brake which required some kind of oil to repair. I managed the rest of the bumpy route by holding the full back brake and to spare the front brake, I used it only on reaching the maximum speed near the turns. We reached the first checkpoint and got filled the sheet with time and stamp. We started with the next stretch without wasting much time.

Hike and Bike:

This was the most exhausting part, as we had to reach the southern lake by crossing a series of hills which were around 45 degrees steep. We had to either push or lift the cycle entire stretch. After exhausting ourselves after the first few meters of pushing, we saw a team smartly handling the situation by carrying the cycle in pairs. This required double the number rounds but reduced the amount of stress. We followed suit and managed to cover some more distance after we which we went back to one cycle each. We cycled for a small stretch at the top and it was a beautiful experience to cycle on the hill with a panoramic view of Sahyadri hills. Somewhere while pushing the cycle, I fell and injured my right knee. Fortunately it didn’t hurt much and continued with less hesitation. We reached the next checkpoint, Kashedi top after which it was a steep downhill. I initially found this stretch easy but gravity acted at its best during the steep slope and it became increasingly difficult to hold on to the skidding cycle. Carefully and slowly I managed to reach the bottom by dancing all around the cycle.

Cycling Part 2:

This stretch after the checkpoint at Tekpole fork wasn’t filled with surprises other than the muddy road which caused our cycles to skid. It started getting dark and as I didn’t have a torch on my cycle, I was put in between with Shailesh and Shane, with Shailesh leading the way. I didn’t exert myself much as I wanted to save my energy for whatever was waiting for us ahead. We soon reached the next checkpoint at Mangaon village where we parked our cycles to start with the trekking.

Trekking Part 1:

Map Reading It was around 7.45 PM and we started on foot with again only 2 torches out. For the first time I somehow felt like checking the route on GPS. I took out my cell and came to a conclusion that we were heading on the wrong route. After much argument with Shane to go back, we went to the village and asked for the route to Dighi School which was the next checkpoint. We indeed had been on the wrong route. It was an uphill mud road to Dighi School and we took help of the fellow racers and footsteps to validate the path. The checkpoints were marked with blinking red and green lights. It was around 10.30 PM by the time we reached the school. I just sat in the cold to relax myself while the others refilled water supplies. The following route was tortuous and there was an increased possibility of getting lost. So we made sure we stuck with other people while trekking. Once when we were alone we had 4 routes in front of us and after walking some distance Shane and Shailesh found that dry leaves filled the path and they weren’t smothered which cautioned them of possible wrong route. They were right and I admired their presence of mind and knowledge. We waited for others to come, tagged along with them and frequently found the arrow marks directing to the next checkpoint. On the way we found the marshalls(organizers) who warned us of the dangerous route ahead. So we took out one more torch so that each had one and crossed the most dangerous stretch of the entire race. At some places the trail was so narrow that there was nothing but free fall into the valley to our right. Following this was a steep slippery downhill to the next checkpoint Warangi. Night trekking was a different and soothing experience compared to tiring cycling and hike and bike. Shane was furious that we left him behind during the downhill and he didn’t speak to me till the next morning. Shailesh and I rested at Warangi where the cold gradually caught up. We used camp fire’s help to warm ourselves. We then started for Sandoshi after crossing the labyrinth like Warrangi village when Shane caught up. We stopped midway as Shane decided to take a break. I fell asleep unknowingly and on being woken up by Shailesh I realized Shane had moved forward without even informing us. We reached a village from where 2 teams were searching for the right route out. Some had already slept too. It was around 4.30 AM and one of them woke a villager to ask for the route. Without getting irritated, the first thing the villager asked was if we wanted some water. I was stumped at the kind behavior and usually such gestures energize me and bring a smile on my face. He with his relative, walked with us all the way to the next checkpoint which was around 3 kms ahead. Thanking them wholeheartedly we reached Sandoshi checkpoint at 5.30AM where we had to take mandatory rest for four hours. I suddenly retired to cut sleep in the temple premises nearby only to be woken up at 7 AM with doubly shocking news.

Day 2: Trekking Part 2 – Endure the Enduro:

As we were one of the tail enders, at 7 AM, the Marshall made an announcement that we could override the mandatory rest period and continue with the race and those reaching the Mangaon village (Cycle parked area) after 1PM would be disqualified. To make matters worse Shane had got blisters and Shailesh had a swollen leg. After listening to the fact that Mangaon was 3.5 – 4 hour trek from there, they both decided to quit the race and opted for transport back to Pune. I knew that trekking/hiking was my strength and undeterred, chose to continue with the expedition. After having Pakodas and chocolate, I tagged along with two others and started with the most difficult trekking leg of the race. It was almost continuous steep uphill for 2.5 hours and I carried on with very few breaks. I reached the next checkpoint, Garjaiwadi which was near the top of the mountain and heard the most discouraging thing. A kid there told that Mangaon village was 25 km from there and I had to literally walk till there in the hot sun. Again, I wasn’t deterred, I dedicated the expedition to my dad and decided to carry on till the failure of any organ. This part was the most depressing one, just plain walking on the mud road and tar road in the hot sun. Walking One of the persons whom I had tagged along during the morning trek told me that he had run an ultra-marathon of 100km and I had done a run with only one zero after 1. He started running after few km from which I was inspired and I started running during the downhill. But again, I was careful not to hurt my knee any further. This ultra-guy went out of sight and I joined another group at Tekpole fork. When I reached Mangaon village at 2.30 PM, I had walked for whopping 25 kms since morning. Absence of blisters or any kind of major pain was nothing short of a miracle. I got the stamp and continued on cycle to Panshet Dam.

