Ever heard someone say that they like traveling but they have no time for it because they are slogging it out at work ?
Well then such people can go for a NIGHT trek! My sisters are one among such busy folks who want to travel.
It’s a good idea if you are really tied for time. I love sleeping, so I wasn’t sure if I would snore the climb or make it to the summit.
Had never done a night trek before and I always try new things, so I joined them.
We left Bangalore by around 11 pm and reached the base camp around 2 am. At the forest office there is an abandoned toilet that can be used, no lights though and it looked like it was unused for centuries. We used the bush-room instead!
After obtaining the permissions our guide led us through a dark route. The darkness wasn’t as surprising. The interesting thing was that, there wasn’t any reward during a night trek coz you don’t get intermittent views. There wasn’t any good looking jungle trail! I mean it wasn’t visible. The group walked in a line carrying a torch in one hand and a long stick in another hand! The stick was given by the trek guide, I thought it was to protect ourselves. May be if I you see a bear (real one), you go "Haiyaaaa Hoon!" and rotate the stick and fight with it! Well am just kidding. He probably gave it to us to help balance ourselves on the steep stretches.
The only rewards we had along the route, were the breathe brakes. It was a full upward climb! Ah well it’s a hill, not a plateau. Having had a good 3 year break since my last trek, I had thought it would be tough! But it wasn’t. Partly because I did not have the luxury to huff and puff coz the right to huff and puff was with my sisters who were trekking for the first time! Which meant I got more time to rest while I was waiting for them to catch a breath.
We reached the peak much before sunrise. There was a cute looking small stone temple on the grey rock. We sat outside because every corner of the temple was taken. It was quite crowded on top! Who says it’s lonely at the top ! ;)
Luckily the mountain top was quite wide, people were quite spread out. So it did not feel crowded.
Our guide setup a campfire with all our walking sticks. It was super cold on top! Jackets that otherwise suffice in the city weather did not help us much as it was drenched in sweat! So do carry a fresh layer of warm clothes in your bag!
And as all treks have it, there was “the trekker’s friend”, a doggie who amused everyone around by just being! We tried feeding it a banana, but the fruit was rejected. So do carry some biscuits if you do not want to be disheartened looking at a hungry innocent face!
At the break of dawn, everyone deserted the campfire and moved to the edges of the mountain to watch the sunrise.
It was still dark all around, but the sky was orange. The sun rays started out as a small crimson dot, slowly drowning the vastness of the sky in orange.
Orange sky, melting hearts and cameras capturing those moments were the highlights at the peak hour of dawn!
We watched the sky change from pitch darkness into brightness, from donning crimson to orange and then finally golden yellow.
The sun was shining bright on to the stone temple on top of the large rock and it looked surreal in the day light!
We left after our hearts fill of sunlight and smiles (and photographs ;-) )
Here is a short time lapse of the morning lights -
The walk back was new for us, because the trail was not visible in the night. It’s a narrow trail in most parts. The climb down was more taxing on the knees than it was to climb up, due to its steepness. However for company there was a view of the vegetation around and the trail itself is quite romantic in few parts (like most jungle trails). When we reached the base and looked up at the hill, it looked like a small hill compared to the amount of time we took to climb and descend it.
From the base we had a short walk to the bus. We sat inside and slipped into deep sleep (read open mouth sleeping :D) until breakfast stop.
For the first timers, comments from the first timers - “It wasn’t a very tough trek and the sunrise was worth all the breathlessness while climbing up”.
Couple of things night trek taught me
1. Appreciation of my vision at night (with a torch of course) :P !
2. Focus / full attention on the trail… I looked only a meter ahead. It’s ok not to be in control of the future steps.
3. Not looking for immediate gratification. There wasn’t anything to see in the dark, our reward was after we reached the summit.
4. Team work! Stop when even one member stops, wait with the last Member in your group. Wait wait, that doesn’t mean that we delayed the group. It meant we enjoyed the trek at our pace rather than competing.
5. Sunrise at Skandagiri is worth being up all night and doing a trek!
Things to remember -
1. Go with a credible group who will take you with the right forest permissions. Be a safe trekker.
2. Carry one extra jacket to wear at the peak. Carry enough water for yourself.
3. And the obvious - Do not leave any wrappers and plastic anywhere on the route or at the peak.
4. Carry your best spirits and come back with an even better state of mind.
PS: All Pictures are © @trailsandFrames