It was the end of December last year when immersed in the landscape of the Himalayan Singalila Ridge Trek from Sandakphu to Phalut, in the backdrop of the kanchenjungha, I listened for the first time the latest CD of Sinatra. I was right there among the fog, forests and small towns that I have always nurtured the desire to walk in these places which my parents always resisted being the only child.
Little by little this idea became a reality and was born the crazy idea launched with a group of like minded trekkers in April for a journey that would take place in October, to organize everything, for this adventure and visiting what would become my life’s defining moments, as I also wanted to experience the thrill of walking in those places and conquer, step by step, with that satisfaction that you savour only when it requires sacrifice.
With regular trekkers I was afraid to slow the march and to intrude into the spirit of the group, but the desire to be there was too strong inspite of the initial resistance of my parents and I left home with the fear of being wrong or not up to the journey, but I was greeted by everyone with kindness and thoughtfulness, as if I was always on the road with them.
I did not realize that, not far from me, there was a couple who waited in silence. They started following me suddenly. And rather quickly I went back. I wondered how they live there and what they do and how they spend the boring days in these secluded places of the earth, with no traces of modern life but they only utter one thing that they are very happy and contended in this place and would love to die here rather than amongst concrete jungles and I can only agree with them and offer my smile.
We went ahead without the need to tell each other anything together until the end. These are things that touches my heart with sunrises and sunsets make me ponder how the rush of city life is ruining our inner true selves and how poor are we inspite of us having everything then these people who share the unflinching ecstasy among nature.
When I start to think about those days I would never have imagined a journey so wonderfully complete and my legs were shaking just to say, after 4 days of walking, for around 100 kms of steep ridges at around 3000 vertical meters, and I can only say I did it and I'm proud of myself and all the incredible people who have shared with me every moment of this unforgettable adventure.
The smiles, the dinners, the breakfasts, the nights, the woods, the fog, the breads, water, foot pain, blisters, the infinite steps, screaming muscles, whispering songs, tents, rain, falling leaves, the noise of the branches that break, glides, expecting the uphill, the silences, the beers, the sticks, the local people, the barking of dogs, the deep laughs, the green doors, and the indelible footprints, and I know I can just go on and on to give birth to something magical.
I am left with a deep sense of satisfaction and a smile that cannot be erased with the fog covering the trees that confuses the trail which is like a cry of hope that you cannot listen. You know that the road is, not to bow your head, but to reassure yourself with the steps in front and behind you, and just move on and understand that the joy often hides in the effort and waiting for something that, this time, has become reality with that continuous and obsessive sound of waterfalls and hilly streams.
This trek was special for me because it showed that we can realize our dreams, and we should not underestimate our abilities and that we can reach a great happiness if we can appreciate the simplest things that we have around us everyday, the beauty and intensity of nature, mutual aid, a word of encouragement, laughing together, and sharing the effort and satisfaction.