It was monsoons, one the best times to hike the Sahyadris which comes alive with green carpet of grass, lush mountains, streaming waterfalls and the feeling of walking with the clouds. After a weekend trek to Lonavala which was full of picnickers enjoying to their full glory with blaring music and a road full of people and vehicles, visiting any of the popular monsoon destinations again was clearly out of the mind. So while exploring on the next place to hike on the weekend, an advertisement for trek to Ahupe ghat caught my attention. Had never heard about this place and on little research came to know it’s a beautiful gem not yet touched by the maddening crowds. A quick call to the organizers late Saturday evening and we were in for the trek.
Ahupe is a pass which starts from Khopivali village towards Ahupe village nestled at a height of 3855 feet. The nearest rail/road head is Kalyan or Murbad. From Kalyan its an hours drive to Khopivali, which is the base village. Best time to visit is during monsoon.
One of the disadvantage of living at the other extreme end of the railway network meant waking up earlier than others to catch up on time for the trekking events. It was four in the morning and the mind was into a little argument between the bed which was tempting to sleep on and the passion for the mountains. Finally mountains were calling and we got up and readied ourselves and set out on the two plus hours journey to reach Kalyan which was our meeting point.
It was a good team size waiting for the vehicle to carry us to the base village of our trek. The group was divided vehicle wise and finally we were in our jeep driving through lush green fields with music in the background and the excitement of venturing for our trek.
In an hours time we reached the base village Khopivali to feast on piping hot missal paav and the kanda pohe for our breakfast along with some nice kadak chai. Though it was monsoon time, it was reasonably sunny that day.
The peaks of Gorakhghad and Machendraghad were making their towering presence felt as we looked up to the mountains ahead of us.
The trail begins by walking through the village, moving on towards paddy fields and passing through small streams.
After crossing the fields we came across a clearing where a quick round of introduction and instructions for the trek followed. Further walk from the clearing we came across a huge stream with small cascading waterfalls.
Once you cross the stream you come to the base of the mountain from where it is an uphill hike.
The Gorakhgad and Machendragad peaks gives you company at a distance as you walk upwards.
Being monsoon time one can encounter numerous waterfalls flowing through the stony path uphill which always came as an excuse to take a short break.
As you move upwards the path gets steeper and monsoons make it quite slippery requiring extra attention while walking. I would remember this trek for the innumerous time I had slipped and had a fall. To add to that there was slight drizzle accompanying us every now and then.
After a climb of two hours, the ascend seemed exhausting and endless. Ofcourse our trek guides kept motivating us with the just 15 minutes more which seemed to be the longest 15 minutes ever. After almost a climb of three hours we finally made way towards a vast plateau surrounded by beautiful peaks around.
As we sat down to view the peaks around, nature decided to display its best show with a veil of clouds rising from blow the valley and engulfing the whole mountain.
The surrounding view from the top was magical with thick fog and clouds offering a grand play of hide and seek with the mountains.
It is said that magic is all around, we just need the ability to see and understand and this was nothing short of a wow moment of the trek
After exploring the surrounding all of us gathered for a quick pot lunch which included a wide range from Theplas and puran polis, sandwiches to chicken curry and chapattis all dashed with loads of masti and fun.
After spending some time we all gathered for a quick group photo soon followed by our return back.
If climbing the hill was ardorous, the descend was equally full of thrills managing our balance while descending over slippery stones. In about two hours with innumerous falls and aching feet we finally reached the huge stream which was a welcome respite for all. Like little kids everyone jumped into the water in no time. Sitting below the water cascading through the boulders was the ultimate Jacuzzi therapy every body needed for the aching muscles.
After spending a good amount of refreshing time at the stream we all made our way towards the base village with some heavy downpour and fond memories of the day.