Our ad-hoc visitors team Sam, Reggie, and Big Manju have not only brought back Photographer Bob from the wild of Southern India, but also a little jewel in the form of a guest blog from venturer Katherine Arnot, photos, and the venturers’ (and PMs') messages to friends and family. Enjoy the read!
|Guestblogger Katherine Arnot|
Our journey in the Western Ghats so far has been short but very full-on. Tackling the second highest mountain in Southern India on our second day proved to be a challenge for all of us. We were walking up what seemed to be vertical hills. However, the sense of euphoria on approaching the top as we marched up through the clouds banished any memory of struggle from our minds. We were on top of the world and suddenly the tiredness which had been holding us back lifted and the last few steps to the top became effortless. We continued with an equally steep descent through the vast and beautiful tea plantations. The day was nicely finished off with a bumpy jeep ride accompanied by Indian techno music.
|An easy start...|
|... getting steeper...|
|...on top of the world!|
|Campsite with a view|
The experience was followed by a “Survival Day” on which – through great effort – we managed to build a sleeping shelter out of bamboo and coconut leaves and to kill and prepare a chicken in the heat of the day.
|High class eco-dormitory for 11 persons|
On day 5 we finally went rafting, an experience everyone had been looking forward to. After a short trek we had to work out how to build a raft out of bamboo, string and rubber rings. Having set up two rafts, which seemed sturdy enough, we set off for our 4km journey; our biggest challenge and accomplishment so far. We had no idea how difficult it would be until we found ourselves paddling with all our strength, only to realise we hadn’t moved a single inch for ten minutes. Thank you very much headwind! However, in the Raleigh spirit - instead of giving up and declaring ourselves too tired to carry on - we powered through and with motivation, determination, and a lot of groaning we succeeded in reaching the end. We celebrated with a lovely evening around the campfire, all exhausted but ready for more trekking tomorrow. So far, this experience has been something which none of us had imagined and we can’t wait what the next two weeks have in store.
And now... Messages written at an altitude of 2640 m / 8661 feet (I really liked the handwriting and I was afraid to get the Dutch part wrong. I also like MS Paint and putting hearts on selected scribbly bits.) :
|From Amanda ( This is for you Manda: :oP )|