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The Great Expedition

Constant excitement, endless laughter and jokes, singing around the campfire, these are just some of the things I will miss from our action packed adventure trip to Jalori Pass. The trekking expedition to Jalori pass has taught me so much. I don’t think any of us believed we could accomplish the feat of reaching 10200 ft in the biting winds of October, but we made it, and when we did, we were invincible.

On reaching the base camp, we were given a brief insight into what we’d be facing. We were to plan our menus (food that we ourselves had to cook), decide on what would go into our rucksacks and also learn to pitch tents. After a day of fun where we visited the nearby stream and splashed around for a bit, we spent the first night at inme’s base camp. The next day, we were up and ready to charge towards the first campsite. We were taken to the starting point and told where to stop but not which way to go. We had to use our logic and instincts to make our way towards our destination.

When I look back now, the first day’s trek was a piece of cake. But it certainly didn’t feel like that at the time. Thankfully, my friends were walking with me, constantly chattering, distracting me from the exhausting feat of walking uphill while carrying a huge rucksack. On our way we saw a school which was up high on the side of a hill. The students of the school had to trek uphill just to reach the school. This made us realize how lucky we are. Finally, we were able to find the first campsite where we pitched tents and the different teams went to do their different tasks- collecting water, cooking, collecting firewood and washing. After dinner and a few games, we all turned in early.

The next morning, we woke up to be faced with a task. We were split into groups and had to walk to the nearby village and find out about the villager’s culture and lifestyle. After completing this task, we packed up and set off on another day of trekking. I think most of my fellow trekkers will agree with me when I say that Day 2 was the toughest trek. Not only was it scarily steep and felt endless, it just so happened to rain that day. The ground was now muddy and very easy to slip on. There was a lot of falling, but we managed to overcome our difficulties. I saw some of my friends conquer their various fears, such as their fear of heights. After a seemingly never-ending journey we reached the lake around which our campsite was. The feeling of elation that everyone felt that night on having completed the daunting task of the day was evident.

The dawn of the new day saw us beginning our final uphill trek to Jalori Pass which to our surprise, took only a few hours. On the way, a blindfold challenge was thrown at us where we were to pair up and guide our respective blindfolded partners onward by just giving verbal instructions. This helped us to develop a feeling of mutual trust amongst each other. When we finally reached Jalori Pass, everyone was able to fully appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors. While I’m sure there were some moments where each one of us felt like giving up, we persevered. By overcoming each obstacle, we had grown to understand what it means to work in a team.

The next day we walked back to the base camp and everyone was just happy to finally be able to take a shower. After a relaxing day we all gathered to share our personal thoughts, feelings and experiences with the group. I found out about so many things about my classmates that I never knew. I myself opened up in a way I never have. This exercise brought us all closer together as a class. That night, we cranked up the music and had a well-deserved party. Sadly, the next day we had to leave the base camp to go back to the airport. Saying goodbye to the instructors and the place was harder than I thought it would be. But I guess the saying is right-‘Don’t be sad it’s over, smile because it happened.’

Akanksha Shyam

Grade 11 ISC