Cycling Part 3:

I enquired the other team for available cycling gear as I had none and didn’t know what to do even if I had one. They were ready to help me in case anything went wrong and we started the 40 km ride to the finish line which I surmised of covering 10km/hour. The road was very good with intermittent ups and downs. The organizers were winding up by the time we reached Thangaon for river crossing and rifle shooting. So, we were allowed to go further without doing these activities and were told that regardless of the time we reach, we would be awarded the completion medal.  I filled water and got onto cycling to complete the last stretch. But as I continued, my back started hurting a lot and I emptied the water bag to reduce the strain. I got slow due to exhaustion and Kamlesh, the cyclist in the other team, kept waiting for me every time I was out of sight. He being a fellow competitor and though we hardly knew each other, the fact that he still stopped to make sure of my well-being really touched my heart. I rejoiced the ampleness of humanity I was experiencing. I am so grateful to this team with whom I cycled the last 40 km. Finally I reached the finish line only to feel proud at this amazing unbelievable feat. I had pushed too far this time but still succeeded. This was truly a dream come true. I lifted the cycle for a pose, got the finishing medal and thanked people. Happy I met Shane and Shailesh there who had come with the tempo to collect their cycles. I put my cycle on the tempo, got on the bike with Shailesh to reach Pune. I literally slept several times on the bike way back because of which I asked him to put me on a bus. Somewhere 20km from Pune, got into a bus, reached Swargate and checked into the lodge. I guess I had never been this sleepy before, as I could barely keep my eyes open. I had pizzas and went to sleep. The next day I met my school friend, collected the certificate at the prize distribution ceremony and left for Bangalore at night with my chest swelling with pride.

I was overwhelmed with the experiences during the race: cycling on the mountain, trekking in the night, moving in a team, experiencing shades of humanity, to name a few. Some were good at cycling, some at navigating and few others at trekking. I felt really nice being a jack of all, due to which I finished the race without any major hassles. I can now confidently say that I am no more a rookie in adventures.

This is how I managed to complete the toughest adventure race in India:

• All-round training: Cardio, legs. Swimming helped in overall development I guess.
• By not pushing hard enough in any stretch. Always was in energy saving mode.
• Consumption of nutrients daily: Sprouts, dry fruits.
• With the help and love of numerous people.
• The most important ingredient: Will power.

Nikhil Navali

Categories: Adventure, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

A walk in Heaven – Rupin Pass, Himachal Pradesh

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This amazing, fantastic, adventurous trip was the outcome of productive encounters. A fellow adventurist(whom I had met in Cycling trip) had posted a pic of his Himalayan trek on facebook after which I contacted him and asked him to inform if he is going to a similar trek in the future. Fortunately that come soon enough and he suggested Rupin Pass trek from IndiaHikes group for which I registered on Feb 27 – so the excitement for trek was in my mind since then.

Preparation:

As the adventure got bigger, the preparation got tougher and healthier. As the trek would be physically taxing, IndiaHikes had posted a training schedule for the same. Though I didn’t follow it completely, I continued practicing yoga (mom taught), went to jogging less sporadically, started with the gym for the first time in my life, ate mom made special laddus, etc. Shopping ranged from the stores of Decathlon to the streets of Chikpete. ShoppingI dint want to take any chances as this was a high altitude trek – anything could go wrong and there was next to impossible chance to recover if I wasn’t well prepared. After shopping in Decathlon I realized why girls are so obsessed with shopping – too many new things add to excitement. I visited Decathlon-Sarjapur during their 4th Anniversary celebrations. This was a part of urban hiking – Vikas(my flatmate) and me walked all the way to the store from home with Quechua sack and high ankle shoes just to get used to the trekking gear. Decathlon had conducted a mini Enneathlon event in which I came first.Medal So that day, the combination of 20 kms walk in daylight and 9 mini games ( that too without a proper breakfast) gave the feel that I was ready for the trek. My journey began on May 29 2013, on which Bangalore gave me a rejuvenating farewell ( https://nixieslife.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/the-best-morning-i-ever-had-in-bangalore/). The train to Delhi was at 8.20 PM and I was still at Bangalore Central Jayanagar 9th block at 7.15 PM in Bangalore traffic. I asked an auto guy to reach me to station asap, for which he obliged for a high fare (obviously). But I was glad that I reached the station in time, thanks to his tortuous drive which attracted a lot of rebuke from fellow riders.

Rajdhani Express – The journey begins:

It was a 34 hours journey from Bangalore to Delhi and I hardly felt bored. In-fact, I don’t feel bored at all nowadays – if not anything, one recent incident of my life is always in my head. Food served was delicious and the supply was frequent, so one can forget the journey part by just waiting for the next meal serving.  The chimneys of the factories nearby track resembled torches welcoming one of the fastest trains in India. The train had to pass through 6 statesTrain in different terrain. In some places I could see dried up rivers which was a very sad sight. Weather at the stations en-route was a harbinger of heat I would face in Delhi. The best thing which I liked about this train journey was the people around me. I made a friend as soon as I boarded the train. There were different kinds of people – Sardarji, armyman, businessman – each with stories to share. They were extremely cooperative – the businessman called someone to ask directions to Aurobindo Ashram, place where I had to go.  These small simple gestures of care and cooperation bring happiness in my mind for I believe humanity is the greatest religion in the world. I fear that this diversity will slowly diminish due to globalization as not many places have this variety nowadays. I always prefer travelling in less expensive coaches where comfort of 1AC and 2AC is more than replaced by that of being with cordial people.  I reached Delhi on 31st morning and stayed at Aurobindo Ashram. I will elaborate about this place in the later part.

