As our time in Rishikesh came to a close we repacke
d our bags and ventured onward to a remote camp about eight hours’ drive deeper into the Himalayas. The bus struggled up the narrow mountain roads, edging along what seemed to be never-ending drops to a bottom you couldn’t even see. The thing about the Himalayas is you never actually get to the top. You just keep climbing and weaving through blind corners, praying that the driver is actually skilled enough to go as fast as he is going. After, multiple quick bus exits and comforting students as their breakfast quickly exited their stomachs in search of relief from brutal car sickness, we arrived at our destination. One aspect of the ride that compensated for its brutality were the never-ending views that likewise did not cease at Camp Hammock. The scenery at Camp Hammock was spectacular with the grandness of the mountains unlike anything I have ever experienced. It is a place in which I felt fully aware and a place that made me feel lightened of all worries. It was an feeling that I sense most all of us had.
We would spend the next three days trekking, rock climbing, playing camp games, participating in team building exercises, valley crossing, rock climbing and repelling. At night, the kids would play their favorite card game obsession and we teachers would review journals. At this point the kids started to open up and joke around with each other making an already good time better. Some struggled here and there and we teachers did what we could to resolve any personal or social issues.
Although not an enforcer, I earned the mocking of all 21 eighth graders as I persisted in curing foul language with pushups. I became known for dishing out 10 pushups in a nonchalant, semi-sarcastic manor, for any curse word overheard. Soon all 21 of them were dishing out ten pushups to me for things such as dropping a dinner fork or simply standing. I also became known for interjecting the word “alright” when anything inappropriate approached ex
pression. In the same way, all 21 of them mocked me in a humorous way that I encouraged with a giant smile. It was one of my favorite things and earned the center of a thank you card from all the students!
Camp hammock was a truly beautiful place in the multiple ways already mentioned. Unfortunately, our stay had to be cut short as monsoon season edged in earlier than normal producing violent lightening and hail storms. Coupled with a serious risk of mudslides on the steep and unstable mountain roads our guide Natraj felt that it would be best if we seized an opportunity to leave three days early for our next destination. We would unfortunately miss the climbing of Nag Tibba the tallest peak in Uttarakhand and a highlight of the trip. It was for the best as the day and night we were intended to climb, Nag Tibba had some of the worst storms yet. And so it was, we loaded back on the bus for another treacherous drive through the mountains to our last destination. Or so we thought.