The trudge to Saddle Peak – Notes from a travel diary
Sometimes I wonder why do we do the things we do? Why on earth do we willingly subject ourselves to torture? What makes us embark on a sweaty, thirsty, near-vertical climb up what is the tallest peak on a cluster of tropical islands when we could be lounging in the shade by the beach somewhere?
These were the questions going through my mind as I trudged my way up Saddle Peak, the tallest hill on the Andaman Islands, located near Diglipur. I couldn’t dismiss the feeling the guide accompanying us was having himself a private chuckle at our expense – loping along at his easy pace, while we groaned and sweat and groaned some more.
I think it was the fear of being dismissed as a city chick that kept me going, stubbornly insisting on hefting my own backpack and continuing the climb even when my knees were sore. I kept reassuring myself that the view from the top would be worth the effort.
The start of the trek had been beguiling. At 5 in the morning, the air was cool, the sun gentle and the path, flat.
“We walked along the beach as the sun rose to our left, and then into the forest, where the fallen leaves reflected the morning sun creating a golden glow all around. The pleasant 3.5-long walk ended at a stream after which the 5km climb up to the peak begins.
There I did the daftest thing imaginable, while crossing the stream. I could see where there was a stone I could step on, and I could see where there was a floating leaf, and I avoiding the stone and firmly planted my foot on the said leaf, immediately getting my socks and shoes completely wet. After that I was so miffed, that I just sloshed my way across the stream getting both feed equally wet. What a way to start a trek – with the stage set perfect for getting some real nasty blisters.”
After that, I have no real memory of what happened. Except that I climbed and climbed, took of my shoes and socks to dry the two times I stopped for a break, and baked in the tropical sun. And that I dreamed of reaching the top and settling down under the shade of a tree for a well deserved break, having some papaya, looking at the view and letting the breeze cool me.
Well, I’m sure you can imagine how that turned out. There was nothing at the top. NOTHING. No tree. No view. And no breeze. There was this teeny sense of accomplishment, but I had time to indulge it cause I had to rush back down again after a quick photo, just so that I could get out of the harsh sun.
Sigh. No more. Just check out the photos.
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