My Weekend with Nature

This past weekend consisted of schoolwork, hiking, and rock climbing. Growing up in a big city, I've always enjoyed hikes, especially venturing out into the unknown, seeing new places and, most importantly, tiring myself out.

So obviously, when I came to the States, I plunged myself into every possible adventure. This included apple picking, ice skating, visiting the Saint Louis Arch in the snow, and a bunch of other random activities. What struck me as odd the first time I went “hiking” in the States was that there are trails! And more importantly, trails for each level of difficulty. Back home, the “trails” are unmarked and known by the locals. There's more than one way of reaching the top, either the usual route or the road less traveled, which would include wading through the dense jungle and essentially just winging it! Adventure in the truest sense. We weren't afraid to venture out into the unknown and even get lost in the process. Which did happen to me once!

On Saturday, we drove out to Illinois, to the Pere Marquette State Park, and Sunday, we visited Elephant Rocks State Park.

On Saturday, I suggested that we go off trail, since the trail was underwater, but I was told that there could be snakes and ticks. Aware of the possibility of death, we turned around.

Back home, in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, we ventured out into the unknown, unaware of any dangers, a what-you-don't-know-can't-kill-you type of scenario. But we were in the presence of a zoologist, so I guess we were kind of protected!

Being a geologist, I'm used to roaming in the wilderness in order to see a geological feature. But nothing prepared me for Elephant Rocks. I have seen granites in all size ranges through a microscope and, after today, I’ve seen granites as big as me. Being 5 feet tall, I was a tad bit scared while jumping from one rock to another, a feeling I wasn’t used to while in the wilderness. But there are firsts for everything I guess.

We ventured out to see the “elephant” rocks as soon as we reached the park. Then at noon, we sat down for lunch and hiked around the place some time later. Before we left, however, I gave rock climbing another go was more prepared this time around, taking more risks and being confident in my jumping capabilities. I would definitely like to go rock “jumping” again!

It was an exhilarating weekend in the presence of nature and a very calming experience to have before the end of the semester. Those final projects and finals hit you all at once!