Trekking in Monsoons is different , it infuses new life in the surroundings and turns everything into a vibrant green , and with the advent of Monsoons in our city , we planned our trek to Mount Kalsubai - the highest peak of Maharashtra standing tall at 1646 Mtrs.
Amidst the fury of the rains that bought our city to a standstill , we were a bunch of 05 travel hardy souls , that took the last local out to Kasara, which was almost an hour late , 03 hrs later , we found ourselves at the station, Vijay , our jeep driver was already there to receive us , and we quickly filed into his waiting vehicle to escape the monsoon showers , the long wait for the train and an even longer journey had whetted our appetites for some chai and hot bhajias , stopping along a roadside dhaba at 4 we quelled our desire and thanked the gods for providing this sustenance in such an ethereal atmosphere.
Once hunger was conquered , we continued the journey , this picturesque drive takes us through the ghats of bhandardara into the remoter regions of the area , the onset of dawn presented us with lovely sights of gurgling brooks , chirping birds , picture postcard villages & simple village folk in a setting of lush greenery all around. Finally after an hrs journey , we reached the base village Bari , here we decided to rest in the local village temple to recover from the rigours of an all night journey.The peaceful sleep for an hour in the temple , did much to rejuvenate our bodies & spirit , and after a staple breakfast of poha & chai , we were ready to hit the trail. The weather was at its best , fresh winds , ample cloud cover and slight drizzle , we made good time to reach the first plateau , this is marked by a local shop and a temple , here we refreshed our selves with lime water and a break of 15 minutes.
The trek to Kalsubai has four marked stages
- The First Plateau with temple and local shop ( 20 Minutes climb from the base )
- The Second Plateau with a Iron Ladder - this stage marks the beginning of a stiff climb with multiple ladders & steps lasting for atleast 2 Hrs ( some of which are at 70 Degree incline and have exposed patches ) ( we also call this the gooey chocolate phase - because of slush and mud that makes going along very very slippery )
- The Well with a Local Shop , with a functional shop selling hot bhajias & chai , this is a favourite stop for people returning after the summit climb , the summit is just 30 Minutes from here
- The Final Ladder - this is just below the top , the temple of goddess kalsubai is situated here.
Kalsubai is a trek that is not suitable for novices, not atleast in the monsoons , it would be ideal to have some prior experience of trekking before attempting this one , although the trail is well defines , it still has its challenges , for instance the trails tends to be very slippery , the ladders are slippery and can be quite intimidating because of their incline & the general ricketiness , the heavy fog some time makes the trails difficult to spot , and towards the top gale force winds tend to literally throw you off the trail.
Besides all this challenges , the thrill of doing such a trek is an experience to be cherished , pitting yourself against the vagaries of nature and transcending the thrill of summiting the highest peak of maharashtra is bound to stay etched in your memory. We were a group of 5 and it took us close to 3 hours to reach the top . The torrential rains , strong winds & slippery trails did make it difficult , however the satisfaction of reaching the top wore away all the exhaustion we had , although we were unable to have any views ( which are supposed to be mind blowing ) because of dense cloud cover we did enjoy some peaceful time in the temple ,after prayers were finished we descended to the local shop below the summit and gorged on some onion bhajias and chai. It took us almost another 02 hrs to descend and chancing upon a nearby waterfall we took a well deserved dip in the cool waters , changing our wet & muddy clothes at a local villagers , we freshened up & boarded the waiting vehicle for travel back to Kasara , only stopping at a roadside joint for a lunch break , we took the local back home with exhausted bodies & cherished memories to give us company.