We went forward. We backtracked our way. We tried a new way. We sent my father as a scout to go and find a route. We tried all directions. We climbed the top of the fort and tried to orient the directions again. It was then that we realized the path we were supposed to take and the mistake we had made. And every direction we went, we found cliffs. But never matter, we decided to sit down and calm ourselves. Now what were our options? We could either go back all the way we had come and go the right way. Pros? We would reach the temple-cave for sure. Cons? We would never reach in time. There was this dangerous rock patch that couldn’t be traversed without light, so the cons outweighed the pros. The other option was to scout around more. There was certainly a way to go down to the temple-cave. If you could come up from there, you could certainly go down from here! Pros? If we found the way we would reach faster. If we didn’t find the way then we knew we could camp near the ‘tankis’ and be safe. Cons? It would take time to scout, and maybe a lot of climbs and slippery slopes. Being who we are, we chose the second path. Most of us sat down where we were instead of wandering around and wasting energy. My dad, trekker uncle, and my mom went scouting. My sister sat down next to me on a rock outcropping in the middle of the yellow field. She had been jumping around and complaining about all kinds of weird things that were pricking and poking her alone. But now, tired, she sat with me and we shared a silent moment.
Suddenly, I heard a muffled ‘AYEO!’ This was the imperative cry that we used to locate each other, and estimate how far away the person might be. This cry was my dad’s and came from our right. We all jumped to our feet, hoisted our bags and half dragged, half carried his 15kg backpack. He had found the way that was to lead us back. And then he gave this weird smile to my mom. I couldn’t fathom one percent of it, and I didn’t think I would want to know. It felt pretty personal. So we moved ahead anyway. We had to hack through a lot of wild weeds and grass. Don’t let that let you think of tiny little things that must be uprooted. These gigantic monstrosities were as high as me and there were fields and fields of these! My sister kept jumping up every time her ‘weird things’ pricked her, but more or less we reached a green wood. On both the sides of us, however, there were no trees. They weren’t shrubs either. They were these tall sticks with a few odd leaves sticking out. I asked my mom what they were and a surprising story unfolded.