It had been quite a while since our college gang went on a trek. Sar Pass was way back in May, and even then not all had turned up, so it was quite a number this time on our trek to Kalavantin Durg – Pranav, Prashant, his brother Pravin, Akhil (after a round of – I will be there – Oh, I will not – Oh yes, I will), Arvind, Swap, Dhanesh and yours truly.
Woke up at 4.30am and rushed to Kurla station to board the 5.30 am local to Panvel. Prashant, Akhil and Pravin had already got in at Wadala, so I called Prashant for the train update. And confusion, as it invariably does, took over.
A snippet of our telephonic conversation may illustrate:
Me: Which bogie?
Prashant: The first one.
Me: You mean the first one at the front end?
Prashant: No. The first one towards CST.
Which meant the bogie at the back end, or so I thought and got in accordingly. Walked the length of the compartment to trace the guys, but of course I had got into the wrong one. Called Prashant again, and the dude then told me they were in the first compartment at the other end. Talk about perfect communication!!!!
So I got off at the next station and ran as much as my poorly warmed up feet could and got into a compartment further up. Ditto for the next station, and made it to the bogie where the Kurlekars and Akhil were chilling out.
The rest of the journey was incident-free, with the rest of the gang getting in at Manasarovar. Got off at Panvel at 6.35 am and walked to the bus stand. Took the 7 am bus to Thakurwadi.
The bus journey was as rocky as ST bus journeys go and I could barely hear what Akhil and Dhanesh were talking about. After getting off at 7.40 am, we set off walking to PrabalMachi, the base village for Kalavantin Durg. On the way, we passed Zoia Resort where, I remembered Selwyn and the guys were celebrating the New Year. Would meet them later on our return journey.
The way to PrabalMachi was simple with most of it a long relatively flat hike. The only tricky point was a right diversion from the road which was quite unnoticeable except for an inconspicuous arrow that guided us.
On the way, I captured some native Sahyadri flowers. Also lost my camera cover :p
We reached PrabalMachi at around 9 am. Stopped over for a quick snack, and continued to Kalavantin Durg. This is where the trek really started; our path became steeper and the forest thicker. All of us, being reasonably fit, got to the base of the fort without much trouble. The path thereon was a climb of fairly steep steps – the first of the steps was around three feet high. The others, around a foot and a half tall, forced us to slow down a little. Once the steps were conquered, a short rock climb was all that separated us from the summit. By the time I reached the rock climb scene, Dhanesh had already got to the top and began shouting instructions to the others on the way up. Akhil got there quickly to and began to help the others in case they needed a hand.
The view from the top was great. One can see the base village on one side, and on the other, Matheran. We finished whatever remained of our fruits / cakes / sweets and then spent some time clicking pics in varied moods 🙂
After the pics, we began the descent down the rock patch which was a trickier task than the ascent. Descending the steps also required us to be more circumspect than before. The pictures tell the story.
Continued the descent and reached PrabalMachi quite quickly. Arvind asked the guys (for one last time) if we could trek to the neighbouring Prabalgad, which according to me would have taken too much out of us under the midday sun. No one agreed and we proceeded to Thakurwadi.
We learnt the next bus to Panvel was scheduled at 12.45 which gave us a little less than an hour to get to Thakurwadi. Yet, we ambitiously intended to get the bus, forgetting, of course, to take into account the noon sun. With no peak to conquer on the descent, the way back can sometimes seem like another chore. And this time it did. With the sun shining in a clear cloudless sky, fatigue began to set in and the walk back was longer than it had been earlier. Which meant we missed the bus and would take the next one at 1.45 pm. Dehydration kicked in and I could feel my feet getting wobbly a few times, but thankfully it wasn’t a very long walk.
After getting back to Thakurwadi, we parked ourselves outside Zoia resort. Swap and Arvind began talking about the capitalism v/s democratic government debate with me mostly listening and adding an occasional tidbit in favour of democracy. Dhanesh, the prankster that he is, tried to add a lighter vein to the discussion, much to the fury of Arvind and Swap. Both of them castigated Dhanesh and a minor tiff ensued.
While this debate was going on, I managed to connect to Selwyn on the phone, and visited the Kurla brigade (Selwyn, Amit, Calvin, Alyssa, Aaron) who were holidaying at Zoia. Came back to our trekkers and found calm had pretty much settled now.
Got into the bus and Arvind, Swap and me continued the earlier debate which made for interesting conversation. Oh and since I have talked about this, here’s what sparked the discussion – Capitalism – the unknown ideal
Reached Panvel at around 2.30 pm. Arvind made his way home thereon, and the rest of us dined at a restaurant. After a trek, chicken, fish and beer made up a heavenly meal. Finished off lunch and went our ways – Dhanesh and Swap headed to Arvind’s place where Dhanesh had parked his bike, Pranav would take a bus to Pune, while the rest (Akhil, Prashant, Pravin and me) sped off to the station.
That was the first trek of 2010. A short enjoyable one – the first where I have been back home at 5.30 in the evening.