Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend pleasures, Khandala.

No no! This is not about SuperCraig saving the world or kicking Giarc's evil ass. This is about my Sunday trip to Khandala. Sorry to disappoint the fans, but theres light at the end of the tunnel. A SuperCraig adventure will be up very soon! :)
Thanks to Mark for this idea of a trek. 
It all started one evening, when a call from Mark woke me up. "Let's go somewhere for lunch.. i am hungry". Having no better work, i said sure... why not.
The conversation at Bembos suddenly made us realize how long it had been since we had last been on a trek.  Lets make it a trip every week end we thought (like that's gonna happen!).
Anyway.. we decided to ask people who were interested, but we were still going.. no matter what!
We managed to get a person each, and three of us were off on Sunday morning. Miraculously, we got seats in the Deccan Express from Dadar. Dozing most of the journey, we finally made it to Khandala, with people jumping from all corners of the compartment for our seats.
Getting off at Khandala, we knew this would be a good trip. We met my friend Angelo at Khandala station. He decided to come there by bike.A quick breakfast at a small "Hotel" and armed with bread and cheese, which would serve as lunch later, we headed to our trekking spot. 
A few quick pictures from the top, and we began our decent. We started off with eagerness in each step, but that quickly faded away as our legs began to tire. Feeling the pinch of sitting down on a chair for most of the day, the two of us working guys started lagging behind. While the college guys were seen jumping down like a couple of monkeys! Angelo had strapped his helmet on his bag, which was starting to be a hindrance to him. We decided to keep it disguised as a rock, and pick it up on the way back up. But after spotting insects and numerous rat holes, we hung it off a tree, and continued gravityward. There were three really steep part, which were as fun as they were difficult. As we neared the bottom, the sound of flowing water got louder which added as a morale boost. After about an hour and a half we reached to bottom.

Exhausted, we dropped our bags and headed straight for the water. The water was ice cold. We soaked our feet in it for some time, which left our feet numb after just a minute. Just then, we saw a whole group of trekkers in the distance. The "Pune Mountaineers" had come down another route, where they had to use ropes to descend. It sounded like fun, but we couldnt imagine ourselves doing that, especially after what we had been through on the "Easy path".
We started walking down stream searching for a place to sit and rest our weary bones. We came across a beautiful small waterfall and decided to sit there. Soaking our feet again in the numbing water we had a quick lunch and a small rest. 

Before we knew it, it was time to leave for the top as we didnt want to risk missing the train back home. So there we were.. looking up at the path we just came down a few hours ago. Climbing up was obviously way more tiring than going down, but we took almost the same time as we did coming down, with a lot more breaks. Once again, the younger ones went zipping up, leaving us way behind. As we reached the top, we were greeted to a great idea of going to have gola! So giving our legs some rest, we got up and went for gola. The cold gola was  welcome relief from the scorching sun. After gola, a nice cold beer was icing on the cake. However, chilling out a little too long at the bar, we missed the first train option. Mark suggested we hitch a ride to Panvel in a truck, which I was totally into. So there, sitting at the back of a truck, on bare steel, not exactly the most comfortable experience, but an experience nevertheless. And it surely beat standing in a crowded train. Or so we thought. The train at Panvel, seemed comfortable, till about two stations further. Crowds gushing in from both sides, men rubbing against you, sweat being exchanged is not exactly what we bargained for. Anyway, we kept ourselves amused making fun of certain people within sight, without them knowing ofcourse. After several ads with Mark's "Movie announcer" voice for the Indian Railways, it was time to get off at Kurla. I know YUCK!! Being pushed out of the train wasnt particularly fun either. Then catching a rick to Bandra, we thought the trip was ending on the right note, till we hit Sunday evening Bandra trafic. A few minutes later, we found ourselves walking home. Reaching home and sipping water, was like finding water in the desert. ( Mark had a full bottle of water but i didnt feel the need of water till i was two minutes from home.)
So there it is.. the first weekend of trekking. Hope theres a trek every weekend now!

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