My greatest adventure
As a family, we often travel to many parts of the world; we have been engaged in many types of adventures together as we enjoy quality time. We marked down all of our adventures, but one of the most memorable adventures is when we traveled to Brazil last year. I was excited because I had longed to go for a bungee jump to conquer my fears of heights. After 7 hours in the air, we finally arrived in Brazil to start our one-week holiday. When I looked at the site, I was comforted by the fact that it was a beautiful place. Below the bridge was a blue river running in the middle of the mountains. This place was going to help me overcome my fears. The bungee jumping instructor said that all I need to do is climb to the top and then jump. For him the process was simple since a rope was tied on one of my legs to prevent me from falling into the river, this was a bold move I was about to make.
I climbed on top of the mountain; the view was breathtaking I did not realize how beautiful the world was until I was 44 feet above the ground ready to fall down the river. Bungee jumping was something I had never tried before, even though there were instructors who gave the best pep talks, cracking jokes just to make me be at ease, I was still afraid of jumping. They were the best because they managed to convince thousands of people to go down the river with only a rope tied to their legs as the only safety guarantee. I do not know how long they had been doing this job, but one of them looked straight into my eyes with a smug look on his face and said to me, I have been doing this for a long time .He encouraged me that after jumping you, I will feel much better. At this point, I looked down at my feet as the instructor asked me to move closer to the edge of the jumping area, I was a nervous wreck, they told me not to look down, but it was not easy to avoid it.
When I saw, the ground below I felt like backing out. I just remembered that I had made a long trip for the experience, so I had to do it. I asked myself what could be the worst thing that could happen. Something in my mind kept telling me not to do it, but somehow the voices next to me kept saying I could do it. When they started counting down from 6 to 1 that was my queue to jump. I had only watched such thing in movies. I believed that it was impossible to jump down the river like in the movies. I imagined myself screaming like a possessed person fighting imaginary ghosts.
I looked around if I could get something to hold onto but there was nothing. I eventually accepted my fate by allowing myself to fly by the time I was half way through I felt as if I was in another world, this is what I had been dreaming of. Jumping down the river was one of the craziest things I had ever done my whole life. I could not imagine doing it for the second time because what I had gone through was terrifying. I cannot imagine if I would survive another round of bungee jumping. Even though I did not die, what I experienced was enough to make me not think of bungee jumping again.
“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” ~ Edward Abbey
It was a fine cold winter night on the 14th of November,2000 when a group of excited Classes 6th-7th school kids embarked on a journey of self-discovery and exploration.We were accompanied by our teachers- Kalpana ma'am,Meera ma'am,Srinivasan sir and Biswas sir. Our target destination was to Pachmarhi (also called as Satpura ki Rani-The Queen of Satpura) located at southern Madhya Pradesh,in the Satpura Hill Range.
The trip was special to me in two ways. Firstly, it was the first time I was travelling without my parents and in the company of friends. Secondly, it was not a routine sightseeing trip,but rather an adventure trip. Yes, when I mean adventure, I mean,sleeping in tents,on rugs spread out on the cold floor in the camping site, campfires every night, trekking on steep ,narrow paths cut into the hills,cooking in the forest, camping in the forest known to be inhabited by bears,rock climbing, rappelling,going without having a bath straight for 2 days and what not.
The two-day long train journey from Hyderabad to Piparyia, the station closest to Pachmarhi, was a mixture of fun and frolic interspersed with a tint of mischief,courtesy some of the boys and one of the teacher who lost no opportunity in applying toothpase on to unsuspecting co-passengers in deep slumber.
At Pachmarhi, the sight of pitched tents and steaming hot food at the campsite greeted us. Mr. Avinash Deoskar and his wife, Bimla Negi,both of whom are ardent adventurers and close friends of our school Director, Shri Y.K Gurwara were present to invite us.Bimla Negi, in addition to being the president of the National Adventure Foundation-Nagpur Chapter, has also scaled Mt. Everest apart from a number of other mountain peaks.
It was freezing cold and we glad to dig into the food,capturing every joule of heat energy to help us stay warm.Sleepy and tired after a long journey, we fell asleep.Our beds were made out of rugs spread onto the hard cold cement floor which was built on a platform raised a few feet from the ground.
I got a first taste of what being at an adventure camp feels like. I was rudely jolted out of my deep slumber and it was pitch dark outside.Coupled with that,it was freezing outside.Added to that, we had to brush our teeth with icy cold water,followed by a jog in the dense thick foggy forest surrounding the camp site.
Later on,post breakfast, we were introduced to the first activity-rock climbing (on natural rocks). The instructors explained to us about different rope knobs, hooks and the type of crevices in rocks and how they could be used during mountain climbing. We then had a stint at climbing the rocks.We climbed 2 different rocks, one at a height of 30 feet and another around 40 feet probably.It was one awesome experience for me and I enjoyed the challenge of feeling for crevices/cracks in the rock and then digging in them with my hands and feet that would enable me to climb higher.
It must have been around noon when we returned to the camp site. In the afternoon, we went trekking on one of the hill slopes. In some places the terrain was flat and bushy while in some places it was steep with a deep valley bordering it on one side,the valley filled to every inch by trees. It was my first experience at a real trek and it left me exhausted.At the end of the trek, we came across the Silver Falls (also known as Rajat Prapat), perhaps one of the highest waterfalls in that area.It must have been around 350 feet.
The day ended with a campfire.We were divided into groups and each group had to perform either a dance/song.
The following days, I was pretty much prepared for the day's strenuous activities and despite them, they always left me very exhausted. Apart from rock climbing, we had rappelling which is climbing down a mountain-rather, a steep descent from a cliff.It was my second favourite activity after rock climbing. We even had a whole day trekking to Chauragarh, the second highest peak. At the top of the peak is a temple of Lord Shiva.This trek is etched in memory because of a bunch of monkeys who jumped on my head out of nowhere and grabbed my chips packets.
We even spent two days-nights in the forest.We had set up tents in the middle of the forest beside a stream. That region of the forest was pretty much populated by bears and monkeys though we did not see any bears. Patrolling around the tents at night was a must for us and one student did play a prank on us by scaring us out of our wits.
Other memorable activities include trekking and bathing in a shallow waterfall. Following this, each of the groups had to cook something with the stuff they were handed-vegetables, sticks,no utensils. This was termed forest cooking and our group managed to make some brinjal subji using fire made from sticks and leaves as plates.We had to use twigs and branches to roast the brinjals over the fire.Sunset at the Dhupgarh (highest point in Pachmarhi) was also a beautiful sight to behold.
All in all, it was an unforgettable trip and we returned home with a rich learning experience and a lifetime of memories.Unfortunately, I did not carry my camera with me (yes it was not a digital camera but the one with film) as my parents thought it would be too risky.