In August 2015, we came up with a simple solution to get Nagas off their chairs and join us on short [read 20+ km] walks once a month. The purpose – let’s go explore!
The first episode of the initiative was a startling success with only one person going on the walk and that was me! My team didn’t even join me. Thankfully, James Kikon, an avid photographer decided to use this chance and act as my support crew and drove around the area while I walked the 23 km from Khonoma Village to Red Cross junction in Kohima.
The second episode however, was much better. Thanks to a whole lot of pictures we splashed on social media [Khonoma walk]. We had 6 participants this time. We walked from Kisama to Mima village and ended at Kigwema village. This was a tough one – the start location of the walk had to be changed because of a massive landslide that had blocked the road for weeks. The new start involved a 45 minute high intensity hill climb section to avoid the landslide. None of us had come prepared for this but we managed to get by and complete the walk. Ruchu, one of our three star women walkers, decided to race to the finish – after 20+ km of walking mind you.
The third episode was an easy one and a much shorter one. This was done to bring more people on board. We had 9 people on this walk. Most of the walk was downhill and on tar surface from Rosoma to Dzu river, so there wasn’t really much of a challenge here.
The fourth episode was the killer. We decided to head up to Japfu base camp just outside of Kohima town and near Jotsoma. The walk started early morning and we were really surprised and well, very happy to note that we had 35 participants in this episode. This was a walk that we had not done before and so all of us went in blind. We had some really fit and young walkers this time – some of whom had completed a 6 km early morning marathon and then decided to join us [yes, that’s right]. The walk was meant to be up to the base camp, but as the base camp was not marked, we all reached Japfu peak without realising that we had crossed the base camp. The walk was a total of 7 km each way. The first 6 km was a mix of ascents and descents, some quite long and steady and some quite steep. The last 1 km was incredibly steep, but so very beautiful. There were some scary moments when we had to climb rocks, hold on to ropes and heave your body all over the place to reach the peak. I couldn’t make the last 20 feet – it would have been really tough for me to make my way back down those 20 feet. A lot of our walkers did make it up there.
It’s been four months since the last walk – we lost some momentum in December because of the rush during the Hornbill Festival, Chirstmas, New Years and then just some laziness.
Our next walk is being decided at the moment and we hope to do the Living Root Bridges in Sohra, Meghalaya. It’s going to be a tall ask to get a big group across two states to Meghalaya to do this, but we certainly are going to try. I wonder if it will be just me walking this one again! Pictures from my last root bridge walk!
image courtesy James Kikon