– some stuff I want to write about…
Who would not like to go on an adventure? The feeling of not knowing whats commin up next or which is the next turn to be taken. Well u don’t have to go on a fancy and expensive voyage to experience this thrill. An unplanned but well executed trek to any place can give u all the excitement u will need. Ask my friends – Sanket and Ashwin.
The place – Manekgad.
Mission – trek to the top and come down before sunset.
Adventure seekers – Sanket (the free soul foodie and aspiring photographer), Ashwin (karate champ and a health freak) and yours truly (the initiator, pursuer and driver for the day)
Our journey began with me trying to convince people about coming for the trek. From the very beginning, it was only 3 of us the others were not so keen on it. The day was a Sunday in the middle of Mumbai monsoons so you can understand how perfect the climate was for a quest.
The saying that what can go wrong will go wrong was just personified on this day. The plan was there – directions from Google Maps, the motivation was there – 3 people early on a Sunday morning, the preparation was there – we had biscuits and water (that’s it no other food)
We started at close to 7 in the morning and as per our “Calculations” we were to reach manekgad at around 10 which we did (even after losing our way twice, taking 2 U- turns and scaring the life out of atleast 2 cars and 1 Sanket). Reaching close to the place we asked the local kids for the way to manekgad, and they guided us in the right direction. What they failed to mention was that the roads are too narrow for a car and we ended up staring into one of the villagers house (don’t worry we didn’t hit anything except a small boulder which left a dent on my car. 😦 ) somehow managed to come out of the situation (Sanket to the rescue) and we parked the car a bit away from the starting point of our trek.
Now about Manekgad – it’s a place 30 odd kms away from panvel near a place called vashivli close to Patalganga. U can reach there by taking a train to panvel then a bus from there to vashivli (the dull way) or u can drive down to this place (worth it). Not much explored and a perfect destination for a monsoon trek. Some locals have opened up small chai stalls which serve good bhajiyas and cuttings. That was out breakfast.
When we began our trek it was already raining quite heavily and all the villagers were staring at us and wondering what the hell are these guys upto. Super excited and drenched even before we actually began the ascent we marched ahead. 5 minutes into our trek and we could see 3 beautiful waterfalls up in the mountain. The problem – we could see no way to go up. Water was flowing down from all sides but there was no clear way up.
We moved on a path which led us to a farm with muck everywhere. Ankle deep in that sloppy mud we walked, we jumped some ditches (some of us fell), climbed some rock lined walls, held on to trees and pulled ourselves up just to hear a man say “Manekgad is not this way. Go back and walk by the fences and u shall findurroute”. Damn. We turned to go back to the original place when we realised that the great Ashwin broke his kitos (who wears kitos for a trek?) not even 15 minutes had passed since we started our adventure and here we were – 1 broken footwear, muddy and still no clear way to go ahead. It reminded us of survivor series when we decided to use one of my shoe laces for Ashwin to tie his kitos on this feet, which didn’t work well as that hampered my walking ability and finally we used the string on ashwins raincoat to tie the kitos. Viola! It worked. We were also guided on to the right track by a couple of old ladies and we were set now.
The rains didn’t stop and neither did we, once we found the way. Now this was a place which was less travelled, no proper footing and moss on the rocks and water everywhere. We slipped here and we slipped there. I got my camera out as the greenery was worth every snap. Clicked a few pics and then some more. We saw many pretty wild flowers & quite a lot of crabs on the way as well. As we climbed up we the mountains became clearer and we realised that we were climbing up on a steep angle. High up too. We trekked for a long time and got lost many a time. We changed the routes either because the road was too risky or because a cow was staring at the red jacket that sanket was wearing.
It was after a good 2 hrs that we reached a plane land. It didn’t seem right. There was supposed to be a fort here. We were now in between the clouds. Visibility was very poor. We searched for someone to guide us once again after a while we saw 2 shepherds managing their animals. We asked them about the fort only to be told that its another 2 hrs climb up. Damn. We were up against time. It was close to 2 and we knew that the journey down would be even more demanding as our legs were already cramping. We started our descent. Getting lost all the way was one thing that we never improved upon. More slipping, some jumping and a lot of pics interjected our journey downwards. Another hour or so and we were back to our starting position. We reached there through a different route from the one we had taken up.
We took a break and walked towards our car. It was not locked. One by one we changed to dry clothes in the car and we were set to have a good lunch at one of the dhabas that we had seen. The lunch was a silent affair. Too tired, too hungry. The journey back was less eventful – heavy rains, poor visibility, trucks splashing water all over, a two wheeler hitting my car giving it another scratch.
We learned a few things about trek though:
We were set for the next one – Tungareshwar