Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Bhimashankar - The trek
We left from Vanvihar at 7 am and reached the base point Khandas at around 8. I was quite nervous as it was known to be a tough trek. And I being a kidney patient was not very confident about whether my body would take it.
To add to the nervousness was the fact that I was the only one who knew the route and it was at my encouragement that we had undertaken this trek in the first place. I had to set challenges for myself.
Bhimashankar has 3 stages. Each stage is a climb with forest walks in between the climbs. The first one passes through a Ganesh temple hence the route is knows as Ganpati ghat. We completed the first phase without much trouble. Yes we were tired as it took us around an hour and an hour of climb can be tiring. It started raining heavily as we moved on to the plateau at the end of this climb.
But we kept going. And the best part was that we didnt keep to the beaten path. We explored areas of the forest which I had not done during my earlier trips to the place.
Some of the views which we saw were truly breathtaking. Awe inspiring. Absolute stunners. The camera could only take in a fraction of the true beauty in its lenses. After all they are mere devices. The real thing was a sight to behold. At such points the phrase about beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder is negated. Beauty is absolute. It cannot be negotiated. Simply ....simply beautiful.
We had our share of glucose powder and water etc. and moved on. The forest was so dense. The suns rays simply refused to reach the ground level and the shadow of the trees created a darkness as well as a shade which had to be experienced.
It was impossible to express the beauty of the forest in words. We spotted a giant malabar squirrel one of the inhabitants of these forests.
Then came the waterfall. This waterfall is roughly the half way mark in the trek and is most refreshing. The waters are so sweet and tasty. The natural coolness in the water makes it an ideal thirst quencher. Water it was. The real thing, without any chlorine or additives to make it "safe" for us.
The trek moved onto a tough part now. There were trecherous rocks. These rocks were slippery due to the scanty rains and one slip would have ended our journey in the valley. It would have been an unfortunate ending to the efforts that one has to make while taking dialysis. Truly unfortunate.
Due to my experience, I was able to negotiate the rocks in a manner that I had to make minimal use of the left hand which had a fistula. However, at one point I had to. I had stepped on the wrong rocks and there was no going back. The only way I had was to haul myself up on another rock and I had to use the fistula hand to do so. I prayed to Lord Bhimashankar to give me the strength to do so without any major issues. Well I did it. But it left an imprint on my mind. I could do much more than what I could imagine. It did give me so much more confidence to face life.
After these tiring episodes we were looking for a break which we got when a local had taken the effort of climbing this much and starting a tea stall. IT was a rustic setting but tea was definitely on the cards.
Along with the tea we had some bread and butter that we had carried with us.
The the trek began again. This was even tougher. I was really tired now. Most of us were. All the trekking groups were taking a break by now. The breaks were becoming more frequent. Then we met a gentleman who was coming downhill. To our surprise we were told that the peak is at least an hour and a half away. Vow and we were spent....almost.
We had three ways out. To go back - this was not possible as we have covered 70% of the distance
To stay put in the jungle - We had seen hoardings at the entrance of the forest to beware of Leopards
To move ahead and complete the trek...............sometimes the toughest options seem to be the best. Most of the times actually.
We kept going. Each sinew in our body was strained. We were puling on with the final reserves in our body. Glucose water kept us going. Finally we saw the opening that was the summit. Finally......it was around fifteen minutes after we first saw it and after 2 stops we made it. Yes we made it to the top.
It had taken us more than 7 hours.
We had a face wash in one of the streams there and felt refreshed and then kept moving to the temple that was the main point of this place.
We prayed from outside as there was a huge queue and returned to Mumbai. There were so many spots to see here but we kept it for another trip. We came home by bus. This was an adventure in itself, maybe I will cover it in another post.
But I was very happy. I could complete Bhimashankar in one piece. I had taken up a challenge and completed it. I had set new standards for myself