My First Ever ‘Proper’ Trek! – Part 2

Beginning from where I left it….
For those who want to catch up with the first part, please scroll down and read it. 🙂

So, we were guided by three trek leads – Vinayak Sir, Dhanashree ma’am and Siddhant Sir – all three experienced trekkers. A friendly and enthusiastic lot, we all immediately warmed up to them and to each other too. We all started talking and joking with each other during the tea-break itself – So yeah, I was sure – this was going to be one heck of a trek!! 😉

As we went ahead, the trek leads kept giving us inputs about the terrain – there was an ascent, a plain and then the descent. So we were mentally prepared for what was awaiting us. We walked along, halting for brief moments, absorbing the beauty around us and capturing these moments to cherish when we go back home. 🙂 ❤

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Picture Credits: Dr. Parag Pathrudkar (Parag Uncle for me) Doctor by profession, Photographer and Poet by passion! 🙂

Amidst all of this, whenever the wind would blow real hard, I would involuntarily stop and replicate the Titanic Pose – yeah the one where you spread your arms wide open(although I did it alone :P). I must have done it at least 10 times, until Parag Uncle asked me to pose the exact same way against a scenic background and clicked my pic – that probably was my favourite pic from this trek, because those who know me are aware that I’m not much of a poser, and that I’m better behind the camera than front of it – but there I was – POSING! It just happened! And the picture speaks a thousand words – of me relishing the moment, trying to contain the blowing wind in my arms, topped with that “I’m on top of the world” feeling. Just perfect…And the quote on my T-shirt was apt too –
“Enough is never quite enough”!
Stands true for my insatiable trekking craze! ❤ 😀

And at the beginning, it was super cold – we took our sweatshirts along, but who knew 20 minutes through the trek the sweatshirts would be all sweaty! This is one trek tip I will keep in mind for sure – in moderately cold weather, you don’t need to tag your sweat shirt along – you’ll end up tying it around your waist more than putting it on!

As we went on, the ascent came to an end and now we had the plain terrain. The pathway here was lined with crab homes on both sides! And I didn’t even know these were crab homes, until Satish Uncle (Doctor, and a nature enthusiast)  enlightened us all. We went a little ahead and voila – we saw a crab – A small little crab lying sluggishly in a muddy puddle. Dhanashri ma’am picked it up so that we could have a better view and some clicks too! 😀

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The crab…looking straight at the camera! Or wait – Did we force him to?

After a walk of around an hour and a half, we finally took our first break. Where? By the riverside, with the river gently cooing beside us. Here we had our Chikki and Paperboat break. We sat for a while on the rocks by the river, again – absorbing nature’s stunning beauty. As people living in the city, we’re not really used to seeing crystal-clear, sparkling rivers, that have a mystic fragrance. So this was indeed a treat to the eyes…..<3

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The river!! Credits:To-be Doctor Sharayu Kand 😀 Again, to-be doctor by profession and artist by passion! 🙂

During this break, I spotted a snake – curled up on a rock. Not knowing whether it was alive, I asked Parag uncle. And then the entire group gathered there. Gentle prodding with a twig made us realise the snake was alive and slithering! It actually got a bit panicked, I think – but so did we! So we left it at that – didn’t bother to disturb it any more than we’d already done! 😛

After this was the fun part – we had to cross the river! If it were raining, the river-crossing would have been a little difficult, we’d probably require help from the trek leads. But the weather gods were in our favour, so all we had to do was take off our shoes and socks and cross the river – by ourselves (Of course under the watchful eyes of the trek leads!). The feeling of the cool water splashing against bare feet – it was so relaxing! No foot massage in the world could probably replicate this level of relaxation! 😀 ❤

After everyone successfully went across the river, we then started with the actual route that would go through the dense jungle. Until then we were on the simple, not-so-complicated route.

“What’s the point if we keep walking on the plain road with trees on the sides? Let’s amp it up a little!” were Vinayak Sir’s words.
And he warned us, “Keep walking, don’t stop anywhere and always ensure you are with one of the trek leads. There’s a probability of you encountering snakes and in rare possibilities, even a leopard”.

Ahem, what?  A leopard?
But then he brushed it off saying that animals venture further into the jungle when it rains, so the probability of encountering one is quite rare. But we still had to be watchful.

Now this terrain was tough – narrow pathways (with enough space for one person to go through at a time) climbing through rocks, amidst all the slush…phew..it was a task! But we cruised through it too and then we reached the topmost point – right above Gupt Bhimashankar (Hidden Bhimashankar – will elaborate on that later)

So at this spot, there’s a temple on the top. This is the exact place where you can spot a lot of Shekhrus and monkeys. And guess what? We spotted both!! Shekhru, also known as the Indian Giant Squirrel or the Flying Squirrel, is the State animal of Maharashtra. It’s huge, with a tail that has a bright red flare – it’s elusive, but the tail makes it easier to spot it.
Spotting the Shekhru was like a childhood dream come true – I wanted to see the shekhru live ever since I was in the fourth grade – the first time I had seen one in my Geography textbook. And I finally spotted one (albeit 12 years later). And as mentioned earlier, animals go into hiding in the monsoons, spotting  monkeys was surprising – probably they were enjoying the beauty of the monsoon too!

