Day 1 : 14/01/2017
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Kasara via train
We boarded the train at midnight. It was a perfect time for us trekkers to socialize and to know each other. One of the major highlights of the trek for me personally – Diversity.
Location-wise – Not just from Mumbai Suburbs, Vashi, to Gujarat.
Profession-wise – Police officer, Chartered Accountant, students pursuing Architecture, Law, Computer Science, Psychology, Literature.
All in all, the start to the trek itself was refreshing, away from the mundane life, peers and social circle.
Kasara station – Samrad village via Jeep
3 AM ride in the Jeep, navigating the Ghats and light-less roads was some thrill!
I was introduced to Anup, one of our specially-abled friends. What ensued was – 2 days of epic banter! Anup was a livewire. Fully expressive, continuously pumped up and his gestures and emotions did the talking. We couldn’t even recognize the difference between us and them. Interactions with Anup and Yadnesh made me realize –
“To such people, even if you give them 1000 reasons to cry, they’ll show you the one reason to smile and be happy about”
Base village – Sandhan Valley 8:30
Walking towards the Sandhan valley – we were briefed by Vitthal Awari sir (Trek Instructor) about the course of action and few instructions.
At first, it was all about setting the right foot on the right stone with right position. Simplest way forward was to follow the immediate person ahead of you. However the real fun was to explore on your own.
Stones.. at times.. play real good tricks..
What might look as an easy firm landing ends up miserably bad due to wrong judgement. That error gets introduced either due to soil beneath causing it to slip or due to awkward landing of foot.
“Plant your foot and plant it well..No half measures..”
After the initial hiccups, it was about time we got another adventure. And bamm.. we had this water body in front of us between the valley. The only way to navigate through it was through the water body.
As is the case with any mirage or huge mountain – “Appearances are mighty deceptive!”
What we guaged as knee deep water ended up till our throats. Imagine what happens to 5feet ladies n gentlemen! Deplorable sight!
And it’s not just your 60 kg. body that has to be transported alone, you have your luggage to cater to as well!
Rucksack which for most times is a savior turns into an obstacle and hindrance!
Maintaining balance in the water, being aware of the biting stones underneath your feet, and firmly holding your bag above – It was all worth the effort. As we reached the middle portion, we were embraced by a spectacular view. Nature at its best! As we started the descent, I got to do rappelling not once but 3 times.
To top it off I was dispatched as the first one to do from our group!
Harness and ropes.. Certainly felt like – Living the Life on edge!
(Farfetching it..although at first it looks daunting .. it’s absolutely safe in truth )
“Keep your knees straight!”
“Don’t push yourself towards the rock!”
“Hold the rope with left hand and use the right one to push yourself down!”
Chants kept ringing. Drama continued till 5 in the evening as we finally bid adieu to the rocks and the valley.
Camping – Night stay
Upon reaching the campsite, we felt a sense of joy and triumph of safely tackling the challenges presented to us by Mother Nature. Just like after a mammoth 200 run stand by a test cricket batsman, we enjoyed nice chilled ice bath. A small pond nearby was our makeshift – bathtub. We swam to our hearts content (only 15 minutes thanks to super exhaustion and dehydration). Post the super relaxing swim, we built our own tents and had early dinner (7pm). After which, we sang to our hearts content in the company of bonfire. Dozed off to sleep by 9:30pm. (A rarity I must admit)
Day 2: 15/01/2017
Sandhan Valley Campsite – Asangaon – Dadar
Woke up to the unpleasant chattering caused by alarms and began our last lap.
One of our fellow trekkers – super-experienced Police Inspector – Mr.Kadam gave all of us handy tips and instructions for Safety and Security. For e.g. – How to save yourself from Thieves, Robbers, troublesome Rickshaw/Taxi drivers? Especially for women – Using dupatta, Holding the collar to choke him, Using kitchenware for saving your own lives, etc.
From the camping site we walked through forests and barren land for 3 hours to reach a village near Asangaon. Staple diet – Rice bhakari, mix vegetable (brinjal,potato,beans). Cherry on the cake moment – playing cricket with young Turks for good chunk of an hour! As we left the village in a jeep to reach Asangaon station, our songs continued while we relived all the amazing moments throughout the trek.
The banter triggered on most occasions by Anup and Yadnesh
The tussle for winning coveted prize Ladoos
And most importantly Scenic beauty of Sandhan Valley..
Difficulty level – Moderate
- Follow the leader
- Better to go through a trekking group (especially if you are a novice)
- Carry Light-weight rucksack with Water-bottle, Sweater, Torch
- Get high (already its taxing your body a lot)
- Smoke in the valley (It destroys the sanctity of place, nature besides unsettling the honey bees tormenting the other fellow trekkers)
- For God’s sake litter that abode
- Expect network / service
Special thanks to Him Sahyadri Trekkers.
To the Good times! To one hell of a trek!