The drive up Yelagiri hills was strewn with hairpin bends – 14 in all I think. The weather was very cool . Monkeys welcomed visitors along the route and our small group of tarzans in the car were excited to see those !
When we reached Yelagiri, my first mission after settling down kids was to find the possibility of treks that the resort arranged ! There were two treks – one was a shorter one in the evening and the other was a longer and more adventurous one in the early morning.
After discussion with my sister Arthi, we decided on the smaller trek as she is new to trekking. Also I decided to take my elder son Abhimanyu, 8.5 yrs, along as it was to be a short trek of about an hour each way. I had earlier taken him on one in Munnar about 2 yrs back; but that was a tough one and he could not complete it. So this short Sunset Trek proved perfect for our small group ! But then we thought it would be tough for our parents to manage 3 little kids in the room till we came back from the trek. So we decided to take my younger one Rahul, who had just turned 6 yrs, and my sister’s elder one Shakthi, 5 .2 yrs, along too ! Now our group had grown bigger !!
We were a little apprehensive about managing three active and exuberant kids on a trek . So we briefed them on certain trekking ettiquettes; not making the trek into a running race being the most stressed point of the lot !! We were worried about one of them declaring their legs ached too much and we having to carry them. That would have been impossible and we jokingly decided to camp wherever that happened !!
We were all set the following evening for the Sunset Trek. But we had to dodge Arthi’s younger son Surya, all of 3 yrs, who got a sense of our preparations and was alertful to tag along wherever it was we were going. The trio getting ready only made him more aware that something was cooking up right under his nose ;)) But we successfully sneaked out, all 5 of us, leaving Surya to keep our parents company !!
Since our group comprised of first-time, enthusiastic mini-trekkers we were ready well ahead of the 4 p.m that our Guide had indicated to us !! Our group of minis meanwhile indulged in warming up by running all over the place !! Atlast our guide and 4 more co-trekkers arrived to the waiting area and we all took off to bid adieu to the setting sun !!
The sun was still shining bright, albeit on the mid of the western sky. The short hike up the main road took us to a forested area. We climbed over a short broken wall and literally jumped into the forest !! Here only occasionally the sun peeked through the tall trees, most of them Eucalyptus. Soon, civilization was left behind !!
Our mini-troop gunned forward as if they were tarzans of the jungle and like they knew the trail like the lines on their palms !! They marched behind the guide, tripping, laughing, but always focussed. I had told them to not lose sight of us or the guide and they remembered it now and then ! Our 4 co-trekkers called out to the guide to stop here and there, but our mini-trekkers were impatient with all the pit stops and were raring to march on ! I had carried snacks and water, thinking the little ones will feel tired or hungry or both one after the other. But they disproved me and were more keen on exploring the forest trail.
There were lot of overgrown thick roots which jutted out of the ground. They tripped over those, but were back on our feet almost instantly. There was a stretch of low web of branches and we adults had to bend in double to navigate that path. But the mini-tarzans just held their head high and glided thru that difficult stretch !! Ha, the advantages of being really short !!!
After 45 mins to an hour, we had reached the sunset point. The sky had turned a multitude of hues now – ranging from red to blue ! The sunset had begun ! The view point was a very narrow area, with just one or 2 boulders to stand on. We could climb a few feet up for some photo-ops; which we did a lot ! But then we came back to the point and there was this big boulder on the edge of the ridge, and it seemed to hold the mountain back from the deep valley on its other side !
Even in that narrow piece of land, the kids found room to jump, play and run ! They were so happy to have trekked there ! Fearlessness – thy name is Child !! The kids were blissfully integrated with nature and did not think twice before doing what came naturally to them. Children have such a Divine Connection with Nature. Absolute Trust that they are also part of it, which many adults forget as they grow up and start distancing themselves from Nature and Existence.
The kids atlast asked for some water and snacks and eagerly nibbled on those ! We then settled down to watch the glorious sunset, in silence. It is amazing how the sky and sun play together to create such myriad tints, changing every minute ! The children were fully soaking in the glory of the sunset. This is a sunset they will not forget for a long time, as they had earned their way to watch this cosmic spectacle !
The guide repeated for the umpteenth time that we had to leave as it was already dark. We broke out of our reverie and reluctantly started the descent. We had forgotten the flash light and I fished out my cell phone to get some light. But we had to be sure to follow the guide as he was the only one with a flash light. There was friendly banter on the way back with our co-trekkers from Bangalore and they had lot of questions about Pondicherry as they were planning to make a trip here next !
The kids were too excited and did not have a trace of any fatigue ! They were eager to share their exciting experience with their grand-parents and ofcourse their little brother who was obviously solely ruling the roost in the room, in their absence ofcourse ;))
I could not do the longer trek due to lack of time. Maybe next time :))