Those who travel to the mountain tops are half in love with themselves and half in love with -The Oblivion !! ~Robert Macfarlane
And that explains why ,out of the zillion names available, I chose “The Oblivion” as the name of my domain. 😀 😀
In awe with the name ,its difficulty level and the excitement of crossing Kanchenjunga National park by walk, made Goechala the number one in my To-Do High Altitude Trek list .Having done Roopkund before, I was well aware of the level of preparation I needed for a trek of this level but at the same time I was expecting the unexpected because mountains are mysterious and each one of them is different.So was Goechala and unlike Roopkund , it was incredibly long and it tested our patience and will power in a much more stringent way.
But, regardless of all the hardships, now when I am back to my cubicle and those long hours of “excruciating” walks through the colourful Rhododendrons, dreamy tall Pines ,the bold and the beautiful Oaks, the scary big Rocks, the beautiful curvy brooks, the steep slopes and the glaring snow covered majestic mountain peaks in the front are all a memory, I can so very well understand the quote which says ~ “Between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery WHY we climb” .
And here are the few mysteries revealed…..
All that will matter in the end is “The Journey”…..
We know it all,don’t we??But every now and then we need a self realisation,hence….. visit the mountains.
The trek started from Yuksom ,the base camp and a beautiful hamlet in Sikkim.It was a 11 day and 100 km long trek but little did we knew that not only the length of the trek was more but also the kilometres that we were supposed to cover on most of the days would be around 15-20 kms. These might sound a small number but when done on a difficult trail like Goechala, it eventually forces you to give up.And that’s where we got to carry ourselves forward coz in the end neither the pain of those steps that you take nor the happiness of the instant relief of giving up will be retained.All that you will remember will be the roads that you have travelled with a smile on your face.
So no matter what, DO NOT GIVE UP!!!
Take one step at a time,better than the previous one…
and when it comes to life
Take one day at a time,do something which makes you at least 1% better than what YOU were yesterday.
Be thoughtlessly aware of your surrounding….Its a luxury!!!
Yuval Noah Harari says, “The only difference between Us-The Sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom is that the animals believe and live in the OBJECTIVE REALITY i.e. The River, The tree, The sky, The Sun, The Star, The fruits etc but we live in a dual world one of “The (dormant) Objective Reality” and the other of “The (overpowering) Imaginative Reality” like Money, God, States, Human Rights, Job ,basically everything that is built by some belief system and hence the reason for the destruction of this beautiful Earth“
Dzongri(13,024 ft) was our 3rd campsite after Sachen(8,654 ft) and Tshoka(9,701 ft) and ,we had to spend 2 days here to get acclimatised .2 days,48 hours, with nothing else to do, sounded really long. However,after a long trek of 15 kms frm Tshoka to Dzongri and also with a warning to get up by 2:30 next morning to catch the sunrise at Dzongri top at 13,778 ft , everyone was asleep by 6:00 P.M and thus the first 24 hours did not appear much difficult.
Next morning,it was indeed a tough and steep climb till the Dzongri top but watching the sun rising in blend with the clouds and the mountains made it worth being there before sunrise.
Nevertheless,the whole trek was over by 7:00 A.M and we had another 24 hours to spend before we set off for Thansing(12,946 ft) via Kokchurang , our next campsite. Given the Sapiens that we are, I thought it would be really difficult to see the clock tick away for those 24 hours.But ,to my amazement we spent the whole time sitting on a bench with the huge rocks in front us,watching the beautiful brook flow near by ,observing the mules change their shift in grazing ,eating steamy hot momos and feeling the day slowly turning into pitch dark night without getting bored even for a second.I was jolted that how “Doing Nothing” actually brought us in harmony with the creation of God and that moment of living in the objective reality and being thoughtlessly aware of the surrounding was actually BEING ALIVE .
When tired, look back and feel proud for the distance you have covered and keep going again!!!
Lamuney (13,743 ft) was supposed to be the last camp site after Thansing ,from where we had to summit ,but with the news spreading that the wind there has become merciless enough to blow away the tents,we made Thansing our last campsite thus making the day of the summit the longest and the toughest one of 20 kms. But we were amidst the mountains and mountains make you high :D.
So nothing seemed to stop us.
However,in every struggle a point comes,where we feel that this is it,this is the global maxima of my endurance and beyond this I am going to capitulate . So was this last day of the trek.It tested our patience and physical strength unlike any other day.But the only thing that kept me going was every time i stopped to take rest,instead of calculating how much distance i am left to cover ahead,i turned back and looked at those long, scary, rocky patches which i have just traversed to be where I am standing right now and that wasn’t easy either.This gave me immense strength to accept the fact that the road ahead will be much more difficult than what I have already covered,but when I am there standing at the top I will be proud of myself.
So, all you need to do is trick your mind to believe that you can do it and your body will follow!
Nights in the mountains are safer and more beautiful than those in the cities!!!!
It was 12:15 A.M when the alarm blew off on the summit day!!!
Little hesitant to come out of my warm cosy sleeping bag,I snoozed the alarm for another 5 mins and was about to doze off again when I heard Sayandeep and Arafat(2 of my co-trekkers) sighing at the amazing sight of our Milky way.Ignoring the cold, the sleep, the night ,I just sprang up to open the tent and peeped outside, and what I saw was nothing less than some magic……The sky was sprinkled with stars and few of them that colonised together to form our milky way was stretching right above my head.
Hoping the milkyway to accompany us till the summit I hurriedly went inside my tent to pack my day pack, but it had already started fading out.By the time I came out, it already gone. However,mountains are a quarry and every step is an amazement.And so were we amazed once again by the towering sight of Mount Pandin,just behind our tent.It had been cloudy when we reached Thansing and hence we had missed seeing it,but in that pitch dark night under the silvery light of the glowing moon,Mount Pandim slowly showed up and IT WAS SHIMMERING!!!!With just the moon as our shield behind and Mt Pandim as our guide ahead we marched in that clueless night for our summit at 1:00 A.M and I gave a serious thought to the irony that how different the same night would have been in the infamous affluent cities.
Happiness is fleeting, spread it before it’s lost!!!
While in mountains ,there are no strangers.Every being you meet is connected by the pain they bear everyday, the sense of satisfaction they get on reaching the summit, the numbness of the cold and the love for the mountains. Anyone you come across is greeted with a smile and best wishes. I believe the pain we take to reach the summit builds a mysterious bond amongst the trekkers .We share our stuff, we care for each other and also cheer up those who are about to loose hope . It’s a place we understand that happiness is meant to be spread and not contained within ourself.
The Last Dinner with the wonderful people I met there!!!!
But now when I am back to the jungle of people, I still look for that smile in the strangers and while I sit in front of my Mac, writing this blog and remembering those days when I had turned into a real human from a mere machine who operates from 9-6,
I continue to be the same person as I was up there in the mountains till THE MOUNTAINS call me again!!!