16.11.2019
Article Reportage Medium

Tourism as a State of mind

Report on the trekking marathon in november forest

Tour club of NRU HSE on the platform before going to Moscow after the competition
Reading time 4 minutes

— Hey, guys, it’s time to go. The halt is over. Is everybody here? Hmm… Sasha… Where is he? Has anybody seen him recently? Well, the participant has gone let’s find him!

That was the beginning of “Medicine” part of “Noyabr’skiy marathon” , the contest organized by Hiking club of NRU HSE. Somewhere in Moscow region forests four girls and three boys searched for the fourth boy in the twilight. He hadn’t been seen since the beginning of the halt until 15 minutes later he was found at a spruce windfall. Sasha pretended that he was a sufferer with broken leg. We were to perform the first aid and carry him to the ambulance. Not in a serious way but as training. It was the challenge of “Medicine” part.

Firstly, we examined the “injured” person in the dusk, secondly, immobilized “broken bone” with trekking mats, ropes and sticks after dark. At the same time we were binding a stretcher. If a group is small and lights of lanterns are not pretty bright, the forest seems to be infinite and pitch-dark while people seem to be just small glow-worms that have to carry “injured”, into the civilisation. Where the civilisation was, everyone might have already forgotten because all trails couldn’t be seen.

You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher.
You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher

The darkness was close to making Sahsa actually injured. Having put mats and jackets on the stretcher, we laid Sahsa on it and fastened him. When we lifted the construction, one log cracked, therefore, we had to fix it and hold the load on the rope. Walking through spruce windfall, we saw that two trees are too close to one another to walk between. Despite that fact, we had to go there as it was impossible to walk around. That’s why a couple of metres Saha was carried sideways perpendicularly to the Earth with his left side what made him scream with protest.

“Medicine” was not the only part of the contest. In each of three days participants faced up to three or four challenges. There they practiced skills essential for hiking and trekking. As the organisers had found themselves in different situations within their experience, challenges varied a lot. The next one, “Byt”:

— Are you going to take the backpack till the morning?

— Of course.

— This backpack for the whole night?

— Yeah, for the whole night.

— Will you, indeed?

— Actually, don’t postpone, give it now.

In this challenge we had to imagine that our group made the camp on the rock ledge of a sheer mountain side and one of backpacks fell into abyss. No sooner had we unbound the stretcher from “Medicine”, we started the discussion who would be that one without gear at night. The discussion looked like this: we pulled matches. Well, at that moment my heart was in my mouth. I thought that I just couldn’t bear sleep without warm sleeping bag and a sweater as it was freezing… and pulled a short match. In the group report my emotions were described in this way, “Lisa was deprived of her possessions. Luckily, she didn’t carry any joint gear”.

Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear
Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear

Yeah, it was a luck because we didn’t lose the dinner consisted of bulgar and chicken fillet with sour cream or tents and axes. Night stay without them would have been much more tricky than without first aid and two bars of chocolate. Nevertheless, I still had to sleep without gear. In a windy and cold night it was scary. To solve this problem, we organized a brainstorm. As a result, all of us came to the conclusion that I should sleep with my friend in her large sleeping bag. Trekking unites, doesn’t it? Guys gave me warm clothes too. By the way, at the evening gathering at the fire I looked like a disco mirror ball as the special blanket in which I was wrapped reflected the light.

Hardships were waiting for the participants both at the challenge-parts and on the road. The next day when groups had to walk 30 km, according to the plan, all of them faced a life-long green fence. It was so long that “Petushki” team decided to go through the swamp in the darkness just not to walk around the fence. “Oi” team walked around the fence and figured out that three sides of it were approximately 3,5 km long. That way took them two hours… Our team “Schastlivyy sluchay [Happy occasion]” affirmed the name and found the hole in the fence. Behind tall metal sections was hidden a field. An ordinary field. Later we saw a road and lights of houses, though we were unable to understand what their habitants fenced. That is why the fence was named irrational in the reports.

"Petushki" repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night
“Petushki” repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night

“Noyabr’skiy marathon” was 60 km of roads and trails, fields and windfalls, heels and swamps. Three teams of beginners and advanced tourists. Three days of jokes and adventures, two nights of songs. One unforgettable competition.

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