The city of Mumbai has been glorified for many a things- it’s local trains, the dabbawalas (local professionals who carry food from home to office)the street food, the beautiful queen’s necklace decorating the city coastline, street fashion wear, the high life, the night life and many more. But by far, the most underrated thing about the city is its geographical location- close to the Sahyadri ranges Mumbai acts as an access point to many a trekking locations. Even a 2 hour drive from the metropolitan could take you to the lap of nature making it difficult to believe that such natural beauty exists so close to a mega city.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines trekking as “making one’s way arduously” which makes me philosophize that “Life is a trek” This and many such insights flash to you when you are climbing uphill through the farms, rivulets, jungle and rocks to finally reach the peak. To the uninitiated, taking the entire day off to climb up a remote hill doesn’t seem like a great idea. When we have our cinema halls, fine dine restaurants, resorts and shopping malls to spend a weekend, why would anyone want to do this scaled down version of mountaineering anyway? In this era of urbanized rejuvenation, I explore an activity that offers more than what money can buy… Here are my best 7 reasons to trek:
1. Do something different
Not for those to whom “doing something different” means trying a new restaurant or buying a dress with a different color. With trekking you are actually doing something different- you are leaving the hustle and bustle of your city behind for a breath of fresh air and you are climbing for hours up a hill. It will definitely be different from everything you have ever done.
2. Back to Nature
Fascinating scenery everywhere you look, sounds of either the birds or the flowing rivers, smell of soil, grass or even jungle flowers, trekking is a treat to all our senses. You will drink from waterfalls, have a dip too perhaps, look at the clouds from above, without the constrictions of an airplane window-you could even touch the clouds and most importantly you will live a day surrounded by wilderness.
3. A photographer’s delight
With the ubiquity of smart-phones and the popularity of Pinterest, Picassa, Flickr or even facebook, everyone has become a photographer. Trekking can get you the envy-worthy profile pictures. At a trekking trip, everywhere you look is a sight worth capturing- those with DSLRs have a field day but even a 3MP camera gives “wow” worthy pictures…
3. Adrenaline rush
Walking through the jungle, up a hill, miles away from any help if something goes wrong is an adventure in itself. But what I am talking about are the narrow climbs, the rocky patches nestled against a steep drop that could give anyone acrophobia and many a times these narrow rock steps are slippery, adding to the difficulty level. It could scare the hell out of you but it gives you an adrenaline rush. And when you are past the risky patch, you can heave a sigh of relief, thank god for saving your life, feel awesome and beam with pride or take photos of your accomplishment… I generally do all of the above.
4. Test your endurance
If you think you cannot climb 2000ft or more, go trekking and prove yourself wrong. There are times when you feel you won’t make it, even times when you can’t move even a step more- but fellow trekkers keep you moving anyway… you rest at a point for a minute of two, take longer halts midway but you never stop…and as you near the peak, the exhaustion gives way to wonder …
5. The view from the top
All the tiredness, the “can’t walk anymore”, the “missing home”, the “why am I here” feelings that you get at one point into the trek vanish with the view on the top… Sitting at the edge with legs hanging over valleys more than a thousand feet below and enjoying a breathtaking view, a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of wonder and sheer bliss- it’s a feeling you need to experience to know.
6. Meet new people
Trekking with friends always makes for great memories but if you are going with a trekking group, trek is an amazing way to meet different types of people from all walks of life. The laments of the never ending climb, the pep ups, the shared food, water and laughter, fellow trekkers effortlessly share a bond. There’s a good chance you might meet a loony too but then, you never know…
7. Take a break
Pack as little as you can, you’d need to carry it all the way, and leave for the unique journey. Carry your smart-phone along but it will be most useful as a camera with no network in the hilly jungle. Away from the frenzy of the fast paced life, from the noise, the distractions, the stress, give yourself a breezy break and enjoy moments of utter peace. A trek could become your best method to rejuvenate, to refresh… it works for me and I feel it could work for anyone!
All in all, the next time you are in Mumbai, or any other city for that matter, think beyond the restaurants, shopping malls and lazy sight seeing… find the nearest trek spots and enjoy a low-cost getaway! Spend your next weekend uphill… go trekking… and don’t forget to tell me about it!
Feature image: http://bit.ly/MAuE2