Imagine sitting by a camp fire surrounded by a landscape of crystal clear lakes and layers of mountains fading away by the fog of cold evening weather. And with group of energy filled people the evening is just set to be one of the most memorable one. That was what i had in my mind before i left for my next adventure with Trek Mates India. And I couldn't be more wright about my feelings.
Starting our road trip from Mumbai to Satara, the bus journey hit off with an absolutely out of tune singing of Bollywood songs. Making pit stops for some tea on highways we reached our base village, Bamnoli at 6:30am. After a delightful breakfast, we started our ferry ride journey to Vasota Jungle Trek. An Hour long boat ride may sound tedious but believe me, when you look at the crystal refections of Islands on the water and when you observe the purity of nature, you are bound to fall in love with those islands. Even after commercialisation of Jungle treks to Vasota Fort, the locals and the tourist often take care of the location by keeping it clean and green.
As we reached near to our Island that leads to Vasota Fort, I could clearly see the mountain range of Vasota fort. Regardless of seasons, the jungles on these islands are always dense and lush green. So after we got off to the island we checked in the jungle through a check post were one has too deposit some money based on the plastic bottles and bags that you carry to the top. A very good initiative to keep the mountains clean.
The trek is moderately medium at endurance but since we were constantly trekking across dense forest range, trekking at 10:30am with sun shining high above didn’t bother us. Yes, we did have to protect us from the post monsoon thirsty leeches. Though i did manage to donate some blood to 3 leech on the way to the top. Irony was before this I had never seen any leeches. But on the brighter side i found out that a body spray is good enough to fend off leeches from your body. Since its a jungle, we are bound to bump into these wild insects and thats what makes an trek adventurous.
As we reached the top, we could clearly see the beautiful lake formation between the mountains. This mountain had its own glory as well. As all of us made it to the top, we got together at Hanuman Temple for our tasty local maharastian lunch under cool shades surrounded by long trees. Chapati with Pitla and Thecha served with gossip and jokes, all of us had a nice refreshing long break. With Panoramic views from every sides, Vasota fort offers unique majestic views of diverse mountain range. With snake shaped lakes of Bamnoli from one side to edgy mountains on the other. You can even spot the boats parked by lake from the top, though you may need a sharp vision for that.
After the photo session from every possible corner and angle from the Vasota fort now it was time to descend back to our boats. The trek back to the boats is fairly fun as its all descend. Since the base village was a roughly an hour long ride though lakes we were scheduled to reach the camping site before sunset. Both the journey served us with a very beautiful ambience. While returning the sunset transformed the green lakes into the calm reflective grey ones. And as we reached the camping site, the sky was all indigo purplish blue.
As some of us wandered around the Bamnoli village others started plotting the tents by the lakeside. After the sunset the sky was pitch black by 7:30pm. The mountains disappeared and we could see the bright stars in the dark sky. And that calls for another round of bollywood singing. Bonding over music and a common passion for travel and adventure, a group of 24 strangers was now a group of buddies sharing dreams and experiences.
Followed by the yummy dinner at the local restaurant it was time for campfire. With ghost stories, singing and music, we saw the moon rising from the mountains. And in no time the lakes around the campsite glittered like diamonds. The cold breeze. The moonlight. The people. This night was definitely a memorable one.
I woke up with a smile even after hardly sleeping for 4 hrs the other night. It was the feeling and the view from our tents. You have to experience it. At least once in this lifetime. By 7am all of us were up and ready to plunge into the turquoise lake. As much as the lakes are inviting they are extremely dangerous as well if you can’t swim. So be careful if visit there. After a nice refreshing plunge in the cold lake and recharging hot and spicy breakfast, we bid adieu to the Bamnoli and took along some amazingly cheerful memories. The road trip back to mumbai was super fun filled with 24 buddies. Yet again accompanied with music, gossip and trolling each other.
A memorable weekend with trekking across dense forest, lakeside camping, tasty food, long road trips and awesome people. A trip managed by Trek Mates India.
"Adventure is within us" - Vishal Bhanushali
For more pictures of this location. Instagram.com/adventurolic_vishal