The Valley of Shadows

Tripoto
8th Feb 2019
Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan
Day 1

This time I traveled with a group called Climbscapers, with whom I had been to the Visapur fort and who were also part of the 4 group collab trip to Andharban(I've written about those trips in previous articles). There were 18 people in the event with me including the two leads.

As is usual with the Kasara side events, my trip began a day earlier on Friday night when I took the last train to Kasara from Thane. I met up with my group when the mainstream crowd had gotten off the train and that was when my weekend started in substance.

I met our group leads Darshan and Prathamesh who were talking to Suraj, the founder of another group called Sahyadhri Rangers. I knew him from my trip to Andharban and intend to participate in his events in the near future (stay tuned for an article on that). We didn't realize the hours pass by amidst catching up, jokes and jibes.

We got off at Kasara station, answered mother nature's call and got into the SUVs arranged for us to get to the base village, Samrad.

Day 2

Samrad is about 3 hours away from Kasara. We stopped on the way at a famous place among trekkers called "Baba da Dhaba" on the highway for some tea. Our tea stall was opposite to the dhaba.

On reaching Samrad we searched a bit for the house of the person who was going to serve us breakfast and settled down on his porch. Some of us went to sleep, the others were joking around. I was busy playing with a cute well behaved dog. I've come to see a good dog as a sign of a trip worth remembering.

Good Boy of the Weekend

Photo of Samrad, Maharashtra, India by Vignesh Ramanan

I had 3 cups of tea and a plate of poha which is 100% more than my regular life breakfast, and we were off to the valley of shadows.

Sandhan Valley is a deep valley created from the bountiful monsoons Maharashtra receives each year and the valley itself changes every few years with new rocks and boulders being cut from the cliffs on either side. It is called the valley of shadows because sunlight does not reach the ground owing to the wall like cliffs which are a thousand or so feet high.

We began our trek at the crack of dawn, but it was still pitch dark in the valley, effectively making it a night trek.

The skylight can be seen. Yet it's dark in the valley

Photo of Sandhan Valley, Maharashtra by Vignesh Ramanan

After about half an hour, or so we reached a small cave like structure through which we had to descend. Another half hour in we were at a point where we had to cross a small pool of water which was up to my waist level (around 2'7" deep).

Us crossing the small pool of water

Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan

The Sandhan trek is, for the most part, one of walking over boulders as you slowly descend. The key highlights were when we had to rappel down 100 feet, slide down a small rock at a height of about 7 feet which had a turn like a water park ride, freefall 15 feet into a cave like structure and another 30 feet rappelling stint. At each point there were local professionals helping us.

Final descend of the valley

Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan

We exited the valley and halted for lunch and I used this time to recuperate some of my lost energy. Post lunch it was just an hour's walk to the campsite. We reached there and some helped in setting up the tents. Half of our group slept off right after that and the remaining played an interesting game of cards called "knock knock."

Just before we ran out of daylight, we went to collect enough dry wood to sustain a fire for a few hours. I slept shortly after that telling one of my mates to wake me up for dinner. I woke up to some good chapati bhaji and then we went on to sing by the fire. We sang our hearts out and then called it a day.

Prathamesh messing around with Pro Mode of cellphone camera

Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan

Prathamesh stoking the fire

Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan

I woke up pretty early, folded my sleeping bag and left the tent to enjoy the cold winds and introspect a bit (I tend to zone out and introspect a lot these days). I saw that Darshan and Prathamesh were awake, so I went to talk to them. As we spoke, our people started waking up and getting out of their tents.

We wrapped up the tents and by that time tea was ready. I went to have another 3 cups while everyone had breakfast, and then we were off again on the trail.

This time it was a lot more chill than yesterday. The trail was more of a walk and by the time the heat started irritating me, there was a wonderful pool of water to our left.

We wasted no time and rushed in to beat the heat. I found myself a little pond to dip my feed while everyone jumped into a bigger one. I got a feel of the water and joined them to get completely drenched.

We spent a good hour or so enjoying the cold water and I reluctantly left the pool to reach Dehne Village, the place we'd have lunch.

My private pond where I dipped my legs to enjoy the cold water

Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan

The pond where everyone else jumped in. I joined them later

Photo of The Valley of Shadows by Vignesh Ramanan
Day 3

En route to Dehna was a large field with no shade whatsoever which meant we were at the mercy of the sun and clouds. Thankfully we were only 25 minutes away from our destination.

Photo of Dehna, Maharashtra, India by Vignesh Ramanan
Photo of Dehna, Maharashtra, India by Vignesh Ramanan

We reached Dehne, had lunch, played some more knock knock and were on our way to Asangaon station to get a train back to the mainland. I didn't want to come back home and get on with my daily routine waiting impatiently for the next trip. But all things come to an end, and so did my time at the Valley of Shadows.

We reached Dehne, had lunch, played some more knock knock and were on our way to Asangaon station to get a train back to the mainland. I didn't want to come back home and get on with my daily routine waiting impatiently for the next trip. But all things come to an end, and so did my time at the Valley of Shadows.

1 Comment(s)
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Well said✔️
Mon 02 11 19, 03:43 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you
Mon 02 11 19, 08:01 · Report