When we bit through the juicy honeydew slices and hungrily gulped down the spicy lentil rice packed in a plastic box, the sound of the crystal water flowing next to us sounded like music. The day was bright and chirpy .The hubby, the baby and a few friends were all happy and smiling for no reason at all. The hike was yet to begin and we hardly thought of the adventure it may entail.
After we fastened the 13 month old in a sling cozily behind the husband’s back, we set off with a few water bottles , a back pack and a little spring of excitement in our steps.
The trail was smooth and the company was spirited. The gradual catching up of altitude hardly made much difference to the young zealous minds. Between the small talks and the chatter, we prided ourselves over the panting-hapless faces returning back from the hike on the same path. Little did we know..maybe.
About 30 minutes into the walking, when the sweat drops were just forming on the forehead, I stood aside to sip the cold water from my bottle and then drink some greenness around me. That was when I actually noticed the gushing sound and followed to peep down the trail edge. The scene was more than what I asked for, and I was thankful. Much needed rejuvenation and nature compelling to move forward, to try and seek the origin of this ruthlessly beautiful sight.
The trail got steeper and the heartbeats started to get audibly loud with exertion. The altitude brought a cold nip in the air, which graduated to little kisses of icy chillness. The smooth path morphed into rocky hardness and the puddles of water in the mud indicated the upcoming slippery prospect.
I looked up to seek the husband and saw him walking steadily ahead. The little one slept on the sling, blissfully, swaying to the her father’s unperturbed steps forward. I called out and got a quick backward glance to convey all is well. Caring words were exchanged -“Be careful..ice up here. Very slippery. Get on all fours if needed”.
The icy mud sloshed under the shoes, but the dampness smelt sweet, somehow. The distant roaring of the waterfall started sending down cool showers of faint mist wetting our warm sweaty skin..and the heart knew the efforts were going to be well worth it.
There were few moments of faltering, of unexpected slips down the moist cold rocks, of brown black damp soil making silly patters on the palms ..when I fell on all fours..and sometimes just on the butt. However, there were strangers with beautiful souls and helpful hands extending forward to help me get back on track. There was a concerned pause from the husband walking much ahead.. but still next to me.
The minutes and then the hour passed by, without any sign of the end nearing. Though the views on the way were prizes enough to be pleased, the neck still craned to get a glimpse of the real thing. Then, there was the rock. The giant vertical rock, black as kohl tinged with liquid green mossy patches all over . A little chisel of stairs invited the climbers to chug up. The husband, with the now openly awake baby on his back ( silently wondering, ‘where in the world am I?’), stops to ask “What happened?” and I gasp for breath to say “Don’t think will want to go anymore. Give me the baby and you carry on”. “No”, he said. “You are coming” and that was all I needed to pull myself ahead to join them on the vertical rock.
As I walked up the narrow stairs on that rock, feeling the green moss on my hands and the plump water drops on my body, dripping from above, I knew I did right. Those steps, I sensed, promised splendid gifts at the end. I planted a hearty kiss on my baby and then my man for keeping me inspired.
Right after the stairs ended, the final prize was almost in view. A few more steps and quick climbing over a hurdle ..and there is was!
We stood there…breathless with delight..right on the top of the waterfall !
The innocence of the simple flowing river water suddenly gave way to ferocious jumping down a height of 240 feet ..all right in front of us!
Easily one of the most spectacular moments of my life.
[ P.S : The last weekend was a highly delectable mix of Adventure and Surprise in equal proportions. This narration is the first half of it..Adventure. The latter part, Surprise bit, is coming up next. Watch this space, my dearies]