Catch Every Drop: Water – Trekking’s elixir of life

How can one explain the feeling of standing in a queue to fill your water bottles from a natural spring after trekking five hours at 2,100 feet?


A few months ago, after I wrote this article on the impact of tourism on our waterfalls, some of my friends questioned me – “How does it even affect you?” And when I told them that there are people who regularly clean up the forests, lakes & the coast, they could hardly comprehend.

They are not to be blamed, as at the maximum, their most interesting acquaintance with water would have been at some chlorine filled, temperature controlled swimming pool. Being pampered with disposable water bottles in air-conditioned rooms, they hardly get a chance to fall in love with water, with nature. I strongly believe from my experience that love and respect show up in situations of desperate need, and this by all means applies to water.

How else can one explain the feeling of standing in a queue to fill your water bottles, drop by drop from a natural spring, after a dangerous five-hour hike to a robber ridden fort at a height of 2,100 feet? The only water source for the entire peak, it usually takes up to 10 minutes to fill a litre of water, about an hour to collect water for cooking, but we know, it’s totally worth waiting for. That moment when water becomes a luxury for your cramped calf muscle is all it takes to understand this feeling!

The peak of summer and you are on a dry bear haunted ridge at noon – the perfect moment to run out of water! And this usually happens to every trekker. Frantic searches for water points and streams, all result in nothing but a dizzy head. And that’s when you spot this dry stream – water slowly starts seeping out from below the ground and at times from inside the crack of some big boulder. You may have to use leaves, twigs at obscure angles to harvest this. Hardly luxurious when compared to a Rs. 10 mineral water bottle, but definitely more satisfying. And, of course much more safer than any of the brands available on market!

And, not all attempts bear fruit. Sometimes, you’ll have to scale up dry streams to search for water at the top, which only adds to the thrill.

A trekker’s thoughts on water is about much more than mere sustenance – water is fun! Many a times, the sound of a distant stream is all what it takes to boost up slow trekkers. Or a dip in some virgin waterfall or pool, a simple jump from some 25 feet from near a waterfall, and not to forget, those beautiful landscapes carved out by nature; such memories indeed last a lifetime!

And for sure, all this experience is what makes us worship nature. We trekkers can’t stay mute when nature is destroyed. When an irresponsible tourist breaks his beer bottle on a boulder and dumps his disposable plate into the stream, we naturally get irritated and act responsibly. And to comprehend this feeling, people need to get closer to nature – closer than those textbooks or any documentaries on television.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Siddharth is an Electrical Engineer interested in travel, trekking, photography, environment, agriculture and related journalism. He loves nature and writes on deprivation, conservation more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Siddharth is an Electrical Engineer interested in travel, trekking, photography, environment, agriculture and related journalism. He loves nature and writes on deprivation, conservation more

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