In my pursuing attempt to remain fit that ceremoniously began six months back, I join anyone making hiking plans. The few people who make them invite me - in their words, "they don't have the whole day for it!"
Last Saturday, I got invited to one such hike. To garner additional brownie points for myself, I volunteered to drive all of them there. The idea was to drown them in gratitude. It didn't quite work that way. The mountaineous roads and my super-awesome driving didn't go well together.
We started early - by Indian standards. 10am. On a weekend that means getting out as soon as you have gotten up. It also means hardly any breakfast. "The hike won't take that long and we would have plenty of time to fatten ourselves at lunch".
The closer I came to the destination, the worse my fears got. I suffer from acrophobia - in plain terms I am afraid of heights. On the narrow steeply climbing mountain road, with one side ending in a deep gorge and the other a tall stone wall, I chose to stay close to the wall. That meant driving on the wrong side of the r0ad. The passengers panicked! The choice was simple - getting hit by incoming car or falling off the cliff. I chose for them.
As soon as we reached, everyone jumped off the car. I followed slowly. We gathered our bags, energy bars, water bottles and were about to start the hike. At that precise instant I had a brainwave. "Why carry my heavy purse? I won't need it." Boom! I shut the trunk on my purse with my car keys in them!
My friend realized my folly before I did. He wanted to keep the car keys in a safe place. With very little to do, we decided to continue on the hike. I could hear muttered mumbled indistinct voices all around me. I didn't dare look at them directly.
It was a strenuous hike. We took 3 hours and were completely exhausted.
This remote place had no cell phone reception. The nearest one was at the base of the mountain. I hitched a ride from a fellow departing hiker, went to the base, made a phone call. I was told to get back up to my car, in less than an hour. Hitching a ride back was tough. I almost asked fire fighters to help me out when an old lady with a dog took pity on me. As soon as I reached the top, the wait began.
What was to take less than an hour, took more than two hours. We had no food, no water and sunlight was fading. Meanwhile I sent another friend down and never saw him back!
Finally, the car got unlocked, my friend was found and food was eaten. We combined breakfast, lunch and dinner into one meal. I paid for it - hoping it would alleviate stressed nerves. The hike that was to last 3 hours took 12!
Since then I have been thinking of ways to make myself lock-out-proof. My friends have suggested strapping the key to my body, strapping the key to the car, strapping the key onto a friend and million like that! I am still looking for a sustainable solution!