It was 18th of September, 2015. My solo trekking destination was Tandulwadi fort, standing at about 1500ft high. This was the first time I was going to trek to that place. All I relied on to get there was the GPS on my mobile. The weather was overcast and cool, which was perfect for trekking as well as photography. I left home at about 12:30pm while my trekking was to start at 2pm. I selected the weekday because I expected nobody would be there which would help me in better photography and filming.
My trek towards the top began at 2pm and I was very excited because the weather was perfect for filming my trek. Walking through initial huts, a dog started barking at me which was calmed by the owner. I went forward and a few seconds later another dog followed me. When I stopped and looked at the dog, it stopped as well after coming near me. Then, to check whether the dog is following me I moved a bit forward and stopped again. The dog did the same. Now, I had a companion for the trek. It kept on following me and peeing all the way as to mark his territory or just to find his way back. Initially I didn’t believe this dog would follow me all the way, but it did. Half an hour had past and the dog was still following me. He didn’t just follow me, but showed me the correct way by not following me when I selected the wrong way. It was very strange for me and I started loving this dog.
Then after 20 minutes of trekking I decided to show my affection towards the dog by giving him cold drink Maaza which was the only thing I took with the water. I had no idea what dogs like to eat and drink. It turned out, the dog didn’t like it. I immediately regretted that I should have bought some eateries with me and now I have nothing to feed this lovely dog.
The atmosphere was getting very foggier as we trekked higher. I didn’t see a single person right from the start of the trek. The point when I reached a creepier part of the trek was when I felt very thankful to the dog as walking alone through that area might have been a different experience. The area was plain and in front was a big rock besides the high mountain of Tandulwadi. Now, fearlessly walking on I decided to give a name to this dog. The first word which came to my mind was ‘Love’. I called the dog Love from then so that it get used to that word. We reached the steeper part of the climb and arrow marks on the stones helped me get to the top. But, it was the dog who really gave me the direction.
He was in the front all the way at the steeper part of the climb. He was relentlessly climbing through the rocks with ease while I was breathing heavily for each step on the rocks. The dog waited for me after he went too far. It was my first connection with the dog and it was a great feeling. But I also had a feeling whether the dog was onto something on top of mountain and was seeking my companionship just to get there. It would be a surprise if the dog would be with me all the way. I was about to find out that.
We reached the top and the dog went ahead of me. I couldn’t see him. Through the grasses and large trees there were two ways, one to the left of the mountain which covered the major portion of the mountain and other to the right which covered lesser portion of the mountain. I went to the left predicting that the dog too might have gone that way. The air was foggy and the weather was bit windy and cool. It was turning out to be a great trek. I was enjoying every bit of it. I moved further I couldn’t find the dog. I called the dog loudly, “Love, Love, Love”. I expected the dog would come. I again called the dog, “Love, Love”. I then realized that I was already a bit attached to the dog. I missed him.
I had less time as it was around 4:30pm and I had half an hour before I must leave because it would be very difficult to trek down in the dark. I started taking picture of the breathtaking landscapes on all the sides of the mountain. As I was changing the battery of the camera I looked behind and there he was, Love, I called him, “Love, Love”. He ran towards me and I immediately took the video as I thought it would be a priceless moment to capture. He came towards me and I caressed his neck gently.
I was filled with affection towards the dog. I wished I could pet this dog. It made me sad that I had nothing to give this dog to eat. I thought water would help the tired dog but he didn’t drink. We then explored the place and took a lot of amazing pictures.
The dog found every opportunity of relaxing when I stopped which made me feel sad for him.
When I saw dog eating pieces of grass, it made me even sadder and I told him, “Don’t eat grass I will buy you biscuits when we get down” even though he wouldn’t understand a word.
It was 5pm and I was ready to go back home. The tired dog found shortcuts and better way through which he would easily get through while I followed the bone shaking rocky trail.
The trek down was faster and I thanked God for this wonderful day. I could sense that the dog was very hungry. There was shop near the base of the mountain. I was ready to give him anything he wanted to eat. We reached the starting point of trek and the dog moved inside the hut with the barrier made of sticks. Maybe the dog was very hungry so he went straight to the hut from where he followed me initially. That was the last time I saw the dog. I was disappointed that the dog didn’t follow me outside where the shop was, where I was going to give him a big treat.
The four hour with dog and perfect weather made this day an unforgettable experience in the mountains for me. I can only long for such an experience again.
(Video coming soon on NatureGuy, my YouTube channel : https://www.youtube.com/user/Miles1Eccentric1Pro/)