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Tuesday, 19 July 2011


When we went to Peb last year, we had met three guys who had climbed Nakhind and then walked upto Peb and from thereon gone ahead to Matheran via Kalyan Darwaja.

Right from when I was a kid I have heard about Nakhind and how tough it

was. This trek was definitely something that I was looking forward to. My professional life was extremely busy hence it was tough to get time. So I opted out of organising this one. I had also missed the previous trek Tringalwadi and I was really keen to do Nakhind.

Somehow I managed to make time for the weekend and joined the trek to Nakhind. I badly needed to trek.

We set out in the morning and reached Vangani. Couple of our members had missed the train and hence we waited for 15 minutes for them to join us. Till then we had some yummy hot jalebis at a stall just outside the station. I did the rounds speaking to a couple of locals on how to get to Nakhind and about the trek.

All of them were unanimous.

Are you mad ? asked one middle aged gentleman. Do you really want to go to Nakhind in this climate. Set me thinking. Yes it was pouring and the trek was supposed to be steep. He warned us not to go there and advised us instead to enjoy the whole day at the waterfalls nearby and go home. Safe !!

But we had come there to get to Nakhind and that is where we were going to !!

I was too enamoured by the place to let it go after coming so near.............

We got to the village from where the trek started and started climbing the hill. The gradient was consistent and took us in an hour to a village that was on a small hill. This was we thought a precursor to the trek.

We took along a couple of kids from this wadi (village) to show us the way to the top.

There was a wonderful waterfall on the way where we took some time off to get refreshed.

The kids (our guides) were walking barefeet and it was pouring as well. We could see them shivering. A couple of our groupies offered our raincoats to them.

The path was getting very steep and slippery. We were wondering how we would come down this route. It was going to be very tricky.

The rains abated for a while and the dense jungle made it very stuffy and sultry. One of our group members tried to shake the long grass like trees growing thinking this would give him a shower of the moist ness that accumulates on the trees just after rains. What he got was a pit viper that landed first on his hand and then on the floor. He was quick to move away and the reptile was considerate not to bite us as we passed by. It was one of the scariest moments of my trekking life.

The jungle was dense and the width of the patch was not more than half a foot. There were plants jutting into the path and lots of them had thorns on them. Some thorns are still hurting me as I write this note.

I was getting hypoglycaemic and was feeling giddy but there was no place to sit on the way. We had to make our way to the top. It was also pouring hard when we reached a flat point that led to a ridge that connected us to the final destination (the nedhe). Though we stopped here for some badly needed glucose and some tit bits to eat.

This was extremely slippery with cliffs on both sides and the ferocious winds didnt help any ways.

At one point we were on the verge of abandoning the trek but we desisted from doing that and moved on. Dense vegetation, slippery paths and some tricky stretches made the destination look much farther than it actually was.

After reaching the nedhe ( a hole in the rock which is a natural formation) we had some food. What followed was a fun filled one hour where we sang songs and enjoyed ourselves. None of us even thought of how to get back and were truly enjoying the moment.

After a while we set out on our return journey. When the descent started we realised that it was extremely difficult to get a grip / foothold on the path. The grovel was literally flowing down due to the rains and any step meant submerging half the shoe in the grovel.

The only way to go down was on our butts. Butt Naturally !!

Somehow we made our way down very carefully and yet as fast as possible.

Some members who were relatively new to trekking were so psyched that they started singing songs to take their mind off the route.

Finally we could head the waterfall flowing and heaved a sigh of relief. It was a good 15-20 minutes before we reached the waterfall and refreshed ourselves in it for more than half an hour.

What a wonderful feeling it was. The water massaging our shoulders as it flowed and giving relief to the aching limbs.

This gave us enough strength to go to the base village very quickly.

The trek was memorable, one of the most memorable in my trekking career and one of the most tricky.

There was everything in it. Tricky stretches, dangerous patches, rain, fog, dense jungle, thorns strewing the path, an encounter with a pit viper and ferocious winds.

A complete package that I have never experienced before in my so many years of trekking.

As the gentleman at the station had pointed out....maybe we were mad.....but we were enamoured !!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Sharing Lives

When we trekked earlier (in the 90s) it was in small groups. We knew each other well and had that bonding and trust that made trekking with each other such a pleasure. We were a family. Those bonds have even today stood the test of time. I relive those wonderful days when we used to trek with our "families"

Treks created a high level of trust for each other cos in the mountains it was only us for each other.

We used to eat together, share our lives with each other and so on. Once in a when we had big groups for some treks, it was lot of fun.

One of my most memorable treks was Manikgad with Shyam. It was just two of us. Decided to trek on saturday night, took the last train to Karjat, on the way referred to the book that we used and decided to go to Prabalgad.

On reaching chowk some villagers advised us against going there as the place was densely vegetated and infested with snakes. So we decided to go to Manikgad instead. We went to Talavli and set out for the fort. We lost our way and had no clue where we were. So we thought of exploring the forest for a few hours before we started looking for the nearest village. We were enjoying ourselves on the bank of a river with theplas etc till a villager came and offered to take us there.

What a wonderful trek it was. Just the two of us. Wandering in the midst of nature. It was fine if we didnt reach the top, we were just there, enjoying every moment. Enjoying nature !

We have now progressed from those days to V Hikerz, which today has almost 400 members. Our treks have a good response and there are around 20 people even for the tougher treks.

This brings with it the challenges. How to keep the group together. There are a lot of inexperienced guys who are so enamoured by trekking that they keep going on their own and even lose their way sometime.

There is also the challenge of having everyone comfortable during a trek. This means keeping contacts of villagers who provide food etc to trekkers, organising everything at the right time etc. It actually involves thinking of the group as a whole entity.

This is a great feeling to have, being responsible for the group as a whole. The effort is huge. At times thankless, which is fine. It is normal human tendency not to appreciate a job well done.

Even in this case the concept of extended family works. When we trek together the bonding is there and we are there for each other. Again the bigger the group the more the fun.

Today we are a trekking group and new members are joining all the time. When we announce a trek to a certain destination, we ideally want to reach the top. There is a certain amount of pressure that we meet our deadlines in terms of time and destination, cos we have to get back home in time.

Treks are great !

Whether the group is big or small.

But I miss the treks with the smaller groups that we used to have earlier.

Now the bonding is there, the trust is there, the fun is there

But we dont share our lives with each other !