Reach New Heights
It’s often said, ‘Go where you feel alive’. Keeping that spirit in mind Alila Jabal Akhdar recently organised Reach Your Peak, an exclusive adventure trip, where one could not only feel the sublime rush of adrenaline but also watch the breathtaking beauty
Idiscovered something in life some time ago — you can be alive and you can feel alive. And these are completely different things. There are a few things that make me feel completely alive, where my senses are heightened, all the happy hormones are released, and the world feels like an awesome place to be. It usually happens when I feel an adrenaline rush — that insane feeling of fear, excitement, and ecstasy and the eventual release.
I usually get that feeling when I’m live on air, but the only other time I feel as ‘alive’ is when I’m trying an extremely challenging adventure sport. I’m not the fittest person, but I never turn down an opportunity to try something new. So when I was approached with the Reach Your Peak programme, I jumped on the chance.
Alila Jabal Akhdar, one of my most favourite destinations in Oman, organised the Reach Your Peak journey, an exclusive adventure trip that judiciously uses Oman’s one-of-its-kind landscape to give all adrenaline junkies and fitness freaks a heavy dosage of everything they crave for.
The trip started from Muscat on Thursday where I was driven all the way to the Green Mountain, which although is the same country but feels like a totally different nation in itself. This was my second time in Jabal Akhdar, and like the previous time I couldn’t contain my excitement as the car kept going upwards and the temperature proportionately kept getting cooler. In about half an hour, I saw the stoney hotel clusters and finally the board that said Alila appeared. Yes, I was here. As soon as I got down, I took a minute to absorb the view around me — of the sun’s rays playing on the leaves of the shrubs, the beautiful resorts entrance and the majestic mountains guarding the entire area. What a sight!
As I entered and went straight to the Juniper restaurant, the seats of which overlook the cliff, I joined a few other ladies who had just finished their yoga session. They were having interesting conversations about energy and vibrations and chanting Hindu mantras like ‘Om Gam Ganpataye Namah’ that blew my socks off. The early morning yoga clearly had an effect on all of them — they looked calm and peaceful and most importantly happy to be there. I wouldn’t even expect otherwise as the natural energy flowing in the place is magical — adding to that spiritual practices and exercises, I could only imagine being transferred to a completely different realm.
After some delicious egg benedict and coffee to wade my tiredness off, I went up to my room with a view of the infinity pool and the infiniteness of the mountains and valleys. I quickly went down dressed in my sports wear and shoes and loads of sunscreen all prepped for what awaited me down below.
I was standing at the edge of the cliff feeling my heart pound, a small bead of sweat trickled down my face and slowly I took a few steps forward. No, I wasn’t planning to jump off the cliff, not without my carabiners at least. Holding tightly onto the rope and as I was told “trusting it completely” I kept moving forward slowly until I was almost perpendicular to the ground depending completely on the rope running along the mountain to keep me standing.
As I kept moving deeper into the valley, it started getting quieter, save the sound of my panting and occasional grunts and perpetual panting. It’s weird how it felt like meditation although the adrenaline was gushing like no man’s business. Up, down, and across — I wouldn’t say I kept striding, but I took carefully calculated steps using all of my limbs and muscles and brain to go across the most difficult and exciting path I’d ever taken. I would stop occasionally to catch my breath but would be breathtaken by the view and just the very idea that I was right in the middle of this gorgeous view.
Through slippery, rocky, muddy terrain I reached a surface that had single steps to hold and step on that led me to the cave, out of which came four lines — two on the side to hold, one on top for the carabiners and one to walk on. Yes, just one line, one shaky, swivelling line on which I had to walk to get to the other side.
And oh, you know what’s underneath? Nothing for a few hundred metres so don’t even think of looking down. However, once you cross the bridge and go back up the mountain and complete the entire circuit, the sense of accomplishment and pride you will feel will keep you smiling and buzzed for the entire day. I felt like a fear factor winner once I got back to the top where I started from and let out the loudest scream just to hear it echo back.
I was so glad to have done this at Alila, the place with the best spa, because that is exactly what I needed after this rigorous battle with the mountain and my fears. I opted for a detoxifying massage that sent me into a trance for 60 whole minutes and I felt all rejuvenated when I came out ready for another battle. Okay, not really.
However, I did try out the archery there in the open and I somehow managed without hurting anyone with my bad aim. A few good shots, too many horrible ones later, I walked back to my room and on my way admiring the unadulterated beauty this place beholds with so much to offer to people looking for serenity, adventure, relaxation or just some time away from the concrete jungle and the mechanical mess that our lives have become.