I woke up to the marble floors and rain pattering on the roof in Ranikhet, India. They say all great adventures begin in rain. And the rain came in blankets as we crammed into the white jeeps with our packs. My monster of a pack weighed 70 pounds when I loaded it into the car. It would be heavier at times during the next 42 days. I tried not to think about having to endure that weight for over a month.
Have faith in your body, I told myself repeatedly.
My nerves did not settle as we drove over lush mountains. I wrestled with the before time. We weren’t hiking yet and my brain struggled to prepare for something so immense as the expedition I was leaving on.
Time seemed to slow down like the time right as you jump off a cliff freezing before you plummet to hit the water. We stopped at an old cricket field for lunch, and I walked up the hill to a lonely temple. None of us could sleep. The ride was rough, the car crammed, and the anxiety kept building up. We were getting close to Entoli when fat drops began to hit the windshield.
Our driver began yelling in Hindi and reversed out of a muddy hair pin turn back down the road. It was soon clear that we were getting no further in the jeeps, and almost in seconds we were out on the side of the road with our packs in the rain watching the jeeps drive away. In Ranikhet nervous and smiling before leaving to start the hiking expedition.
Just like that, abruptly, the trip began. We popped umbrella’s up and walked down to a school. We pitched our dome shelters in the field behind the one room building. The rain stopped before bed and the sky took on a bit of pink from the setting sun. We were deep in a valley by a village in the Himalaya as I snuggled down into my sleeping bag. Tomorrow the adventure would begin.