Read about Naneghat here.
* Rajeev decides not go with us saying that he already had 2 unfinished treks and since we were already late,it was 6.30,the same story would be repeated.
* We get the train as soon as we reach Kanjur,get the bus to Murbud as soon as we reach Kalyan and another bus to Vaishakhre from there after a 2 min wait.Rajeev's theory shows signs of breaking down.
* A 2km walk on the highway(NH-233),after lunch at a roadside motel,to the base camp.Seemed much longer.
* We see the board saying Naneghat at the base camp.The journey begins.Onwards ho!
* After 30 mins of walking over relatively flat piece,we get to a beautiful running stream.Mishra tries to cross it without wetting his shoes and falls in that effort,thus wetting everything but his shoes.Cruel justice.
* Bad,bad weather.The sun is up,our throats are dry and all the water we brought almost over.After about 30 more mins we reach another flat stretch.
* From here the clif looks intimidating and apparently we had lost the way because we could not find any indicative arrows.
* A few shepherds show us the way.We didn't understand their language nor they ours.But our motive was pretty clear to them.
* The tiring part begins.Spiralling relatively steep,rocky climb to the top of the hill.
* We stop so often that a group that was way behind us overtakes and comments,'Why are you so slow?'
* After about 2.5 hours we finally reach the top,and now it starts to rain!
VIEW FROM THE TOP
The world is a different place from up there.The air is thinner,the breezes transform into high winds,the clouds swirl around.The meandering river down below looks like some heavenly silver snake fed by the rains.The hills around surround the tabletop making it look like some celestial arena.The edge of the clif looks intimidating,a vertical fall of 2750 feet.The waterfall trickling down from the top to the very bottom looks amazing.
It can't be put into words,it can't be captured by pictures.It has to be experienced.All that tiring journey and the exhausting trek amount to this,and it more than covers for that.
We have our heads in the clouds but our feet on the earth.A different form of getting high.Really high.
* The feeling on top is so amazing that after an extended photo session,all of us just lie down on the edge.Close our eyes and soak in the moments.
* I wake everyone up after 30 mins and finally it's time to come down.A final look at the picturesque view and we march down.
* The rains make the descent pretty slippery and we fall every 10 steps.
* Modi and me run down without care and later realise that we left the others far behind,too far to even hear our voices.
* We decide to wait and after 15 long mins of waiting suspicion sets in.We shout at the top of our voices.The response comes but far away from where we were,and ahead of us.
* A little bit of panic sets in because we can't find the route to the voice and we can't retrace ours.So we decide to forget routes and just run through the thicket.We slip,fall down,get pricked by the thorns,slide into the stream.After 15 long minutes and quite a few bruises and a torn t-shirt later,we finally see them.
* Raka exclaims,'Abe wo log to jungle,jharna ka beech se aa raha hai!!'.Yes ,we had no alternative.
* We realise that the path Modi and me were taking was the one we took for ascent (notice I'm not saying it was the right track).A bit of lost hope,but the dwellers again help us out,showing the alternative way.
* The alternative way,it turns out,was actually the right way as we can see the arrows now.
* We trot towards the bottom until a confusing stretch of land comes up.There are a few trails in two directions and obviously we choose the wrong one.
* We end up at the brook once again.Cross it,find nothing,cross it back again.No luck.A bit of despair creeps in,with light fading pretty fast.We had no torches,so darkness meant night out in the wilderness.
* Too tired to even walk,I gather courage to run back to that confusing intersection and see if there is anything.After 5 minutes of running I finally see the right track.I run back and tell them to follow.And run with me.
* We realise that it was the same track as the beginning of the trek.We keep walking fast and running so that we reach the base before it's pitch dark.
* Finally after 20 tense minutes,we see that board at the base camp.We look at the time and it's 7 pm.We made it in the nick of time.
* The return journey is pretty peaceful as we get jeep from the base camp to an intermediate stop and a bus direct to Kalyan.Being on the highway helps a lot.So Rajeev's theory is proven to be incorrect,and his hindside is in lot of trouble after this conclusion is reached.
* We reach the institute by 11 pm.Too tired even to eat,I take a bath and just sleep.
We always mess up even the easy treks.But in retrospect that adds to the adventure element :)
I'm already planning for the next trek this weekend.Trek whenever I find time.