Adventure Camps 2014
Camp Taapu Sera (Old Dhanaulti Road Near Dehradun)
My Trip to Camp Taapu Sera
This year, Class 8 of Vasant Valley School went to Camp Taapu Sera for their Adventure Camp. We all assembled on the 19th of March at school and went by bus to the train station. The train ride to Dehradun was 6 hours long and was filled with fun. We played card games and word games and conversed with our friends. After the train journey, the bus ride to the camp was on a very narrow, steep road. Though it was scary, it felt good to start the camp with a bit of adventure.
When we finally reached the site, we all put our bags down with a huge thud, creating swirls of dust which rose through the air, and sat down on the grassy ground with the fresh, cool breeze brushing our faces. We were introduced to the instructors, who gave us a list of do’s and don’ts to follow during the camp, after which we all ran to our tents.
After settling down we were summoned to the small central garden by the ring of a bell. We played a few small games and then we were divided into four groups. It started to rain so we were forced to stay indoors making our first activity to create a small banner or poster which included a title of our group, a slogan and a small sketch or icon resembling a member of the group. Then we had a few more short group activities which proved useful in warming us up and we finally settled down for a delicious and hearty dinner. Finally, we all wandered back to our tents and slowly drifted into a world of dreams.
The next morning we woke up at 6 am, which proved to be much too early for us all, and were given a refreshing meal of tea and snacks. At 7, our activities for the day began and our group was told that we would be doing bird watching, rappelling and rock climbing. So our group went back up the hill on a short bird watching adventure. This proved to be very informative as well as enjoyable as we learned about all the different kinds of birds and their specific breeding ways and habitats. This trek taught us the important virtues of patience and silence as we had to remain as still and quiet as mice to prevent the birds from flying away in fright.
Later that day, a short hike took us to the flat mountain face which we’d be rappelling down. A few minutes, later a camp instructor came and told us the rules and different safety precautions which we would follow while rappelling. But though the rappelling was challenging, the worst part of the trek was the bitchu bhuti, a kind of prickly plant that could be found everywhere in that area. Sometimes it was as if the bare ground was biting and stinging us! The bitchu bhuti taught us the importance of studying your surroundings and watching where you step.
Then we were taken in pairs to the top of the hill and were strapped into our harnesses. One by one all of the children were secured by the rope and carefully repelled down the mountain guided by the encouraging voices of their peers. This experience was a lot of fun for us all and it took great courage for us to lower ourselves down the mountain with our lives depending on the strength of a single rope. Finally we all assembled at the bottom of the hill and walked as a group back to the campus for lunch, where we ate and bragged about the activities we had accomplished.
The next activity we went for was rock climbing and this was even more fun than rappelling. One by one we climbed up the mountain face, keeping an eye out for anything that could be used as a foot or hand hold.
The next day we were in for a huge challenge. We were going to be going on a long and exhausting trek. We all covered our bodies with sunscreen and odomos and filled our bags with medicines and energising food items. This activity began with a short lecture on the importance of following rules and about certain formations we would be trekking in. I was given the position of middleman and I had to convey messages between the leaders ahead and the group.
The objective of the trek was to teach us how to navigate with a map and compass and learn how to survive without a guide. We were taken to the top of a mountain with a map and a compass and were told to navigate our way back down without the help of a guide. It was a lot of fun but at the same time was very tiring. In the moments where we went completely off track a guide who followed us would lead us in the correct direction but then he would move to a distance again.
We were allowed small breaks at frequent intervals throughout the journey and on reaching a village towards the end of the trek we were allowed a 10 minute break complete with food and water. Finally our 4 hour trek came to an end and we walked the short distance from where the trek ended to where the campsite began. We were all tired and it was so nice and refreshing to splash cool water onto our faces.
As the day came to a close we all shared our various adventures with our friends and slowly went to sleep in our tents. The next morning was a sad day for us all as our camp would come to an end. We slept in a bit as there were no activities that day and then we were given total freedom. We were allowed to roam around with friends and do whatever we wanted while remaining inside the camp boundaries. Finally we heard the long regretted ring of a bell which told us that we had to pack up our bags and go back to Delhi. We sadly took our luggage and clumsily dragged it up the hill. At the top of the hill we all turned around and waved goodbye to not only Camp Taapu Sera but to the memories we had made there, which would remain with us forever.