Being sensitive. I used to think that being sensitive means being overly emotional or ‘extra’ about everything. This has changed. Now I think that being sensitive means being aware. It means being so aware that even a droplet falling onto a blade of grass is a sonic boom.
When I go out into nature, into the embrace of something wilder than can be found in our cities, something about me is different. I feel a heightened level of sensitivity. All of a sudden, I’m more aware of myself and of my surroundings- my breath, my heartbeat and the crunching of pebbles under my feet.
Perhaps it is the pursuit of this heightened state that leaves me wanting to go back to the mountains, in spite of the fact that the climbing bit is quite a struggle.
Day 3 of our expedition saw us leave Seri and move onwards to our destination for the day- Tainta, which would also serve as the base camp for our summit attempt on day 5. Ascending from Seri to Tainta was tough. The overall ascent for the day was approximately 1,000 feet (305 meters). We began with a steep incline up the face of a mountain overlooking day 2’s camp. The goats scattered across the meadows of Seri soon became specks. My heart pumped, my lungs heaved and my mind thought about lunch.
Soon, we reached the top. It was like an idyllic and untouched land shrouded in the coolness and moisture of clouds. The walking for the day however, was not yet over. We were yet to cross two freezing cold streams barefoot before we could make it to camp.
Tainta is at the base of a series of snow-capped peaks, including Deo Tibba (6001m), Jagatsukh (5300m) and a couple of other peaks that I don’t know the names of. The only way forward from Tainta, is up into the snow.
Jagatsukh would have to wait for another day as we set up camp at Tainta and prepared for the night. The rest of the day was spent in sleeping, playing chess, drinking soup and playing Atlas. As evening neared, it got cold and we were hit with a hailstorm.
As the sun’s light slowly disappeared and the stars started to come out, I realised that the next 2 days were going to be much harder than the previous 2 ones.
“This is exactly what I came for,” I thought to myself as I gazed at the intimidating silhouette of Jagatsukh peak in the darkness. Soon, our group would conquer this beast.
In the next entry of this series, I’ll be covering our acclimatisation hike to Chandrataal lake, which is 15,500 feet (4,724m) high. Stay tuned for Day 4!