Being a student of Sainik School Korukonda, Andhra Pradesh, adventure has always been a close ally to me. Of numerous adventures I had during my tenure of military discipline there, the special adventure course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute occupies a special place in my heart. My course there was a week long, and that week, indeed, has been a very memorable memory of my lifetime.
Image courtesy : Himalaya-alpine
I was a student of class 8th when our school authority decided to send our whole batch on that course. I vividly remember it took us two days to reach New Jalpaiguri station, from where we took a bus to Darjeeling. It was indeed a spectacle to watch the clouds going down as our bus rode up the altitude, crossing the mountainous terrain. It was the month of April, but the temperature there was very low. New Jalpaiguri didn’t give us the wave of cold that the night there at Darjeeling gave us.
We were warmly received by the authorities of HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute) and were allotted our rooms respectively. Each room had accommodated eight students; it was a double cot with eight beds. I must really mention the mattress; it was the softest cushion I had ever felt. It was more than double the width of a mattress I had ever slept on. And the blanket there was so wooly, even the cold winds though penetrated the room couldn’t actually penetrate the blanket. The rooms there were spacious and had mess underground. Other than this, the campus also had a shop to purchase small mountaineering equipments, a mountaineering museum and a zoo. It was a perfect tourist spot, but we were there for some adventure.
We were woken up at 4 am in the morning. We had our morning tea and then were taken for a morning drill comprising of all types physical exercises. After we came back we freshened up, and then accommodated at the ground where we were given our equipments like a rucksack, a harness, ropes and a sleeping bag among with a utility breakfast box. Immediately after that, without wasting any time, we were taught how to make mountaineering knots. We were all made to try and do that, it was the basics of mountaineering. Without ropes it’s almost impossible to make a climb. We had our training till evening, and after that we were free to spend our leisure time strolling nearby. There was canteen too which sold delicious pakoris; I vividly remember its taste.
The next day, we went to the Tenzing rock for our first real time rock climbing training. It was indeed an adventurous experience. All safety precautions were being carried out by the trainers, ropes were being fastened around our waist to keep us suspended in the air if at all we lose our grip from the rock and slip; I slipped once. I felt I nearly died. It got my adrenaline pumping up high.
The next day we had a group obstacle racing competition. It was real fun, for this was not an individual test but a test of how we come up as a team, and inducing team spirit within the members was its main motive. Thus two days passed by, within no time. When things keep us occupied, it becomes really difficult for us to keep track of time, maybe that was the reason why our time at HMI passed off fast.
Our next four days were spent outside the HMI campus, trekking. Now with that word trekking, I don’t really need to explain what it actually means. And yes, we trekked for four incredible days, which means four incredible days of inerasable memories. We trekked along the mountains, the rocks, the steep hills, the roads both muddy and plastered, along the grasses and bushes, by edge of mountains, inside the forests like those of Amazon with clean water flowing right beneath the edge we were walking. It was indeed a great experience passing through these different terrains. Yes, some were difficult to walk on, but now, at this very moment, I am happy that I did it. We even touched the border of Nepal, and had our lunch there.
After four tiresome but rich-with-experience journeys on foot, we came back to our campus. It was a day off, and we slept the whole day. That was one of the best sleep, I feel. The next day we headed for sports climbing, where we had to climb a wall with the same terrain as the mountain created artificially. We climbed using the same safety precautions we used during our climb on Tenzing rock. This was more fun for we had had already an experience.
The next day was the day of tour where we visited the nearby zoo and museum. And thus a week passed and we were at the verge of leaving the campus. It seemed to me that a week of my adventurous life was over. Yet now, at this point of time, I want to relive this experience.
So have you ever had an experience of this kind? No? Then what are you waiting for? There is no particular time for having an adventurous experience, it’s always now.