My girlfriend and I are five weeks into a year long trip around the world. We chose Canada as our first stop because we are from London which means that we had no problem with language and communication. Also Canadians are reputable for being the most friendly people in the world, and although we are travelling on a budget there was still so much for us to do there. Activities such as hiking, swimming and cycling are day to day things that can be done almost anywhere that we visited at no cost or with something very nominal.
At the top of that climb, we could see only rocks ahead of us. Big boulders, roundish and lying on top of each other. It covered a massive flat area, the size of two football fields. It suddenly seemed like we were on an alien planet, with a completely different topography. Even though it seemed like we could just walk and hop over the rocks, the sheer size of each rock would make it a difficult passage. It was a glacial landform, that had changed the entire landscape of the area a couple of years ago. There was an actual glacier underneath those massive boulders. And as the person we met on the climb told us, there was a “dhalaan” somewhere, which meant the hard ice of the glacier had given away to form sort of a crater in the middle of that boulder field.
Hearing the word ‘Sacred’ naturally inculcates some sort of curiosity within me. This time when I heard the word in line with the word ‘Forest’, my excitement reached new levels. A week later, when I finally visited the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, I felt a vibe which was ethereal and difficult to explain.
“How high are we?” I asked Ganesh bhaiya and the answer left me both “speech and weight” – less; 2200 feet! Well, that is how I felt while paragliding over the Pawna Lake in Pune, surrounded by the dauntingly beautiful Kamshet mountains, standing as sentinels of Mother Nature. The feeling could be described as that of excitement and adventure but that would be putting it mildly; very mildly. I thought that I would be scared out of my wits for this was the first time I was undertaking such an adventure and had no preconceived notion as to what to expect out of this imposed ordeal for it was my friend Amitesh who, against my will, took me on this expedition of sorts; and truth be told, I was petrified because I kept on thinking about the unfathomable possibilities that the unknown might present me with. What followed was something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
The saying “Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul” is true to the word. However in my scenario, both my pocket and soul were empty! I couldn’t do much about the pocket as salary day was still 15 days away; filling my soul with a new experience seemed like a good option. Adventures like Rafting, Paragliding and others require you to spend quite a fortune; fortune worth enough to pay my 3 month electricity bill but Hiking or Trekking don’t require much of one’s forever disappearing moolah. With a budget of mere 1300 bucks, I decided to take a Trek to Sandhan Valley which one of my friend marketed to me as the ‘Fireflies Trek’.