“The trek uphill begins modestly along tea plantations, but then it gathers momentum and gravity. The mountain slowly rises under your feet, which you could feel in your calf muscles. Stop. Take a deep breath. Walk again. Your lungs are refreshed with the mountain air. Slowly the panoramic views of the valleys emerge out of the morning air to claim your rapt attention.
The heart-shaped pond: After an hour, with the gaped mouth, you stand on the banks of a pond laid carefully on a bed of crispy green meadow. Nature doesn’t mince its symbols to tell you how much you’re still loved, your eyes well up at the sight of the spectacular sight of heart-shaped pond which you wanted to see all your life. It is around a 3 km trek from the base camp.”
We were a team of 9 people aged 25 to 52 who trekked the peak. Following are some lessons we learned:
Earlier we have done some easy/moderate treks to Antara Gange and Avani hills. This time we selected Chembra Peak which is difficult for us to achieve. The goal was to reach the heart-shaped lake on top of Chembra Peak which also offered a stunning view of Wayanad.
Half the battle was won when the team agreed to trek chembra peak. Individually, we may not have even dreamed of trekking this peak but as a Team, although it was still difficult, we were ready to give it a shot with a little bit of cooperation and a boat load of enthusiasm (as you read further you will realize why we needed a boatload of enthusiasm.)
Trekking gets people to walk together while supporting and motivating each other. It helps you identify the characters of people like leaders, carers, adventurous, risk takers, etc.
No goal can be achieved without planning and research. Identifying a beautiful resort near the peak was the first challenge. Luckily we found one amongst the clouds at the top of a tea garden with private access to a crystal clear stream flowing within the property.
We also had to prepare people with the right gear and outfits to conquer this trek otherwise it would have been impossible. So off came our casual footwear and we put on our sturdy shoes.
Sharing and Caring
While people are highly competitive at work, trekking isn’t a competition. It is never the goal to reach first. There were multiple challenges during the trek. There are times when the path isn’t clear. The adventurous in the team go first and find the path for others to follow. People go through highs and lows. There were times when people wanted to give up. That is the time when others slow down, motivate and help people to carry on. There are times when we encounter unruly crowds on the path. It is your close friends who provide a protective barrier.
Leech bites, which were a surprise element, caused people to panic and react violently but with the support of others, people learned to respond normally.
People try to have minimum luggage during the trek but when a friend needs something, they are happy to share precious resources like water, snacks, and first aid. The entire team also stops if someone needs to take a quick break.
One of the team members found a nice trekking stick and instead of using it for themself, they offered it to me, the oldest member of the team. (That stick was literally a godsend.) I am not sure I could have completed this trek with as much ease without the stick.
One important fact about Chembra peak is that only the first 200 people are allowed to trek up the mountain. So we needed to be there as early as possible.
Here the early risers took it upon themselves to wake the night owls and push them to get ready in time. Then we made it through the misty darkness to the bottom of Chembra after a quick breakfast. Luckily we reached just in time and witnessed quite a few disappointed parties being rejected.
Since it was an early morning trek, people had to make do with breakfast at a small roadside shack which isn’t your usual, optimal and fancy setting that we are so used to now. One teammate who could not take up the trek due to unspecified reasons was given company by another teammate who sacrificed their experience.
Since we were the last batch coming down, we made sure not to leave anybody behind accounting for their pace. Even the looming dark clouds and intermittent rains did not make the more able people in the group leave the pack and seek shelter for themselves.
As part of CloudOnHire tradition, when we reached the summit, the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 employee of the year awards were handed out with a loud round of applause and celebration. Soon after, there was an explosion in selfies as people celebrated their achievements inside and outside the office.