Rupin Pass Trek:

Delhi – Dehradun – Dhaula(5,100 ft):

We left to Dehradun from a local travel bus (Snow Region) – this bus had good reviews from RedBus and it didn’t disappoint us. We reached Dehradun early in the morning and met my fellow trekkers near the railway station. Vikas was the only person I knew in the trek and I love to get to know people during such adventures. We left for Dhaula and stopped by Kempty falls for breakfast, which was completely void hyped tourist spot. The ride was scenic and very bumpy and we reached Dhaula in the evening. We were served with delicious snacks (something like finger chips), the food was palatable throughout the trek considering that they had to prepare food with limited resources. The campsite was just by the river side and the tents were installed well before we reached there. I just sat on a stone near the river. This is what I always do – sit admiring the nature’s beauty lost in thoughts.

Lost in thoughts That night was my first in camp tents. I was never enrolled into Scouts or NCC and that’s why all this was new to me. During nights in the campsite there was no light other than torches, which felt quite different initially but I got used to it soon. Three of us shared a tent and they were equipped with mats and sleeping bags.

TentI had a good sleep – a simple pleasure that I did not have for all the nights.

Day 1 – Endurance check:

Everyday, we were supposed to be ready by around 6 A.M. for the trek. Taking a dump in the mornings is no less an adventure, I had to follow the western style for a week and dig a cathole. Well these things are included in such trips but this was my first time. After the morning breakfast of June 2nd and warm up exercises 21 of us started with the much awaited trek with a 10 kg backpack. Actually I had packed almost everything which was mentioned in the things-to-get list which made my backpack heavier. The guide was doubtful if I could carry the sack for the entire trek. If we had to offload the sack to mules/porter we had to decide it then and there. I didn’t deter, I thought the trek would become easy if I offload it and I wanted to test myself. So, I decided to carry my backpack for the entire trek. This was one of the best decisions I made. Every day we were given some snacks for the trek which turned out very helpful for me as I hardly carried any energizers with me. Soon after first few steps I went to the front-line where our best trekker Rajesh was there. I managed to confirm with his pace and somehow felt good being in front, hence for most part of the trek Rajesh, me and few others were in front-line. First few kilometres was an easy walk alongside the Rupin river with beautiful scenery soothing the eyes.  We followed the Rupin river upstream for most part of the trek. It flowed rapidly in the valley which was shadowed by either lush greenery or ice. I thought that this would make an apt rafting spot, but then I wondered who would trek so much to do that. Number of agricultural fields could be seen on mountain, people there just lived like early people: trusting their legs for transport, just nature and people to entertain them. The next part of the trek was very tiring- steep ascend followed by more ascends which tired me a lot. We kept asking the route to Sewa village frequently as we didn’t want to risk trekking in wrong routes. The scenery kept changing and I loved every bit of it. Five of us reached Sewa mandir very early and though we had faint idea that lunch was served there, we decided to move to the campsite for the day which was around 30 mins further. It was a descend till the campsite and I had forgotten to cut my nails which hurt my toe. After descending till the river, Rajesh made an intelligent assumption – looking at the flat green patch beside the river – that it would be the campsite and he was right. After wetting the shoes by some stunts crossing a stream, we reached the campsite and waited for others with an empty stomach. This was near the border of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. I decided to bathe and this one was the bath I took in the most chilling water yet in my life. My head almost went numb when I dipped into the water.

Chill bath I realized that it would be foolish to do such a thing henceforth in the trek. With increasing altitude the water got colder to such an extent that I would even hesitate to wash my face in the mornings. After that I lay on a big bed like stone on the river side and literally fell asleep – these moments were precious – how often one gets to sleep amidst a natural beauty listening to gushing river after a tiring trek! Rest of the team came around 2 hours later having lunch at Sewa mandir. Acutally the guides had sent porters ahead to stop us from going further. The guides were angry that we had covered more ground sooner than we were expected to and we were warned that we would be made sweepers (last people to push the team) for the next day’s trek. Two of us reached very late and unfortunately decided to quit the trek. After  the rain, in the evenings we could see the blanket of mist over the river. It was a very delightful scene and the campsite looked beautiful.

Mist

I had forgotten to cut my nails before the trek, fortunately, a trekker had a nail-cutter and I saved my toes from further bruises. We hadn’t gained much altitude on Day 1. This was because we climbed and then descended for the campsite. This made the altitude gain about 1000 feet.

Day 1 Night – Worst night on the trek:

I had a feeling of indigestion due to the burps I was getting, but went to sleep without thinking much. The night which followed was one of the worst nights I ever had, which hinted that I might not complete the trek. Almost every two hours I was required to take a dump in the dark with only a small LED light I carried. For the third time, it was raining and after useless wait for it to stop, I put on my raincoat to go out. I feared that this problem would stop me to trek any further, but I was determined to complete, I wouldn’t stop for anything. Totally before the trek I had to clear my intestines for 5 times, yes 5 frustrating times.

