I am back again to write about one more of my travel experience. This is the continuation of my Mumbai diaries series. I had my first solo trek to Kalsubai peak. During the next week, I was all geared up to celebrate the new year in style, this time at the second highest peak of Maharashtra.
I woke up late in the morning due to New Year celebrations in the previous night, but anyhow decided to go forward with the plan. I took the bus from Kalyan state transport depot for Alephata and took ticket for Malshej ghat. At Malshej ghat, I requested the conductor, to drop me at the start of the dam but he misheard me and dropped me after the end of the dam.
Red one is the shorter route, at the start of dam, I took the longer one in blue
Due to this, I had to take a longer path of 16 km. There were no vehicles from this point to the base village of Khireshwar. It was around 3 pm and the distance was around 16 km. So, I thought if I started walking I could make it up to 6 o'clock(mind you I was practicing for marathon, so I used to run that much distance). I started the long and exciting path enjoying the nature and small hamlets which fell in the way. I hitchhiked in whatever vehicles I got in between. They dropped me up to where they were going. The people were surprised at the sight of a solo traveler and some even cautioned me not to travel alone(I also had the same experience in my previous solo trip). I changed a total of three vehicles to reach to the base village of Khireshwar by 5 o'clock.
Khireshwar is a small, scenic village at the foothills of the mountains. After reaching there, I had tea and some snacks and asked for some guide from the shopkeeper. He told that the guide would go only the next morning. I was not interested in waiting till morning, so after asking for the way and confirming that I would be able to get something for stay at the top, I left for the trek alone. But, after some time, I realized that I was lost in the dense forest. On the top of it, darkness had started. So, I started backtracking my path and after a few trial and errors, I was able to get out of the jungle. I again came at the shopkeeper, and ordered one more tea to calm myself down. I noticed a few people standing near an Ertiga in the parking lot. Upon some enquiry I came to know that they were also going to Harischandragad. I asked them if I could join them and they were generous enough to oblige. We started our journey enjoying the path, I noticed the place from where I took wrong turn and wondered how could I were such a fool to miss in an easy path. There were a few steep climbs in the way but we were able to make it up comfortably as all of us were fit and experienced. We also met a few fellow trekkers in the way who were returning back. We stopped by and danced on Marathi songs (I only remember Shantabai)in the way. Then at around 9:30 we got lost again. There were a few experienced one in the group who had been earlier to Harischandragad, so they searched out the right path after trial and error.
It is the journey which is to be enjoyed
After reaching Harishchandragad, we divided ourselves into teams. One team went to fetch water, one was to chop onions and the other was to collect wood and start the fire. The group had brought all raw materials of food with them. We then cooked Khichdi. It was bit spicy but everything tastes good when you have been walking for past 4 hours.
After having dinner came the most interesting part. We had to sleep in caves as none of us had brought tents. I had my bed sheets with me. I spread one on the floor and slept. The floor was very hard but I was too tired to notice that. Got to feel how the Buddhist monks would have spent their lives almost 2000 years ago. Let me show you a glimpse of the cave.
I woke up at sunrise on the next day. After freshening up we went further up for some other peaks and enjoyed sights from the top. If one has to understand the plateau landform and experience it practically, it is the best place. I could notice table-like mountains rising steeply and then flat at the top. Some of the places were too steep to see directly below. I had to lie down to watch below the mountain.
Too steep and dangerous to peep while standing
We starting descending back at around 12. We reached the Khireshwar village. I thanked the fellow trekkers for their help and exchanged the pictures and numbers. This time I took the shorter path, from the starting of the dam. I was lucky enough to get a ride in the shorter path also. Guess I was on the luckier side all through the trip. All I needed to do was take the start and everyone seemed to help me. Happens a lot. Believe me, I have been on the other side also, the kind of trips in which nothing seems to happen right. I will share them sometimes later.