One Careful Step at a Time
Recalling one of my favourite few minutes in the one of my favourite trips. A moment lived in the flow state is absolutely worth it.
The same day, three weeks ago. Nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. We reached the highest point of our two-day trek, which could be classified as a successful visit because we actually found snow on the Snowline.
In the end, the path was worth the danger...
The expanse of snow-capped mountains had already cast its spell on me. After an awfully long time, I was with humans outside of my family and was not self-conscious. I breathed the fresh Himalayan air as our breaths only grew in intensity as we climbed up 1,500 feet from Triund.
The climb up wasn’t without its dangers. The path which we were walking on was probably even narrower than 2 metres at places, slippery snow melting from one side and a deadly cliff on the other. We were told to hold our horses while coming down, as the momentum could make us do reckless things and commit heavy mistakes.
After some time in fun & play, we set out on the descent. It was supposed to be easier on the lungs and heart but challenging on the core and the knees. It was a challenge of balance.
I started out slow. I started wavering out a bit because of tiredness from the hard ascent and a lack of sleep from the last night in the tent. But the less-than-two-metre pathway grew on me after some time. My pace of descent was being mocked at, none of which I point to a sudden increase in my pace afterwards. It was something more organic, something different.
I let myself loose. I finally trusted my senses, my instinct in slowing me down, and I moved quicker. I let go of everything about everything — my only concern at that point in time was that one step that I was making.
At some point, I can’t pinpoint which one. I was only feeling my foot placing itself in alignment with the rock that was under it. I couldn’t gaze leftwards and look at the cliff on the side. At some point in time, it all melted away — insecurities, apprehensions, the snow and even the mistakes.
Slowing down didn’t make sense. I was shakier when slow! Neither was there a point in rushing — there was no hurry anyway! All that I could enjoy at this juncture was the earth under my feet, which I thoroughly did.
The soles of my feet finding the right places to set themselves. The little hops and the occasional skips let out a sharp exhale, giving room for more of that energizing mountain air. The occasional missteps, ever so slightly perturbing me followed by the abdomen suddenly tightening, like a saddled horse.
I came across once again towards this idea of a critical speed, but the lack of excess of it. The centre between the left and the right. The grey between the black and the white. The equilibrium point between the two charged states. The occasional disturbances from this state and the subsequent feedback that got it back after a small oscillation.
I could feel it all and not only think about it. It was beautiful in every sense. Talking of senses, each one of them was playing their own game, all in perfect harmony. It wasn’t particularly joyful nor depressing. It was just where it should be — in the moment.
And yes, like all the other things of its kind, it was short. Once I landed on the green grass, the landscape took my attention away once again. There had to be a full stop to this experience. It was getting hard on resources. It was hard to carry that pace after slowing down because my knees were totally gone for the day. We still did trek downwards for a couple of hours after that and wrecked our legs like madness, but that’s a story for a different day.
Some twenty minutes elapsed. I was finally shaken out of my pensive mood by my friend, who finally caught up. We went rather “normally” afterwards like all average treks are supposed to be.
That single experience, barely lasting an hour, was my favourite among the tens of contenders in that four-day trip.
Would definitely love to revisit that place in my mind again…