Gurdum to Rimbik was another scenic route with lot of leisure. Lunch was at Srikhola (Khola means river in local language). Thick pine forests, Srikhola River springing into action at multiple places, the soothing rhythmic sound of the river, the thick vegetation of fern plants, the satisfaction of having great time and being blessed with best possible weather, there was this happy feeling and also a fear of ending this joyous journey.
This was the longest route and we did not have any hush to reach camp. This was going to be our last camp and we wanted to enjoy the time. Downhill road has its own challenges and tests your agility and the strength to carry yourself on your feet. The forest was quite thick during the initial phase before we reach Srikhola. The water falls, huge stones and tall trees provided most scenic setup for photoshoot and the competition was to catch the best possible spot and give the best possible pose.
We were at Goparma Hotel by 10 am and would leave for Rimbik post lunch. We spent wonderful time on the river bank of Srikhola and then at the wooden bridge, which would swing in air and give jerks if you try jumping around. You would experience a huge bubble rising right from the pit of your stomach upwards as it swung in air, oh my god, it still gives me goose bumps even now.
The excitement was visible on everyone’s face, having completed the Trek successfully and being at the last leg of the entire route and going through all the challenges that we had. I was narrating all this to Sheetal (my wife) as I walked across the bridge trying to hear Vivaan and Maitri in the background. The bridge would shake as more people passed and I would enjoy it more.
The khichadi papad at Goparma Hotel was amazing, probably with some local taste. After having a nice time at Srikhola we had set out towards Rimbik. The lovely houses, with beautiful flower plants, the house getting ready for marriage, the garlands of corns hanging around the houses, it was all peculiar in this area. The hillside farming and sprinkles were prominent. The hills now were thickly wooded and the snowy peaks were left behind.
Everyone was now eligible to receive the certificate and a medal. The proud souls were reminiscing the past few days full of excitement, challenges, fun and beauty.
The food was lovely and special at this camp with sweet dish and paneer, replacing potatoes and iskus. Before the medal and certificate distribution there were few introductions to people, who have made this wonderful journey possible and we heartily thanked all those beautiful souls, who have made this mission to help youth come together and enjoy the nature, admire the national treasures and feel proud of being part of this great land of history, traditions and beauty. It just broke all the barriers and united us, as one and that was an amazing feeling.
I had ample certificates and trophies obtained from school days and in my professional career till now. But this was my first medal and it really made me feel good. It was the culmination of the decision to travel this far in some corner of the country alone, taking up the known/unknown challenges and making it possible, testing my physical and mental strength and the faith that there would be helping hands all along to guide, motivate and appreciate.
The same was true for all the other members of our team as well and with each name, came the loud applause and camera clicks. It was no less than capturing Mount Everest at that point in time and you never know, few among us might even reach out to the invincible at some point in future.
The game of mafia had spread all across and everyone was crazy after this interesting game. I learnt it from Banglore and Colcutta gang, the previous night and was already loving this game. It would get quite intense at times. Being a fight between good and bad and requiring lot of team work, oratory skills, face reading etc., could get really challenging. This was our last night to indulge into the game and set few wonderful memories.
Next morning we had jeeps to take us back to the base camp (Kadambari). Being the first batch of season we had this sense of satisfaction and feeling of achievement with us. Although we were to follow our individual paths, we were bonded together in this celebration of life called as YHI Trekking, with a witness of magnificent mountains, serene rivers, hospitable people, emerald greenery, snowy peaks and lot of memories.
Akhilesh was the most enthusiastic guy and he had already created a facebook and watsapp group, and we don’t know if we would meet again or not, but when we meet we were going to have lot to share and reminisce about. Kaphana, Hareesh had been great at their photography skills and we got promises from them to get all those photos uploaded on the net. Me, Mukund and Vinod had decided to go to Gangtok and if possible to Nathula pass after getting huge recommendation from Vivek, Manish and gang.
The base camp again greeted us with huge smile and lovely food. There were exchange of contacts and goodbyes and we were back on our individual destinations, along with lots of memories.