Day 2 – Adventure begins:

I was flagged as stomach problem person and the rest four who had reached earlier for Day 1 campsite were made leader/sweeper of the 3 groups (namesake) who were to maintain the consistency of teams speed. After the first ascend, our eyes fell upon the first view of ice covered mountains, which was an inspiring view. At the same time a fellow trekker gave me a Lomotil (tablet for stomach problems). It was like an elixir for me as I never had that problem throughout the trek. After few kilometres of walk we reached a landslide area which marks the most dangerous crossing I have done till now. LandslideThe mountain was steep. We had to walk on loose mud, jump on stones and one misstep/slip could send us rolling to the river 200-300 feet below. I carefully chose my steps and crossed it without any accidents. We had lunch at Jiskun.  The remainder of the day’s trek was a complete ascent, to the town of Jakha. It started raining and there was loud thunder. I love the sound of thunder for it is the best bass for me.  I wasn’t carrying the cover for my backpack, therefore wrapped the inner things in garbage covers and let water add to the weight of my bag for the upcoming ascend. I guess the rain distracted me – the ascend, though very steep for a kilometre or two, wasn’t as difficult as it looked initially. As I was tired I hardly concentrated on my balance. Backpack Rajesh and I reached the town first and I set to dry my belongings as sun was out by then. It was a homestay in Jakha and the view from second floor was mind blowing, with the sun’s rays kissing the top of the mountains and there was beautiful scenery all around. We walked to the nearby Dhara village and a temple there had a monolith of 100×15 feet stone which, according to a localite, around 100 people carried that to its place. The temples in such villages had trophies adorned on them- maybe people attributed their successes to Gods.  Coincidentally it was a trekker’s bday and the staff made some special arrangements to make a suji cake for him, which was utterly delicious.

Star GazingBy the night most of the clouds had vanished and we got a clear view of the sky. I could see more than twice or thrice the number of stars there than I usually did in cities. It was a stunning view- it seemed as if the stars were shining on a black blanket. We could see few satellites orbiting the earth too! Unlike the night before, I had a nice sleep in the homestay. We were at an altitude of 8700 feet.

Day 3 – Ice crossing and Sheep attack:

As soon as we started the trek on 3rd day, I came to a place where I could see green forest on one side and ice covered mountain on the other and sun rays blanketed on green mountains in between. It was really a breathtaking view. A big furry dog joined us for the trek and stayed with us till the end of the trek. The further trek was in the forest – we had our eyes on tall trees and legs on slippery stones. We had our first ice crossing and the fact that it was inclined towards the flowing river made it dangerous – this was because we weren’t aware of the techniques to be followed to walk on ice. I used my trekking pole for the first time, crossed the ice with trepidation. A few slipped and the guides made brave attempts to save them. Few of us went further and we could see a frustrated sheep which had been separated from its herd. One of my friends offered a biscuit to it and since then it tried to climb on or attack whoever it saw. It was very scary when it was my turn and I managed to hold its neck to get away from it’s mouth.Sheep attack Another fellow trekker and I were at opposite sides, pointing our trekking sticks to it for few minutes. I wondered about the variety of adventures we were facing. We soon got used to the ice crossings. The ice walks in the later part of the day’s trek were doable without holding our hearts in hand.Exhausted The third day’s was really tiring for me maybe because I had used a major chunk of my energy in previous day’s ascend. I started feeling cold and very thirsty too. I usually don’t drink much water during treks, but this was changing slowly. A trekker joked saying that Rupin Pass should be renamed Rupin Door(Far in Hindi)! After reaching Saruwas Thatch(10,250 ft) campsite, I went to riverside and lay down. It is an awesome feeling when you open the eyes after a long time in such locations – like you are in a place free from wordly worries, tension. There is nothing but natural beauty around and peace inside. Later, I climbed on few stones and slept there recalling some romantic moments in the recent past. It gets dark only around 8 in the night and morning starts as early as 4.30 and for that one trekker put it articulately that we were cheating the Earth’s curvature by being on an altitude, thus accounting for prolonged daytime. We trekkers had an sort of introduction around the camp fire in the evening where I just admired the talent people had around me. Our guide Rajmohan enumerated his experiences and it was nice to listen to him. One incident he mentioned was particularly interesting. He said that none till now has ever managed to reach the summit of Mt. Kailash. After dinner, I thoroughly enjoyed the Bournvita (as I don’t drink tea ) taking heat from both the drink and fire in-front. Warm I didn’t have comfortable sleep as there was some problem with the sleeping bag’s zip in the tent.

Day 4  – Waterfall climb, most beautiful views:

Guides had decided to club the 4th and 5th day trekking due to some reasons which put a big challenge in-front of us. MeditationI went to riverside in the morning and practiced a bit of breathing exercises. Whenever I practice Yoga, I feel like I am taking my mom’s blessings as she, being a Yoga teacher, taught me few asanas for neck pain. I have realized how effective practicing Yoga is. Armed with blessings and determination I started with the trek.  There were many ice crossings and so at a few places guides had made steps to cross them easily. Rajesh and I reached a big ice location early and started playing around. We attempted sliding and threw ice balls at each other. We reached to the supposed Day 4 campsite from where I saw one of the most beautiful sights – mountains on either side, an ice covered mountain ahead of us, a waterfall taking its shape from there and disappearing below the ice sheets. The best part was that we had to reach the mouth of waterfall climbing on those sheets. This climb was very tiring, dangerous and exciting: we had to literally cross from one side of the waterfall to other via a snow bridge with river flowing underneath it. The ice was inclined toward the flowing river in an avalanche prone zone. Though we were given helmets, we were asked to safeguard our heads with the backpack in case an avalanche broke out. This time we were taught techniques to walk on ice (heel, front, side kick, zigzag, etc).  When I saw fellow trekkers lined up for this task, I felt nice and proud that we were moving on as a team, as there is a great force in a team with a common cause. We reached the mouth of the upper waterfall (13,300 feet high). This induced a great amount of cold and a slight head ache in me. The natural pristine scenery was ubiquitous. Though we were treated with amazing beauty throughout the way, it wasn’t mundane, each place exhibited a certain sui generis. One particular view from the mouth of the waterfall was just magnificent: Rupin river flowing in the valley between ice covered mountains. The fact that we took that trail to reach that place made it look even more delightful.

