If i go into all the details, i might as well end up writing a travelogue which hardly anyone would bother reading . So i would talk about a few inci-dents that stand out.
Death trap1: Gawande, freshly out of a BMC (Basic Mountaineering Course), was itching to prove his superior trekking skills to the lesser mortals . And it didn't take long before an opportunity presented itself before him. There was a rivulet, not a river, flowing which had to be crossed. The villager on the other side of the rivulet warned us not to enter the waters at the point where the flow was relatively strong. Still high on heavy doses of BMC and dying to prove his mettle, Gawande entered the waters exactly where the flow was the strongest. Within a matter of few seconds, he was down in the water and the water carried him along for the next 12 to 15 feet of vertical descent . His arms were flailing wildly and there was a look of terror on his face. For a moment, we all thought that our trekking group would now be depleted of one member. Finally he managed to wriggle out of the water where the flow wasn't strong. Ego bruised but physically intact. The champion had been humbled and this showed for the rest of the trip :P This was our first encounter with death in a region full of 'death traps'. For the rest of the trek, we used the term 'maneater river' to refer to Gawande's nemesis
For the next hour, the trek couldn't have been more enjoyable. It was raining incessantly which helped to spruce up things further. Out of nowhere, waterfalls sprang up all over the place making it very slippery to tread on the rocks. But the party went on unabated, stopping every now and then at some waterfall . Getting soaked in the flowing water of the falls was pure bliss!
Death Trap2: Towards the summit, there was a vertical climb which was entirely made up of rocks. Monsoons had ensured that the rocks were as slippery as it gets. To do or not to do - that was the question. The heart egged us on while the head advised us against going for the kill. The two sensible ones in the group - Ameya and Shiksha backed off. Rest of the group inched forward. Time passed - minute after slow minute.Finally we were almost there. The view from the summit was awe inspiring. I have never seen something more beautiful than this. This was even better than walking in the clouds. It was a brilliant mix of red earth, the pouring rains and the ghostly clouds. We drank in all that like a heady wine
But for time, we could have stayed on forever. The mere thought of the descent gave us goosebumps. With lots of trepidation, we started the descent. And this turned out to be worse than what we had imagined. One wrong step and you would be plumetting into the valley leaving behind no trace. We maintained enough gap between each other to ensure that if one person takes a dive, he doesn't take the entire gang along with him. Sai led the descent. When we finally reached the spot where Shiksha and Ameya awaited us, we were simply euphoric. More Parle Gs followed. Strangely enough, they tasted relatively better. The last part of the descent was easily accomplished and we reached our base camp where the villagers were outrageously helpful. Few photosessions at the village followed. The remainder of the journey was not uneventful though. The group got split up into two. And the two subgroups followed two different routes. As it turned out, neither of the groups had taken the right path. Another misfortune befell our group when we were suddenly attacked by a pack of buffaloes who apparently got pissed off when i wanted to click their photographs. What ensued was a 'charge' where a few buffaloes took a special liking for Shiksha and went for her. She darted for cover and outran the buffaloes holding onto her dear life.
After following various false trails, we finally managed to hit the right track. Walking in knee deep dirty water full of excreta of all possible organisms (including humans), we finally managed to reach the base camp. The other group had not made it to the base as yet. The next few minutes were minutes full of anxiety for us. Meanwhile the news of Gawande's heroic stunt had spread like wild fire in the village. While we waited nervously for the other group, Gawande regaled the audience with stories about how he had 'deliberately' committed that act of bravery.
The arrival of the other group ended the trek on a happy note. Incredibly tasty (anything tastes incredibly tasty when you survive 12 hours on Parle G) non-veg dinner followed.
Now that i am a veteran of three treks, i would definitely dub this as the most eventful, the toughest but the most enjoyable trek of my life. Now the question is.. been there, done that, what next?
Date: 25th August (Saturday)
Venue : Siddhagad
Team: Sai, Shiksha,Das,Ameya,B Dot,Kris,Gawande,Mittal and I(Arunabh)