What does one feel about a trek that did not succeed in reaching where it was intended to reach? Disappointment, of course, but does it leave you with a feeling akin to what you would feel if you made a tourist trip to Agra and failed to see the Taj?
Much depends on what you intended to experience on a trek. A few days away from the mundane, good company, great views and being close to nature are all take-aways from a trek no matter what the destination. The view of glorious starry skies; the gentle susurrus of a river by the campsite; majestic icy peaks; the glory of a sunset over tree-clad mountains; the shy smiles of unassuming little flowers dotting the landscape and the ineffable peace of your surroundings are all a great balm to the soul and it would be a pity to let a minor disappointment ruin the experience for you.
The problem for me was that the fourth day did not allow me to dwell on all the beauties that I had experienced. Amongst the various other infirmities of the body that I live with is this tendency for my belly to fill up with gas given minimal provocation. Friends have been known to comment that Mukesh Ambani could eke out the production of his gas wells by putting a pipe down my gullet. The fourth day was one such day and I descended back to civilization very apprehensive about the hour and a half journey to Gangnani by road.
We hit Gangnani with no mishap. Hari, who shares my aversion to road journeys and had vehemently displayed it on the way up, was as quiescent as I was and we booked into the hotel with relief. My problems started at the hotel when I started spewing from both ends leading to more apprehension about the next day’s journey back to Rishikesh.
Things had settled down by next morning and a dip in the hot water springs of Gangnani provided much needed relief to sore muscles. The pleasure of soaking the body in hot water after a tiring trek can only be fully experienced by trekkers. Thus, by the time we took the road to Gangnani, I was feeling more sanguine about the journey and perked up enough to take interest in the world around me. I have always been able to keep my spirits up despite aches and pains but the digestive system can bring me to cry, “Death! Where is thy sting?” Strange that buoyant gas can drag my spirits down like lead!
Luckily the trip down to Rishikesh was uneventful and we hit the hotel with the prospect of river-rafting on the morrow to buoy up our spirits. An evening of bridge ensued but, at the back of my mind, there was the regret that yet another trek was over!