The making of a Trek Leader

Whenever I close my eyes, I envision myself as a trek leader, standing on a high cliff of the Sahyadri mountains, surrounded by dense white clouds. I make a single request to the Sahyadri: as long as I have life in this body, give me the strength to experience more and more of these mountains. This vision has been my guiding light, my constant companion through a journey filled with twists and turns, struggles and triumphs.

Trek Leader

Early Life Struggles:

Born into a middle-class family, my life began with a fight for survival. I was born prematurely in the seventh month, frail and weak. The financial strain at home meant I was born two months early in our modest house. The experts of that time told my parents that I would never lead a normal life. They painted a bleak future, predicting that I might never walk properly, let alone run or climb. Yet, against all odds, I grew stronger, fuelled by an innate resilience and a burning desire to prove them wrong. Today I can scale any peak in the Sahyadri with ease, defying every prediction made about my future.

Passion for Sports

My early years were marked by academic struggles. Education didn’t come easy to me; I was never the bright student in class. In fact, I was quite slow, preferring the playground to the classroom. School for me was not about books and exams, but about games and sports. Despite my academic shortcomings, I was agile and smart on the field. I attended a district council school where outdoor activities were emphasized, and I thrived. Kho-Kho became my favorite sport, and I excelled in it. By the time I reached eleventh and twelfth grades, I was the captain of my college team and even represented Maharashtra state in Kho-Kho, a significant milestone in my life.

Choosing a college was a turning point. Unlike my friends who followed the crowd, I chose a college that offered opportunities in sports. I pursued a B. Com degree, but my heart was on the field, playing cricket, Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, and indulging in adventurous activities. Those three years flew by, a blur of excitement and energy, as I immersed myself in the world of sports.

Discovering Trekking

My passion for trekking took root in my hometown, Alibaug, a place nestled in the lap of mountains. Growing up, my brothers, village friends, and I would explore the hills and visit forts. We didn’t know it was called trekking; it was just a way of life. Never in my life back then had I ever thought, one day I would become a trek leader, leading people to these majestic mountains. Over time, social media introduced me to the wider world of trekking, and I began to understand its nuances. My love for travel, which began in childhood, has only grown stronger. Whether with friends or through college adventure sports, trekking became a way of life. This passion continued even after college, leading me to explore various forts and mountains.

Becoming a Trek Leader

One memorable trek introduced me to Krishna Kuya. Our acquaintance soon blossomed into a friendship. I discovered that Krishna ran a travel company called DarkGreen Adventures. Recognizing my passion for trekking, Krishna asked if I would join his company. The prospect of traveling with new people was enticing, and I eagerly accepted. This decision marked the beginning of an incredible journey and this shy village boy became a trek leader. For the past 9 years, I have been a part of DarkGreen Adventures, a journey that continues to this day. With each trek, I discover new facets of the Sahyadri, uncovering hidden trails, breathtaking views and a new aspect of myself as a trek leader. The mountains have become my sanctuary, a place where I find peace and purpose.

My journey from a frail boy to a seasoned trek leader is a testament to perseverance and passion. The challenges I faced, and the initial struggles only strengthened my resolve. The support of friends and mentors like Krishna has been invaluable, guiding me through the rugged paths and steep climbs. As I stand on the peaks of the Sahyadri, I am reminded of my humble beginnings and the unwavering determination that brought me here.

Adventures and Challenges

My trekking adventures have not been without their dramatic moments. There was the time we got caught in an unexpected storm, with the wind howling and rain lashing against us, making every step a battle. We were on the edge, both literally and figuratively, as we navigated narrow paths with sheer drops on either side. The fear was palpable, but so was the exhilaration. It was in these moments of danger that I felt most alive, my senses heightened, my mind focused, and my spirit unyielding.

Another unforgettable incident was during a solo trek to an ancient fort. As dusk fell, I realized I had lost my way. Alone in the wilderness, the eerie silence was broken only by the occasional rustle of leaves and distant calls of nocturnal creatures. With no signal on my phone and darkness enveloping the forest, I relied on my instincts and knowledge of the terrain to find my way back. The relief of finally spotting the familiar path under the moonlight was overwhelming, and it reinforced my belief in my abilities and the bond I share with the mountains.

Lessons From the Mountains

These experiences, harrowing as they might seem, have shaped me into the person I am today. They have taught me resilience, courage, and the importance of staying calm under pressure. The Sahyadris have been my greatest teacher, imparting lessons that no classroom ever could. The journey of being a trek leader is far from over. There are still countless peaks to conquer, trails to explore, and stories to live. And with every step I take, I carry with me the spirit of a frail boy who defied the odds and the unwavering determination to keep pushing boundaries.

The adventure continues, and the mountains are calling. Will you answer?

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About the author

A seasoned trek leader whose journey from a modest middle-class background to an accomplished explorer of the Sahyadri mountains is nothing short of inspiring. Overcoming academic struggles and embracing sports and adventure, he carved a unique path. Now, as part of DarkGreen Adventures, he leads treks with unwavering passion and resilience, embodying the spirit of perseverance and a profound love for the mountains.

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