Himalayas is really the big brother of the world, as no matter how much I trekked I kept seeing higher mountains. India is really fortunate to have such a mighty mountain range. The temperature was so low that I hesitated even to get out of the tent due to the chilling breeze though I had five layers of clothing on ( Innerwear, full sleeve t shirt, half sleeve, fleece, jacket).Cold Maggi was appreciated here and one trekker commented on its reach from the stoves in houses at sea level to such high altitude places like ours. I had bought a special travel multifunction stainless steel set from Chikpete which turned out to be handy as it had both fork and spoon to savor the dishes.  Later, we got the demos of getter(cloth attachment to leg to stop ice going into the shoes) and crampons(spike like addendum to shoes for better grip while walking on ice). Later in the night, after much circus in order to get into sleeping bag, there came a call for BOURNVITA. I was discontented as I wanted to drink but didn’t want to go out in that cold. I chose to go to sleep.

Day 5 –  Rupin Pass, slides, snowfall, etc:

We had to leave early on Day 5 as we had too much to cover and it had to be done before the weather got worse. So I started with morning activities at around 4.15 AM. It was a different feeling to take dump in the open with ice covered mountains around me.  We got ready with layered clothing to withstand cold and started for the Rupin Pass. After a steep initial ascend there came a point where we had to cross the ice and get on a big stone to go to other side. A girl called Sushila was a helper for the trek, got to the other side first. When my turn came I had literally put my life in her hands. She pulled me with such strength – I was amazed. She had shown such strength and bravery earlier too on first ice crossing, while helping someone during the slip. She was the true heroine of the trek: her genial and helpful nature won many hearts and was liked by everyone. After this, it was complete strenuous walk on ice till the pass. One more beautiful view captured my eyes – there was one place like a stadium. It looked as if there was a play area and high grounds around it, most of the part covered in ice. It was very tiring walk but this, after completing the trek I realized, was a walk in heaven – amidst the pristine magnificent ice covered Himalayas. The streams in these parts had carved out the ice for around 3 ft wide and 6 ft depth and the water was crystal clear and clean. I screamed a few times to listen to my echo and it felt so awesome to listen to my voice back from distant mountains. Last part of the climb to Rupin pass was most exciting for me. The slope was inclined at about 70-75 degrees and the ice was hard. The helper was making steps in front me and I was following his footsteps. I got impatient as it was taking too much time and I wanted to reach the top with as less help as possible. So I moved ahead of him, made my own way, trusted my balance and crampons and started with the climb. It was very taxing and I took breaks often. Ropes were being laid on to help the trekkers get to the top, but I wanted to test my skills and went on climbing without the help of rope. I still remember, I took few steps just with blind faith that I won’t fall and I didn’t. I reached the top and was very ecstatic as I was the first trekker to reach. There was a porter named Nikhil from IndiaHikes and he said to me “Apne toh Nikhil naam ki spoorthi bada di“. After passing through all terrains, I felt that legs are still the best all-terrain-vehicle.  It was a beautiful view from the top – from that point on either side mountains had lesser altitude and I could see some parts of Rupin valley. Celebrations started after everyone reached the top and a pooja was done to thank the Gods for safe journey. There are no idols of God, instead few stones would be mounted on one another at such places. We were at an altitude of 15,250 ft.Rupin Pass We started throwing snow balls at each other and some expressed their joy by sliding on ice. I again went to a lonely place, sat there and just looked around to realize what I had achieved. After enjoying for some time we set to descend from there, but this descend was not with the help of legs.  We had to slide on the ice on the way down. We had around 5 slides and each one was different and exciting. Slide 3 was the fastest and exciting which was of around 100 meters length with a steep drop. My face was bombarded with Ice during the slide and I really enjoyed the momentum – it was truly a fantastic experience. I brought down a fellow trekker at the end of the 4th slide. Slide 5 was just like in an adventure park, with sharp bends and raised walls around the sliding path.

Disclaimer :
This has been performed by professional stuntmen, please  do not try this on your trek. 😛


For the first time in my life, I experienced snowfall. Though it was a very light one, tiny ice pieces/snow balls hit us. The weather started to turn bad and ice got slippery, so we just kept slipping every now and then. En route the campsite, we had proper breakfast: filling masala puri, aloo and soya sabji. The walk to the campsite was on meadows and the view of the tents from top of a mountain looked delightful. We reached the tent. Hardly anyone was out that day as most of us were either tired or were shivering. Not many were out during lunch time, and that is why a porter went to each tent calling out for lunch. I still had light head ache and knee pain but just held on as it was the penultimate day of trek.

