When we trekked earlier (in the 90s) it was in small groups. We knew each other well and had that bonding and trust that made trekking with each other such a pleasure. We were a family. Those bonds have even today stood the test of time. I relive those wonderful days when we used to trek with our "families"
Treks created a high level of trust for each other cos in the mountains it was only us for each other.
We used to eat together, share our lives with each other and so on. Once in a when we had big groups for some treks, it was lot of fun.
One of my most memorable treks was Manikgad with Shyam. It was just two of us. Decided to trek on saturday night, took the last train to Karjat, on the way referred to the book that we used and decided to go to Prabalgad.
On reaching chowk some villagers advised us against going there as the place was densely vegetated and infested with snakes. So we decided to go to Manikgad instead. We went to Talavli and set out for the fort. We lost our way and had no clue where we were. So we thought of exploring the forest for a few hours before we started looking for the nearest village. We were enjoying ourselves on the bank of a river with theplas etc till a villager came and offered to take us there.
What a wonderful trek it was. Just the two of us. Wandering in the midst of nature. It was fine if we didnt reach the top, we were just there, enjoying every moment. Enjoying nature !
We have now progressed from those days to V Hikerz, which today has almost 400 members. Our treks have a good response and there are around 20 people even for the tougher treks.
This brings with it the challenges. How to keep the group together. There are a lot of inexperienced guys who are so enamoured by trekking that they keep going on their own and even lose their way sometime.
There is also the challenge of having everyone comfortable during a trek. This means keeping contacts of villagers who provide food etc to trekkers, organising everything at the right time etc. It actually involves thinking of the group as a whole entity.
This is a great feeling to have, being responsible for the group as a whole. The effort is huge. At times thankless, which is fine. It is normal human tendency not to appreciate a job well done.
Even in this case the concept of extended family works. When we trek together the bonding is there and we are there for each other. Again the bigger the group the more the fun.
Today we are a trekking group and new members are joining all the time. When we announce a trek to a certain destination, we ideally want to reach the top. There is a certain amount of pressure that we meet our deadlines in terms of time and destination, cos we have to get back home in time.
Treks are great !
Whether the group is big or small.
But I miss the treks with the smaller groups that we used to have earlier.
Now the bonding is there, the trust is there, the fun is there