At dinner on the 18th, our host explained that one of the trekking routes – the one to the top of the highest peak in the area, was now not viable because elephants had been sighted at the base of that hill in the recent past. He had contacted several guides but none were willing to risk running into the elephant herd. He offered us an alternate route that would take us to a nearby village cutting across other hills but I was disappointed to know that it would involve walking along a road. Arvind was more than willing to walk along the road which disappointed me further because we had come all this way not to dilute our experience in such a manner! Mr. Kashinath promised that he would ask some other locals if they were willing to take us in the morning and if none were available, Ramesh, one of the plantation workers would take us on the road path at 9 the next day.
That night, sleep was not entirely fulfilling to me. Arvind seemed quite content with just walking down a road, perhaps because he was not as adventurous as the rest of us or maybe because he preferred the route with the least physical exertion. Whatever the reason was, I wasn’t going to let anything dilute my dream trip! I woke up next morning and the first thing on my mind was the trek. As I peeked out, it was raining heavily. That meant that the water level in the river would rise that day. After consulting Abishek, who agreed that taking a road didn’t seem worth the trouble we had taken to travel, we went up to talk to Mr. Kashinath. We told him that we’d rather trek along the river and we were willing to take Ramesh along (a very wise decision as it would later turn out). Our host accepted our proposal and told us the packed lunch would be ready shortly and we could leave.