Day 6 – The final walk: 

Certificates for the completion of Rupin Pass trek were distrubuted and after one final group photo as we left for Sangla, which was a total descend. We saw a herd of Yaks on the way and our dog single handedly tried to scare them off but was later joined by our guides. The scenery en route still kept amazing us. I didn’t hurry intially as I wanted to get most of the final day of the trek. But on later part, my knees started hurting and I hoped for some flat ground to walk. I hurried the final part of the trek to reach Sangla, but this was not the end. We had to go to a guest house in the town which was at an altitude. The walk to this place was one of the most tiring one, maybe because it was the final part or it was very steep ascend in sun. Sangla is adorned by appealing Kailash range and a muddy river flows through the city.  Once I had reached guest house, I could see scoldings being exchanged between the people there.Argument I realized that the trek was now complete – we were back to dealing with the world. As I told, carrying the backpack was a good decision I had made, as it hardly mattered to me. I was just neglecting the fact that I was carrying a 10 kg backpack. It was very easier than it looked. Other important thing I learnt: understand the sack completely so that it could be used efficiently. I took bath in Sangla after 4 days. After a recommendation from a local person some of us took a government bus to Chandigarh. Initial part of this journey was interesting, the road passed through major hydroelectric project area. The later part of the journey pained my shoulders and neck a lot. It was a beautiful morning in Chandigarh- people were jogging, I could see many parks in the city, big nice roads, etc.  Then from Chandigarh we took a Volvo bus to Delhi which was a much better experience. Our team was very fortunate: we neither had much rains during trek or heavy snow fall at the top, we had nature’s blessings and reached our destinations safely.

Delhi – Ashram, Food, Metro – Bangalore:

I loved everything about Delhi other than the weather which totally complements Bangalore. Vikas and I stayed at Aurobindo Ashram in South Delhi. This place was so calm, the blaring of vehicles were replaced by birds chirping. There was calmness all around. A peacock was there right beside me enjoying the evening on the terrace.Peacock Nutritious food was provided and we washed the utensils after consuming the food, I like this self-service. In the train, the new friend had told me, “Delhi mein har kism ka admi milega, sabse kamina aur sabse accha bhi”, but I found only the latter group. I found Delhi people very hospitable (even the autowalas cheat less!). Metro was the best in Delhi. It’s so innovative, fast and easy. I was glad to see that at some stations people actually stood in a queue to get in. Many used the metro and I actually felt proud travelling on it. Very few facilities provided by government are proudly used in India and this was one of them. Food in Delhi was palatable: Aloo tikki at Nataraj Dahi Bhallewala, Aloo parantha at Parathawala gali, kachori at Haldirams, Chandni chowk; Hawaiian punch at Lanterns, masala and rooh afza soda in a local juice shop at Karolbagh, to mention a few.  On the morning of June 10th we took a GoIndigo flight to Bangalore. Bangalore always has a welcoming weather. I felt so good after I reached my room. I really don’t know, why I just felt glad, as though I met a long ago friend. Lot many memories are attached with this room of mine.

The art of patience, tolerance, determination:

When I realized the danger I would be facing during the trek, all I thought was one thing – going back to see my parents. This one thing kept me going and I am back in one full piece but with a shade darker. I had sheer determination, patience and tolerance during cold and head ache. I need these three things to be with me forever because now I have a greater wait for something.  It was very tiring scaling the altitude on rocky surface and I wondered if it was really worth. But then I realized, unless I don’t struggle, I wouldn’t be rewarded with something extraordinary. Each day I saw pristine mighty mountains filled with immense beauty which can hardly be seen anywhere else in the world and had numerous unique experiences.  A true adventurer doesn’t deter from his final goal of achieving something no matter any number of tough situations are thrown at him. He just overcomes them with strength and reaches his goal. I would like to follow the same principle in my daily life too. I lived contently only with people, nature and a backpack. A lovely relationship with people and nature is all I need to lead a happy life and I hope I maintain the same throughout.

Thus a journey in which I trekked for 60 kilometres in two states(Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh) scaling an altitude of 15,250 feet without bathing for 4 days and without outside communication for 7 days came to an end but I will forget neither the beautiful views I saw in Himalayas, nor the peace I felt when I rested on the river side and on the mountains. I saw this beauty for my parents… I saw this beauty for someone special.

Nikhil Navali

Categories: Adventure, Travel | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

Up in the air – Paragliding

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Finally, 10 months after coming to know about Fly Nirvana a paragliding club, I fixed the dates 27th to 30th December 2012 for paragliding. This was till now the costliest adventure I undertook and it was worth it, as a matter of fact adventure is always worth. This time I did not spend time planning/buying anything like I did for cycling. Just packed with bare minimums and left for the place.

It was quite a ride to the place “Native Place”, Uksan near Pune where I stayed throughout the course. I had booked a bus to Pune on 26th night, thought I would get down at Pune and then see about the rest of the ride later. As the bus was about to reach Pune, I came to the bus cabin to enjoy the view, It was 4 AM, I had hardly slept. I discussed with the bus driver about the place I wanted to go, he thought it was better if I got down at a petrol bunk near Kamshet on Pune-Mumbai expressway which was after Pune. Hence I got a chance to go on the Pune-Mumbai expressway and he showed me Subroto Roy stadium. The ride in the highway tunnels in the night was nice which my brother will be jealous of. After waiting for two hours at the petrol bunk a teenager offered me to drop on a Splendor at Native Place for Rs250. Bike I wanted to enjoy this ride too; hence I sat on the driving seat wearing a single glove in the ice chill weather. It was a different experience wherein Sun was trying to put some warmness over me but cold won the battle.

