Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trek to Tung

Click on the pic below to open the web-album

Monday, March 15, 2010

Idea of a perfect weekend


Sleeping till noon
Walking up and sitting with a mug of green tea, enjoying the silence both outside and within :)
Finishing off the newspaper at my own leisurely pace
Watching Alice in Wonderland in 3D Format at World's Largest IMAX Dome Theater at Wadala
Dinner at a Punjabi roadside Dhaba (meal for two Rs. 58/- all inclusive) :P


Night Out :D
Depart for Lonavala at 0430 am
Awesome roller-coaster bus ride
Trek to Fort Tung
Great view from the top
Lunch on the way back (at some random place)
Uploading Pics on Facebook
Adding new friends on Facebook
Leaving the room as unorganized as it has been for the past 3 weeks ;)
Prepared to doze off for 10 hours straight :D

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trek to Harishchandgad

Trek to Harishchandgad

One more trek completed in this month :)

I had heard and read a lot of reviews about Harishchandgad, which is the located in the Malshej Ghat and is the second highest peak in the Shayadri range. Upon getting an invite for the trek I was both excited and apprehensive. Excited because I had really enjoyed my last trek with V Hikerz. And apprehensive as the trek had been classified as “medium to tough” by most of the trekkers who had blogged about it. Well aware of my current state of fitness I was in a state of doubt and flux whether I should go for it or not. Ultimately after weighing my options and have a brief discussion with Varun and Samiir, who pep talked me out of it, decided to take the plunge.

After my last trek I had promised myself to be in a slightly better shape and be more regular at Gym. However, that wasn’t supposed to be. In the span between my last trek and this one (which was two weeks) , I went to the gym a grand total of two times L
And also the night before we had to start, I arrived late from work and for some odd reason decided to give sleep a miss :P

So on Friday night, with one night out and a complete day at work and a confused body clock headed to Dadar. We took the last local train to Kalyan at 12:55. From Kalyan we took the first bus out and reached the starting point. I slept through most part of the bus ride and missed most of the view, the only thing that I remembered was the chilly breeze that kept hitting me and how desperately it tried to sleep in the rollercoaster bus ride. We reached the start point (Khubi Phata, Khireshwar Village- Malshej Ghat) within three hours. Where we were greeted by an amazing view of the valley and pleasant sunshine.

I can divide this entire trek into three parts-
· Initial Ascent – Khireshwar to Tolar Khid
· Rock Patch (which will be the focal point of this post)
· Final Walk

Initial Ascent – Motivated by scenic beauty, amazing breeze and a hearty breakfast, we started the trek. The initial part was fairly easy. Walking through the jungle amidst ample shade was a fairy enjoyable experience.

Rocky Patch - After about an hour and half we reached the point from where the rocky patch started. This was the part of the trek about which I was very apprehensive, the reason being I am a bit scared of open heights. There were ample stories about this patch that I read online. So my anxiety started to shoot the moment we reached here.

Now let me digress a bit.

Trekking is something I have been thinking about and had always aspired to do. My past trek experiences have made me realize how I need to work on developing more physical stamina and overcoming my fear for open heights to become a regular trekker. I have decided to use these two reasons as a motivation to stretch and challenge myself.

The only way to fight your deepest fear is to confront it and be ready to put yourself to the test. The rock patch at Harishchandgad made me precisely do that. I had this open rock patch which became steeper as we progressed and top it we had a deep valley just behind us. The view was intimidating and the very thought – one slip and ….. (didn’t have the nerve to complete the sentence) left me frozen.

The moment of confrontation had come and I knew that there was no turning back from it. I started to take deep breaths and completely focusing on my footsteps, handgrips and weight balancing.

The thing that I find funny and ironic about myself is I tend think, panic, fret so much before starting something challenging. Usually after making the plunge these is barely anytime for cognitive diligence and all that remains is pure action.

In this case since the situation was much more primal, me against the brute and unforgiving forces of nature, I had to focus every bit of my energy to the task in hand, which by the way was – walking :P

The intensity of the focus that I have experienced while negotiating such rock patches over the past few treks has been beyond comparison. It made me realize that we have such a negative connotation of the word “fear”. Little do we realize that at times fear can drive us to achieve what we would never have done otherwise. It helps us stretch and challenge ourselves and all the boundaries that we have imposed on ourselves.

Reminded me of the voice over of a soft drink commercial

Dar sabko lagta hai
Gala sabka sukhta hai
Dar se mat daro
Dar ke aage
Kyonki darr ke aage jeet hai

Which loosely translates to –

Every feels afraid
Everyone’s throat parches
Don’t be afraid of
March ahead of it
Because beyond fear lies victory

So after overpowering my internal fears and successfully negotiating the rock patch, reached a plateau and started the third phase of the trek.

Final Walk – This part of the trek consisted of walking up and down seven hillocks. It is during this phase that the exertion of the trek started to show its affect and to make things worse the sun was at its peak, with very little shade available. The terrain was mostly rocky and flat. We had to take more frequent breaks. My shoulders started to hurt, due to the weight of the backpack. This patch took us little more than an hour to complete.

We were so glad to reach the final destination. We found a perfect cave for us to stay, a helpful village couple who assured us to take care of our belongings and cook for us at night. Enjoyed the wonderful sunset at Konkankada (which is a sheer cliff with a vertical drop of 1700 feet, which gives an awesome view of the Malshej Ghat) and got a chance to click some nice snaps.

For the descent we were able to find a route that was much less strenuous. It was via Pachnai. It took us less than an hour to descent. From the base village we boarded a State Transport bus to Rajur and then book a jeep from there upto Kasara. From Kasara it was a local train journey via Dadar to Borivali.

I reached home tired, exhausted, without a bath for two days, still feeling recharged and motivated from within :)

Thanks V Hikerz for planning such an amazing trek and also making me a part of it.

Now my next target – Do some monsoon treks in the Sahyadris

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