Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Monsoon Trek

It had been almost a year since I went for a trek. The last time I went trekking was somewhere in July 2006 to Takmak Fort. My first trek was to Pratapgad, near Satara when I was in 4th grade. I have been to around 18 forts till date and trekking continues to be one of my most favourite hobbies. Unfortunately due to the schedule of my college and studies, trekking has now become like an annual event for me during the short vacation after semester exams. But whenever I get a chance, I make it a point not to miss this outdoor activity.

This trek on 17th June was a 1day trek to Fort Kaldurg near Palghar, Maharashtra. Our trekking group (Janaseva Samiti) left early morning at around 5 am, boarding a Virar local. After getting down at Virar, a shuttle train took us to Palghar in about 40 minutes. The weather was pleasant, but had no signs of cloud cover, which unfortunately we were dying for! From Palghar, we boarded a ST bus which took us to "Vaaghobaachi Khind" which was the base for starting the trek uphill. We had a light breakfast at a Shiva temple at the base and filled our water bottles from a hand-pump. Soon we started our uphill task, eagerly waiting for first showers of the monsoon. The way to the top was fairly easy, compared to other treks. Last year I remember I had gone for trekking to 'Takmak' fort, which was more difficult than this one. So, we trekked along through the jungle, enjoying the breeze which can hardly be enjoyed in our concrete jungles. With many new trekkers in the group, the climb took us more time than expected. After one and half hour, we finally reached the summit. The far-stretching view of the entire region was a sight to see. The fort being not much of a full-fledged fort, has not much historical credits to its name. The fort was infact used as an outpost, to keep a check on the region under its influence. The breeze atop was very strong and I lay down on the rocks to enjoy it to the fullest.The fleeting clouds created a fabulous shadow-play on the hills nearby. I was watching the myriad strokes on the canvas of nature to my heart's content. We were there on the summit for about an hour and then started with our descent. On our way back, we got a
little sprinkling of water from the heavens, but that was too less for any comfort! Finally we were back to square one, the point where we started the ascent, but still no rains! We had our afternoon lunch at the same temple and then it was time for us to get back home.

We returned home only to find out that rains awaited us back home in Mumbai, where it was raining substantially. And lo! I had to take out my windcheater for the very first time this monsoon upon arrival at Borivali station, much closer home! What a way to
end the 'monsoon' trek!

Information you can use:

How to get there:

1) Board a Virar bound train early in the morning (5 - 5:30 a.m. is a good option)
2) After alighting at Virar, board a Shuttle train and get down at Palghar
3) From Palghar west, board a ST bus which would take you to "Vaaghobaachi Khind", the base camp

The Trek:

1) Trek is ideally suited for 1st time trekkers or a 1-day trek
2) Difficulty level: easy
3) 1.5 hrs ascent and almost the same for descent
4) The pathway to the summit is very straightforward; no scope of straying away from the course
5) Carry adequate water for drinking because there could be no or very little water on the top