Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Camping!

This weekend was a whirlwind of fun. Friday night, most of my friends were busy so my housemate Joanna and I decided that the only course of action was to order pizza and ice cream and watch Sex and the City. Ah bliss.

Saturday I had my very first “real” hiking/camping experience. That is, one which involves a bit more than driving to a campsite and picking a spot not too far away from the bathrooms! 9 intrepid explorers from among the staff decided to tackle the nearby mountain ridge of Bennogg Tibba. The Himalayas in their entirety are considered sacred and so there are Hindu temples on many a peak and Bennogg Tibba is no exception. One of my friends had camped there before and he rallied the rest of us to join him on the outing.

The hike was deemed “easy” by the experienced in the group and “grueling” by yours truly. Well, perhaps not grueling but I was more than ready to be there by the time we arrived. It took us about an hour and a half to reach our destination and it was a fairly gradual but relentless incline. I took my designated spot—dead last—and trudged along focusing on breathing and not falling off the edge of the mountain. Not ideal for sight seeing, but I did stop every now and again to catch my breath and look around.

We had a bit of excitement along the way in the form of a brief confrontation with a herd of water buffalo. They were blocking the path and we (no, not "we" but rather Angie, a fearless biology teacher and veteran hiker) decided to go through them rather than around. They took offense and there were a few testy moments when one did a fake charge in our direction but the conflict was resolved peaceably and we continued on our way.

At the temple, four of us set up sleeping bags on the porch and the rest pitched tents. We had a campfire and toasted marshmallows (which you cannot actually buy in India—someone had brought them from the States. Very decadent) and told stories about man-eating leopards. I don’t know whose idea that last bit was, but I was not a big fan, especially not when I had to go wandering into the forest for a bathroom break at 2am. You feel so very vulnerable when peeing in the woods at night.

All in all it was a great trip and I experienced a very deep sense of pride at having managed to both hike and camp successfully. Sort of like that feeling when you first pat your head and rub your tummy simultaneously. Okay, maybe not like that. But it was good.

Much love!

1 Comments:

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