The pictures in the geography textbooks are about the closest many of us know of the Mongolian Gobi desert. Two Puneites,Sucheta Kadethankar and Nalanda Joglekar,are set to walk across the fifth largest desert in the world as part of an expedition in May. The 1600-km trek,set to begin on May 24,is expected to take at least 60 days.
Lead information developer Kadethankar and Joglekar who is into e-learning are the two Indians selected to cross the desert along with desert explorer Ripley Davenport who has been promoting desert adventure for years now. The trek of the Mongolian Gobi desert alongside the Khongoryn Els,the largest and spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia,by the 13-member team will focus on documenting every aspect of the adventure and it will be a first of its kind.
The two have been into trekking for years. We were looking up the website globetrooper when we came across this announcement; we had applied two months ago. After a series of interviews on skype and even chat,we were selected, said Kadethankar who works with Symantec.
The organisation had given her the required leave for the trekking experience. It is the most extraordinary experience; would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, says Kadethankar who has trekked the Himalayas. She attributes her inspiration to Because Its There,English mountaineer George Mallorys famous retort to why he wants to climb Mount Everest. She is also into adventure racing and has won in the IT category in Enduro3 an adventure race that involves cycling,trekking and rowing. The 33-year-old is supported by her mother and friends. Now,I just have to focus on my training.
Joglekar is an avid trekker and photographer when shes not managing projects for a company that designs technology-enabled learning. Its like a challenge for me and it will be one unique experience, she says. Joglekar will also document the experience. Staying with her parents in Pune,she says it was easy to convince them. They know what I am made of.
The two are on a rigorous two-to-three hours daily regimen of workouts at the gym,walks,running,cycling and even pulling tyres up the slopes. There is no achievement without the mandatory hard work and we are sweating it out, Joglekar says.
The team leader had given the two a list of dos and donts. Kadethankar,a veggie,has geared herself up mentally to turn non-vegetarian while Joglekar is into yoga to cure an earlier back injury.