1-day Sunday #Friendship Day #Trek to #Bhimashankar on 4th August 2013 with WanderLust Adventures
We had completed Bhimashankar in 1 day last year (blog http://bit.ly/1asHEvK for 2012 trek & Facebook album http://on.fb.me/17krYcf for the same) by spending a night at the railway platform of the base station before the trek-day. This time, we challenged ourselves still higher. Let’s do it in 1-day itself. No overnight halt at base station.
Group of 17 trekked together on Friendship Day!
↑ Padargad in clouds (serpent-hood shaped mountain) ↑
Total kilometers trekked = 16 kms in 12 hours - both trekking up & backtracking.
Duration: 8 am to 8 pm on Sunday.
Base station: Neral.
Base village: Khandas.
Route: The easier Ganesh Ghat, both ways up & down.
↑ Route on the left is our trek route ↑
Mobile network: Airtel & Vodafone are reachable even through the forests in the mountains.
Expenses - TTMM = Tu Tera, Mein Mera = All expenses on our own trek & no trek charges!
- Rickshaw to railway station: Rs. 20/-.
- Return Karjat ticket = Rs. 50/- (second class & the first class is Rs. 265/-).
- Neral to Khandas in Shared Rickshaw accommodating 10 people in one = Rs. 700/- & same is the return fare. So Rs. 165/- per head.
- Breakfast: Rs. 30/- of Zunka-bhakar & tea in the mountains. (1 Tea = Rs. 10/-, 1 Zunka-bhakar = Rs. 20/-, 1 glass lemon juice = Rs. 10/-)
Lunch was also available at breakfast point, but as we were going ahead, we do not know the rates.
- Lunch of Vada-pav & tea = Rs. 20/- at Bhimashankar top.
- Rick back to home from railway station = Rs. 20/-.
GRAND TOTAL = Rs. 305/- per head on TTMM basis.
4 am - Alarm is set on two mobiles, kept by the bedside.
“Miss the train-miss the Trek” is the subtle way of saying that in case you are delayed with whatever reason, we cannot wait for you to arrive. Being on time for treks is most important, to be able to start & reach home at earthly hours. Meaning not too early or too late.
6:30 am - Everyone meets. Dot on time & are now seated comfortably in the train.
8 am - We get down at Neral & catch the shared rickshaws, which accommodate 10 people in one.
The roads are smooth, with some pothole-ridden patches.
Our group of 17 had some real hard core Marathoners. 8 of them have been running 42-km marathons for a couple of years in different cities across India! Two more marathoners are in 21-km bracket. Hats off to all these Marathoners. There is lot of chit-chat going on in the rickshaw as it traverses the rough road patches, reminding the Marathoners of their physiotherapy massages done during their training sessions.
9:45 am - Base village of Khandas reached. A mountain in the shape of a serpent’s hood is seen through the clouds. Bhimashankar is lost in the clouds behind & above it. This serpent hooded mountain is known as Padargad. The outline of Padargad changes with your location http://bit.ly/11QGGHq
↑ Padargad from different angles ↓
Actual trek starts here from Khandas (latitude 19.05661, longitude 73.504945).
10:15 am - The temple (19.046612, 73.513679) of Lord Ganesha is reached, after which this route called Ganesh Ghat is named. We pray for some rains.
10:45 am - Two small stalls facing each other on either side of the trek path is our breakfast point (19.0498297, 73.5167044). The cooking area is separate and the eating & sitting area is comfortable. The logs of wood kept for seating are our sofas. Sinking in them, the hot & spicy zunka-bhakar arrives, made by an elderly couple who manage this stall.
↑ Breakfast zone ↑
Washing it down with tea and water and half an hour break, makes way for the progress.
11:15 am - Happy stomachs are happy feet.
After some time, we come to a spot from where the difficult Shidi Ghat route to Bhimashankar is seen. A ladder between the waterfalls, separated by a valley between us.
↑ Do you spot the ladder of the Shidi Ghat (as seen from Ganesh Ghat) ? ↓
↑ In the backdrop of the tougher Shidi Ghat (ladder route) ↓
We cross the valley of Padargad which is marked by a waterfall (19.054989, 73.526029).
↑Waterfalls in the valley between Padargad & Bhimashankar ↓
Here we cool off and enjoy ourselves soaking in the waterfalls.
The heat build-up inside the body is relieved. The climate is cloudy & sometimes sunny. We want the rains.
↑ The forests leading to Bhimshankar ↓
↑ The forests leading to Bhimshankar ↓
The path through the dense forest reminds us of the beautiful landscapes shown in the epic movie ‘Lord of the Rings’. & the lords have listened to our prayers. Its raining. The forest floor is littered with fresh green leaves as well as mulch.
Even if its sunny, the sun rays cannot penetrate the deep dense tree cover here.
Someone is whistling in the forest. We can hear it through the misty surroundings. Reminding us of an idle schoolboy whistling as he goes to school. This whistle is actually a bird call. Malabar Whistling Thrush, whose home is the running and gurgling streams and the forest providing the same is very beautiful to experience. There are so many sounds in the forest. As the rains become heavy, there is a continuous clatter of typewriters. As if all the officers instead of using their laptops gave gone back to the days of the typewriter. This is the Typewriter Frog calling to his mates, to enjoy the beauty of the monsoon.
A right turn (19.06664, 73.526048) which marks end of plateau walk and uphill climb starts again.
2:45 pm - We reach the top (19.074, 73.531156) of Bhimashankar. Its all cloudy. Visibility hampered by the cool clouds. Its heaven. A pond welcomes us, but we resist taking a dip, as lunch and returning back on time is on our minds.
Grabbing a quick bite in the market place of Bhimashankar, we start our return journey. We will be backtracking on the same route, that we trekked up.
3:15 pm - The pond marks the exit (19.074, 73.531156). The arduous downhill climb starts immediately. Climbing up is easier than climbing down. The gravity pulls you even more when you are tired and you resist the pull by braking using your feet. The toes pain. Its a strain on the knees if your trekking skill is not up to the mark. You have to alternate the sides of your body while climbing down, to prevent either of the leg / knee from paining. This is important to maintain a continuous pace downhill. Climb down slowly, but alternate the use of legs. Don’t dominate on one leg. It will pain and after that when the other leg takes over, it will start to pain in some time. Using a trekking pole is beneficial to prevent unnecessary straining of the leg joints. Try to bounce in the act of getting down to prevent jarring your knees, without actual jumping or bouncing. Come with us once & you shall see. The importance of wearing trekking shoes is realised. Click this link http://bit.ly/1enUewm to know which trekking shoes to purchase and from where. Don’t ever underestimate the mountains. They are here since ages. Respect them and follow the rules of the mountains to continue enjoying them.
6:30 pm - We are at our starting point - Khandas, the base village for our trek. We have arranged our return cabs which are more comfortable and faster than the rickshaws we came in.
8:00 pm - We are at Neral station.
9:00 pm - We board train to Mumbai CST.
10:30 pm - Reached Dadar.
11:30 pm - At home.
12 midnight - Dreaming about the trek that we had accomplished. An impossible mission made possible by the strong bond of togetherness & fitness. All done safely in time.
Facebook album for this 2013’s trek http://on.fb.me/19JHym7