Firstly, this is not a general blogpost and hence it will not have context to any random person reading it. This is broadly meant for the 14 or so motley crew of my cousins (more specifically the 9 of us who made the climb to the Naina peak) who went on a vacation to a hill station in the spring of 2016. A fascinating fact about that group was that the age bracket stretched from around 8 to 80!
The following post is not a travel blogpost either. This one merely compliments a printed picture book that contains images from that memorable trip and some very important life lessons that i picked up from certain aspects of the trip.
On that trip to Nainital (A pretty popular Hill Station in the state of Uttarakhand, India) we did the usual touristy things that, well, all tourists check off vacation their to-do-list — boat rides, groupfies, strolling & shopping around the marketplace, checking out some adventure sports etc etc.
One thing that was NOT on the to-do-list was to do a trek to the highest peak in Nainital — The Naina Peak ( at 8522 feet above Mean Sea Level. )
I casually proposed this trek to the younger lot (the 2.5+ hour one way climb is a bit of a stretch for the older folks for obvious reasons) thinking that this might be an adventurous addition to the list of itinerary on the trip. Being the super enthusiastic and adventurous bunch of folks that my cousins are, they agreed unanimously in a jiffy.
Within the first few minutes of starting the Trek, i realised that proposing this hike to my cousins, was not the best idea. The narrow, rocky and steep pebbled pathway seemed pretty challenging right from the beginning and i could clearly picture in my mind, some of the folks opting out of the trek far before even the half way point. Some, including a bit myself, were huffing and puffing from the first few steps itself. Two and a half hours of this arduous task was truly looking to be a long shot! To hell with adventure, sitting back the hotel and sipping some freshly brewed tea, while marvelling at the Nainital lake outside from the Hotel verandah, definitely seemed to be a better proposition right now!
Since this ain’t a travel blog about our detailed trekking experience, i’ll cut to the chase and come to the point. A couple of hours and copious quantities of finished bottles of mineral water later, all 9 of us found ourselves atop Naina Peak, enjoying this breathtaking view. (photograph below)
Now, here are the life lessons i picked up while we conquered Naina peak as a family of carefree trekkers.
1.) You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step, and then the next and so on. One step at a time. That is really all you can do.
If we were constantly caught up with the end goal of 8542 feet in mind, then the climb might have been too much of a stretch. Or if we repeatedly checked our cellphones for how much time was left from the estimated 2.5 hours one way climb, it might have turned out to be an ridiculously arduous long haul. Make no mistake, it was still a decently long haul never the less but still very much achievable. Simply because we took one step at a time and moment by moment.
Mile by mile it’s a trial; yard by yard it’s hard; but inch by inch it’s a cinch.
2.) Dream Big. Start Small. ACT NOW.
Here’s a tip we found pretty useful while scaling Naina Peak. Taking small steps and making baby progress at one go. Fifty steps or so. Then rehydrating ourselves with a small sip of water to quench our thirst and refill and reeneygize for a quick rest. Rinse and Repeat till kingdom come, patiently, one step at a time! No major heroics, no machismo, no drama. Boring step by step progress. Consistency is the key. Routine Rules. Remember, even if you are drudging along at a painfully slow pace, as long as you are moving even an inch forward, it is still progress.
3.) We rise by lifting others
Had it not been for the entire group edging each other on throughout each step, this climb might not have seen the light of day. There was no competition, everyone was doing this gig at their own pace and the faster ones were happy to oblige and take it slow to accomodate the rest. In the end, everyone surprised their own self, by making this climb. At least i did, though i had done the clim one time 8 years back. I’m sure some of the others felt the same about themselves. This was a complete team effort. There is always support right round the corner only if we are willing to be open to receive it.
Everyone has their own challenging peak to climb, but while on the trail, every fellow traveller can be a vital support system. Simply because of the fact that they share the journey with you.
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As i’ve mentioned above, everyone is scaling their own peak and challenging their own obstacles and taming their own demons whatever they might me. It helps keeping the above points in mind. One step at a time, consistent progress however tiny it may be and support is always round the corner. We can all scale our own personal Nainia peaks everyday. For some it might be very obvious and physically apparent like a health makeover, for others it may be career, finances, inter-personal relationships or perhaps something more invisible. Truth be told, the personal peaks are way more challenging and higher than most tangible peaks. Looking back the Naina peak was merely couple of hours trek but some peaks a lot of us are silently climbing are lifelong treks. Day in, day out.
Pat yourslef on the back. You’ve come a long long way. Keep Going.
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Before I end, here is one more glimpse from another exciting experience from that trip. It was well worth the try. Thanks to Mampu Da, for unearthing this gem of an experience.