BIS #6849 Trailblazers Hike at Karnala

By Dr. Wilona Annunciation for BISMumbai

Don Bosco Prafulta, Centre for Psychological Wellness, organized the Prafulta-Trailblazers Mental Health Hike. The hike was organised on 4 December 2022, beginning at 7.30 a.m. at the base of the Funnel Hill, situated within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, and culminating at the Karnala Fort.

Prafulta believes that a healthy mind starts with a healthy body and hence planned an open-for-all mental health hike as a part of their year-long Silver Jubilee celebrations. Emotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing go hand-in-hand and this hike aimed to bring together the best of both these worlds.

After completion of registration, the hike began with an ice breake: everyone introduced themselves with an adjective that described the essence of their being. The ice-breaker energised the group to start the hike with the right energy. The hikers then moved to a circular space created for the them to rest, while they engaged in a quick mindfulness activity using the five senses combined with intentional breathing. This helped create the emotional space needed before starting the trek.

As the climb began, the rocky high steps posed a challenge that needed to be mounted. The 'Trailblazers Team' was ready to assist anyone who needed help and waited patiently to ensure the group stayed together as far as possible. They also kept reminding everyone to keep hydrating and to take small steps and regular, even breaths as they walked along. From the youngest to the oldest, all the participants kept up a steady conversation filled with information and camaraderie throughout.

After lunch, Karnala Fort picture postcards were passed around. Each participant spent some time reflecting on their journey and wrote down a message for themselves or a loved one on their postcard.

The descent was comparatively quicker with the added flavour of responsible trekking. The hikers picked up as much trash as they could find leaving the trail cleaner than they had found it. It was truly delightful to see our participants enthusiastically picking up trash others had left behind and when they put our bags together, they had actually collected a lot! The trek ended back at the base with some refreshing kokum sorbet and delicious meals courtesy the canteen run by the Sanctuary authorities. The food was served piping hot and fresh, prepared by the local women.

Though exhausted in body, the hikers left with high spirits and the thrill of having completed a trek and meeting a wonderfully engaging group of enthusiastic trekkers who care about their emotional health.