India Challenge

Rivers weep

The rivers weep

From the high peaks in the Himalayas and down to the foothills of the mountains crisscrossing the landscape of Kashmir, as the ice and snow slowly melts it quietly trickles down the valleys, building with each meter that the water travels from tiny little droplets into rivulets that grow into streams and finally converge into massive foaming rivers that are the life blood, the veins of Indian life. In some areas these rivers are worshiped, and ultimately are the gods that sustain and breathe the life into the soil, that provides life to the bread basket that feeds this massive nation.

That near miss tunnel

Tunnel run

It was in the heart of Kashmir that I came across my first road tunnel. At the best of times they are a scary thing. Long dark and dangerous. Because of massive security I could not get permission from the military to run through the tunnel. There was only one option left open to me. I had to go over the top. Over 2000 meters up a mountain and a 5 hour hike. It was now about at the half way mark that I hit the next one. Here I also hit a problem with access, but I was not going to take the long route so eventually I found a way to sneak past the security and make a dash through the tunnel. A scary run and promised to myself I would not do such a stupid thing again.

Get that gap

Get that gap

There is a very, lets call it competitive mindset in India, but it all revolves around the ability to squeeze into the gap ahead of the next person. I does not matter how small it is, if there is actually a gap at all. even if the guys in front has stopped, to let a train pass at a level crossing, or a truck is turning in front of him, nothing matters if you feel that there is a slight gap in your mind, its fair game you can go for it.

Namara River

Namara River

Its been a bit of a slog along the massive N3 highway , but we had no option but to hit it as it goes directly south for quite a while. It finally went west which meant we had to hop off it and I could look for the bush roads again and they came with vengeance. The first short cut into the bush brought me to the edge of the escarpment that I had been running up for the past 500 km. I could not believe it after all these weeks of running up hill I hit this goat track below a fort and in 2 hours I dropped 700 meters down, I was hoping for at least a 2 week down hill run in compensation for all the hard work and here the climb just evaporated in an instance.

Night Rule

Night rule

I have always had this rule on adventures, an hour before dark, that’s it, call it a day and find a place to camp. If you try and push on in the dark things always go pear shaped. Its happens every time, one thinks you will learn
We have had a few weeks of signal problems, especially with uploads to our site and you tube. I had just run into Ratlam and the team called me, there was massive bandwidth here, so we decided to find a little shop with power, take a few hours off and catch up with the media. This meant I also had to stop and edit all my footage that Nick could upload it. I also had blog’s and pictures that needed to be sorted out.

Police evening

Police evening

The whole day had been crazy, the Mahadra Predesh province has not been our best and once again we had been kicked of the land where we wanted to sleep. Eventually the crew found a new spot, but just off a road and right in the path of local traffic which we try and avoid, as if you are seen, the bush telegraph goes out and every villager in a 3 km radius will be there to come and have a look.

Sun Walker

Sun walker

It had been another long hard day, camp is always a reward at the end especially if it’s a stealth one( one that we can get to without the locals seeing us, otherwise its bush TV till its dark) This camp was perfect, up against the side of the mountain no Village, no temple playing music, just the quiet sounds of nature and a rare view. The view was down the valley and onto the rolling plains below. The nice thing was that there was a train line and a freeway far of to the right, we could hear nothing but could see all the vehicles like ants moving up and down, the odd train looked like a snake looking for warmth in the evening sun.

Parrot in net

The poor parrots

Nick and I had been filming a massive derelict cathedral in the town Mandu. From there I was to run on to the edge of the plateau and then down to the Namara river. This area has been such mental food and stimulation compared to the rest of the MP province so it was worth taking time off to look at these beautiful; old buildings. We walked around the back of the ruin following a path back to the road. The path wound through some really small little farms and orchards. Then we descended into a bigger Guava orchard. On entering we heard some really strange load squawking of birds ahead.

The-streets-580x2502

The Streets

India is a hard place in all aspects, just traveling even as a normal tourist has its challenges. Running the country has taken it to a new level. I have seen poverty hardship and have experienced my fair share of difficulty and hardship. I basically live like a local. Each day is a grind of 45 to 50 km, and then find a place to camp, cook food with whatever we can find at the village market, eat and then collapse till the next morning.