Day 1:

Day 1 started with familiarizing with the place and people. I met the co-founder Sanjay Rao there and introduced myself as the person who almost made him rich by Rs 1lakh. There is a history to it; I had added an extra zero while transferring the course fee. It was nice of him that he reversed the amount with humor. It was a very stupid mistake of mine. Anyways, coming back to the place, it was beautiful where lake met the hills and the hills met the skies, amazing place to relax. I just hung with the people as I always did during such trips. We left for the first days exercise after lunch which was Ground Handling, learning the basics of a glider, harness, braking, etc. The place was near an abandoned ashram construction. There were numerous skeletal buildings; someone said that it looked like a shooting spot for a Sci-Fi movie. This day we just had to pull the glider up, run for around 80 meters and move according to the direction of glider to maintain the equilibrium. Paragliding is done against the wind, hence maintaining the glider in the wind and running squeezed out energy from each cell in my body. It was very very tiring; I would take a break of 10 mins after each run. ExhaustedI had my mind occupied with something else too which made the day even worse. We got back to Native place by 7 in the evening. After every session there would be a theory class. We had to enter the log, glider details, wind speed and mistakes we made during the day. Those who want to seriously learn Paragliding, then I think this is a good place in India. Fly Nirvana gave us good exposure both practically and theoretically and the instructors are so damn helpful and friendly. I preferred solitude for the rest of the day and wanted to sleep as I hadn’t slept nicely the previous night due to the journey.

Day 2:

Most of us were looking forward for day 2 as day 1 was tiring and no flying had been done yet. We left early in the morning to a place called Shinde Hill and had breakfast at the foot of the hill. It was a beautiful place where Sun was rising in the east and the moon setting in the west and the mist just hung around to sooth our eyes. During this session we had to climb up some part of the hill and have small flight called Bunny Hops. We would fly for around 30 seconds, 10-15 feet above the ground. This was to perfect our launching and landing actions. It was the second flight which I really enjoyed and I said few words in my mind which I actually cannot say henceforth. It was an amazing experience in the air. I had travelled in a totally different mode of transport after 23 years. Glider I completed 6 small flights this day with minute problems while landing. En route Native place I had a nice chat with people in the bus. It was interesting to hear about the love marriage of the only couple in our batch, I learnt that Andaman is the nearest best Scuba diving place which took Scuba diving to move in the top place in my adventure list. We reached Native place for lunch, during which a person there appreciated me for the fact that I had come alone without a group for the course. And again, I was the youngest in our batch. Native place was more like a house than a hotel, where people had food at any place they liked, where people from different ethnicity came together for a chat. I love adventure and the experience surrounding it, getting to know more people, brainstorming about numerous things, etc. There was one funny instance where people had to share their experience in their native language which most of others wouldn’t understand. My favorite one was from a Marathi guy who quoted the place as “Nisarga Ramya” meaning beautiful nature place. I and some of my new friends just took a walk near the lake after lunch, it was sunny. Actually I realized the importance on sun glasses only during this trip; it saved me when we were on the hills in the bright sun.Sun Glasses A guy was fishing and I got a chance to cast there. The dinner was served on terrace on both the nights. This night was quite relaxing; I just sat facing the calm lake reminiscing recent events in my life. We played Dumb charades before sleeping wherein I came to know few old Hindi movie names.

Day 3:

It was a big day we were waiting for. We had to glide from the top of the hill which was at 150 feet. We had to carry our things all the way to top of the hill, it was exhausting. I took the first flight in our batch, completed it successfully. Fly Nirvana had made the course look so easy for me; I didn’t feel the fear of falling or any accidents. Listening to the instructions via radio from the instructor, I completed the flight smoothly and landed safe. It was like a winning moment, as if I had achieved something in my life.Yes Yes I had a total of three flights on Day 3, after each flight people there would be ready to carry our stuff to top of the mountain for some money, I obviously had to opt for it, as I found it difficult to carry my backpack itself let alone the glider. We had to stop early as the wind got stronger. Third flight was more adventurous due to the extra wind which threw me out of balance. I don’t know whether it was due to the safe training conducted by Fly Nirvana or my mind was occupied, there was no fear which resulted in less thrill and excitement. But there was a sense of feeling of achievement after the flight.

Thus, it was a safe, fun and adventurous three days.  This trip was a package of many things, I made some new friends, trekked mountain for quite a number of times, enjoyed what nature had to offer me, etc. I really thank Fly Nirvana and my new friends for sending me back with such rich experience.

I have combined some video clips of third day. Best viewed in 480p and above.

