Ever jumped down a building or were suspened by a rope to get to the otherside of a river? Sounds freaky, doesn’t it? Read on…
My office had planned a picnic to Native Place – Kamshet for adventure sports (by Nirvana Adventures) over the weekend. I was looking forward to going for the trip to take a break from the daily routine. But some last minute health hassles were holding me back. Friends and family backed me up and after consulting my doctor, I went for the picnic.
I am not a morning person and how I wake up at 8.30am for work is really commendable in a way but with a picnic to attend I had to be at the pickup point at 6.30am! (barely managed to do that with eyes almost shut, and was actually amongst the early commers). We left Bandra at 7.15am and headed to the other pickup points to gather the rest of our picnickers at Andheri, Ghatkopar and Vashi.
We spent 4 hour bus journey by ragging people, playing antakshri and singing or rather howling songs. Kamshet (Native Place) is about 11kms away from Lonavala / Khandala on the old highway. It took us an hour just from the Lonavala / Khandala exit on the highway to get there. We passed through many places of scenic beauty, open fields and tiny villages enroute to our destination.
We finally reached the Niravana base camp around 1.00pm. The camp was a 1 storey terraced cottage which overlooked the Vadivali lake and was footed on the mountains. The interiors were well balanced and everything gave a relaxed and earthly feeling. The view from the camp was breathtaking – so peaceful and so calm. It was drizzling throughout and we could see clouds floating amidst the mountains. We were away from everything – no TV, computers or cellphones(no network) to stress us and that is just what was needed!
We were served with breakast as we got there (we reached almost 3 hours late) and proceeded for our 1st adventure sport of the day – Flying Fox.
Flying Fox: (description by Nirvana Adventures) wherein a rope is tied to the harness he is donning and he slides down from a height. Climbing up to the terrace and “vrrroooooommmm” you are down to the ground with help of a harness and some fancy equipment. A quick rush that gets you in the mood to deal with more challenges.
My experience: When I signed up for the picnic I wasn’t sure about participating in any of these activities. Once, I got there I didn’t want to miss out on this almost once in a lifetime opportunity. I got ready for flying fox and was a bit scared when my turn came. I was supposed to balance myself on a suspended hortizontal bamboo but totally mis-judged it and bruised my leftarm a li’l bit. Anyway, it was great fun sliding down the rope.
After that we headed for activity #2 ie Rappelling.
Abseiling: (description by Nirvana Adventures) is another term for rappelling which basically refers to climbing down a rock face with the help of ropes and pulleys. Descending from heights, one can choose one’s pace as the speed of descent is in your hands. You can go fast, slow or a even halt right on the middle of the rock face! You don’t lunge down in a matter of seconds like in the movies but may choose a delightfully slow pace to take in the scenery and revel in the high that comes from pushing your limits.
My experience: Since it was raining, we did this activity from the cottage and not from a rocky mountain. So, I managed Flying Fox but I was sure I was not up for rappelling. I do not fancy having myself slip down a ledge and climb down. But again I thought of this being a once in a lifetime opportunity and gathered my meek courage and got ready for this activity. As I climbed the ledge and was being given instructions, I freaked out completely. I had a change of mind and did not find this amusing anymore and wanted to get back. I couldn’t and was screaming to get back. But the co-ordinator assured me that it would ok and safe. Finally, he had enough of my yelling and pushed my leg off the ledge. Suspended by safety ropes, I bruised my arm and knees a bit (again) and tried to get back to the doing the activity. This was the highlight according to me – and I finally accomplished the feat. Once I reached the ground safely, I was shaking. This was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever attempted. But overall, it was fun and the thrill of coming down the rope was something else.
We then had a quick lunch (provided by Nirvana Adventures) and then headed to the lake for our 3rd and final adventure sport – Valley Crossing.
Valley Crossing: (description by Nirvana Adventures) or Tyrolean Traverse is an alpine challenge that helps people discover that they are stronger than they realize. We stretch a one hundred foot static line rope across a creek bed. The participants are harnessed, connect to a carabineer and attach to the rope, upside down. They pull hand over hand, inch by inch from one side of the stream bed to the other. It’s a challenging task but not too strenuous. We believe that people gain a sense of perseverance and accomplishment during these types of experiences that will build their self confidence sufficiently to persevere over different challenges throughout life.
My experience: This seemed simple and I was quite eager to get going with river crossing. As I was sliding and pulling myself across, I realised that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. You require a lot of muscle power. Towards the end, I got very tired and the co-ordinator helped me complete my activity. Again, it was fun.
We walked through the hilly terrain to get to the camp, changed and got back on the bus to head home. It was 7.00pm and we were all exhausted.
The return journey was again spent singing and playing antakshri like the morning except that we were all very tired. The bus dropped everyone to their pickup points and I got home around 11.20pm.
Back home and every muscle in my body is still aching but I had just too much fun. This was my 1st adventure trip. I had never been for trekking also before. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity and the experience of these activities. I think I would’ve missed out on a lot had I not gone for the picnic. It was worth it!