A bit hatke video : http://popcorn.webmadecontent.org/er1

Nikhil Navali

Categories: Adventure | Tags: | 2 Comments

125 kms of cycling in Western Ghats

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Yes, that’s what I did on August 4th, 5th weekend, my biggest adventure till date.
My neighbor had been on a similar ride somewhere from whom I learned about the club ‘Cycling And More’ (CAM). He sounded like the ride was easy , but I was still skeptical. But that didn’t stop me from hunting CAM s website for best time/route. Finally, I saw a poster which said “Cruise 2 the Coast” route being Bhagamandala-Bekal Fort-Jalsoor covering 145 kms in two days. I was attracted to Bekal Fort, as I hadn’t seen it and it was a ride on western ghats, which I consider heaven on Earth. There were maps for both days’ rides and a graph depicting the elevation for the route. It had a steep slope for first day and gradual uphill on second day. I had a notion, that, I will be descending for the first full day for 100kms as I would be going to sea level and second day would be tough as I would be ascending from sea level. I was totally wrong about this.
Preparation: I don’t think I had prepared for any adventure as much for this. I had called the organizer and was suggested to have gloves and cycling shorts. I visited Declathon Sports shop twice.  Got a Quechua jacket, Btwin gloves and cycling shorts. On asking for advice from a person there, for the number of energy bars to carry, he suggested me to take a box full of 20 bars. I dint buy his words, took only 4 energy bars, 2 Gatorade bottles and hoped that it would help replenish my energy.  (2 bars and 1 bottle were still left after the ride 😀 ) I was prepared with things I thought would suffice for the ride and was excited. As I work in 2- 11 shift, I had to bunk the office for half day to catch the bus on Friday night. I had worked extra the previous night with manager’s permission to leave early on Friday. Still there was lots of work on Friday, I was in so much hurry that I had thought I lost my wallet and almost blocked my credit card, with my wallet safely hid in the bag. The journey till pick point was tiring; it was raining and in a city like Bangalore, I always felt the journey to other places easier than moving from an area to another in city.
Day 1 :
We reached Bhagamandala in Madikeri district early in the morning. After the breakfast we were allotted cycles according to height. I got a MTB Merida, which was my chariot for the next two days. I checked my brakes and other stuff; everything was fine other than that it didn’t have a stand. We all took instructions and were set to conquer the Western Ghats. The first few kms were bit uphill where my cycle chain snapped. I called for help as I didn’t know a thing about fixing a cycle other than pumping air into the tires. It was 7 years since I had cycled properly, fortunately nothing happened after this. The cycle was a great companion all through the trip. It was about time I experienced the first and the steepest leg of the whole ride, it stretched for about 15 kms. I couldn’t enjoy it to the fullest as the bag which I had clipped to the crossbar was giving bloody kisses to the tire, worse, the road was patchy. By the time the steep was over, I had found a nicer place for my bag to be clipped and that helped a lot, as I didn’t have anything on my back and still carried things. I had made a list of places for the route till lunch as to have a track of where I was. I had a long way to go. As I was passing by, kids were giving me high 5s and I could see elders giving an encouraging smile. This boosted my energy and made the ride less painful. But as I covered the road, people became hostile; they looked at me as if I was an alien with a helmet and a jacket. I was getting tired and the ride was turning out to be painful km by km. I was desperately riding to get to Odayanchal, the lunch place. I pushed the cycle during uphill many a times, and before every town there was one!! Finally I reached the lunch place and I was one of the first three to reach that place. A fellow cyclist patted me for the nice ride as it was my first one. We had lunch and I was thinking that we will be descending to sea level and the ride would be easy, I was wrong again. There was little descend and most of the afternoon part was very difficult for me. The rains and clouds didn’t come to my rescue too. It was too hot and it was 23 kms to Bekal fort which I found hard to believe that it was just 23. This was the part where I had pushed the most, the most in my life. Never was I so desperate to reach a place. I didn’t want to wait for the canter to pick me up as I had to finish this one. It wasn’t a descend as I thought, but plain and little graduations, very very tiring. The glimpse of the fort was so relieving in the end. I made the final pedals for the day to reach the fort only to find my bums aching so much that I couldn’t even walk properly and that didn’t give me the pleasure to enjoy the beauty of the fort and it was too sunny. I was in the first lot of riders to reach the fort which made me a loner in an expert’s lot. They set to pedal for the last 20 kms for the day to reach Kasragod, the halting place but I chose to call it a day. I went and enjoyed the cold waters of beach, met the other riders outside the fort and travelled to Kasargod in bus. I slept a good night’s sleep at Speedway Inn after a sumptuous meal at a Udupi hotel.

Day 2: 
I asked my fellow rider whether it was ok to continue with the paining bum or just sit and watch the scenery from the bus window. He told me that it was usual to pain and asked me to go on. I wanted to reach the 100km mark, hence thought that I will ride till breakfast and few more thereafter to make it 100 but little did I know that I would complete the ride for that day which would make the total count to 125km. I had seen the graph that there was a steep uphill at Mulleria after breakfast at 15kms, which was a sign of full stop for me. But fortunately for me, the breakfast point was kept at a further point and I had unknowingly finished that uphill, by pushing of course. I learned that breakfast was at 22 km mark and I saw a descent in the graph in just few kms. I really wanted to enjoy it, hence decided not to stop at breakfast though I had covered 100 kms in two days. This steep was awesome, smooth road, no smooches between my bag and tires and awesome weather. I continued cycling, wanted to go as far as possible, happy that I chose to pedal, as this turned out to be the most beautiful part of the whole ride. Greenery all around soothed my eyes and mind, at times I just left my hands and embraced the flowing air, enjoyed this part of the ride thoroughly. There was a stretch of few metres which was surrounded with lush green trees, I just sat there to rest enjoying the beauty. Cauvery was flowing along the road which made it even more exciting. My eyes fell upon a bridge across the river, I didn’t know that I could cycle there until I saw a person taking his bike on it. Water on both the sides, and just a series of wooden planks to ride on, amazing experience indeed. Had a tasty glass of butter milk too there. It was just few kms to Jalsoor, end of the ride. I pedaled the last few kms to find the finish mark which would mark my biggest adventure till date. I was so ecstatic to complete 125 kms and surprisingly the bum pain had reduced. The lunch at Sullia accompanied heavy discussions about ones past adventures. This is one among the things I like about such trips, I get to know people who are experienced and have much to share about other activities which adds to my adventure wishlist. We set off to Bangalore after lunch. I had hardly clicked any pics this time as I dint want to be occupied in its safety, rather wanted to enjoy the ride fully. I bid my fellow riders goodbye and it was around 11.15 p.m. when I reached a point near my home. I had to walk the last few meters to home. Its dogs’ arena at Yemalur, the place where I stay. Dogs started circling around me when I walked, I was a bit afraid but made it to my home hoping not to be chased or bitten, thus ending all the adventures for the weekend.

Nikhil Navali

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , | 5 Comments

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