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Look at his pose! Credits: Siddhi Pendse (A dear friend of mine, also an avid trekker – who went on the same trek two weeks after me -and managed to capture this monkey!)

After this, we went downwards, again crossed the river– towards Gupt Bhimashankar. This is where the original Shivlinga (One of the 12 Jyotirlingas across the country) is located – which is why devotees throng this place. And the waterfalls – just perfect! Milky white gushing waterfalls – falling atop the Shivlinga – the sight is purely marvellous! Visibility of the Shivlinga is low during the monsoon, owing to the gushing waterfall right above it – but we never the less managed to see it. Again, hotspot for filmi photo shoots – we had an elaborate photo session here – individual and group.

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Credits: Parag Uncle! 🙂 The waterfall over Gupt Bhimashankar!! ❤

While we were nearing Gupt Bhimshankar, we had encountered a huge log of a fallen tree that blocked the pathway. It had strategically fallen – either you had to climb over it, or go below it. Now I’m tall, so I easily climbed over it. But the girl right behind me – she was shorter, so she went the other way. And then we laughed over it, and got to talking. That’s where, I became friends with Meera –a bubbly, cheerful teenager. I love befriending people wherever I go. And it was Meera this time! (We later promised to keep in touch and now, I have a friend for life!) And Meera was my companion for the rest of the trek. 😀

We trudged, chattering along the way knowing that the trek was coming to an end. And so did it.

But the end of the trek was disheartening. The trek ended exactly behind the Bhimashankar Temple. And this place was full of refuse from the temple– plastic bags, pieces of cloth, flowers and other things. We had to literally walk through all this litter and unbearable stench– making us all wonder – is this true devotion? Why can’t people conserve, respect and adore nature as much as they worship God? The end of the trek was distasteful. I could see efforts made by the local governance – they had put up banners asking people not to dump waste, there were garbage bins placed. But no……merciless humans, managed to choke the serenity of a religious place too. This is not how we wanted our trek to end… 😦

Anyway, we got over it….

We made our way towards the temple, which is an architectural wonder.<3 There were sweet shops and corn shops lined up the temple stairs (climbing them up was a mini-trek in itself!). We made our respective purchases and finally reached the main gates – and headed for lunch. 🙂

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The Bhimashankar Temple

We had a sumptuous meal at a local dhaba – rice, dal, roti, ussal, shev bhaji (Local delicacies), – warm, tasty food to satiate our voracious hunger.

And after the trek leads had counted the number of people, we headed back to our bus – way home to Pune, back to the polluted, urban jungle – far away from nature’s placidity……

And of course, after a trek of 10 kilometers, burning 950 calories – we slept like babies on our way back home!! 🙂

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Another scenic view!! Credits: Parag Uncle! 🙂

Special thanks to Parag Uncle, Sharayu and Siddhi for lending me the photos! ❤

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My First Ever ‘Proper’ Trek! – 1

First of all, apologies! I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted something. And quite some followers even asked me why I haven’t come up with a new post (it feels so good when you have such eager fans 😛 )…So yeah, as soon as I got some time off today, I decided to post this article ( which is something I was supposed to do almost two weeks back). Anyway, better late than never 😉

On 29th July 2018, something historic happened in my life – I went for a trek! And please note – it was my first, full-fledged trek!

Okay don’t start wondering why I’m so over-excited about this…(which you probably must be doing already!) Hold on….and read to know!

The craze for trekking in me probably arose because of the three times I climbed the tekdi behind my college with my college friends (yeah you guessed it right, we bunked lectures to go up there! 😉 ). So yeah, Hanuman Tekdi has to get it’s due credits in instilling in me this seed of trek-craze.

**A quick post-it for those who aren’t aware what Hanuman tekdi is – it’s hillock which is shared by the three of the most prestigious educational institutions in Pune – BMCC, Fergusson and Symbiosis. It’s a 45 minute climb, you can go up there have your lunch and then descend – all in 2 hours. And we’re quite proud of this Tekdi, because yeah, we get the privilege to escape without being caught loitering around in campus! 😉 😛

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The view from Hanuman Tekdi. Urban jungle vs Real jungle. The grey terrace which you can see is a tiny glimpse of my huge college. Credits: me, myself!

Getting back to what I wanted to tell you!

So the “historic” event in my life –
The Bhorgiri-Bhimashankar Jungle Trek!!

It was organised by an upcoming trek group in Pune – Via Ferrata Adventure Solutions. And as soon as we got to know about this trek, we immediately signed up for it.

Apart from this being my first ever “proper” trek (I will keep repeating this to amplify it’s importance 😛 ), this trek was special for a couple of other reasons too:

  • It was mom’s FIRST trek EVER. (note the drastic difference between First ever ‘proper’ trek and First ever trek). Quite a sporty lady – my mum, that is! 😀
  • Mom’s medical college classmates with their daughters were going to accompany us. And they are a fun lot – super cool doctors and even cooler girls!! 😀 😀

In the morning as mom put on her shoes, and her backpack – I couldn’t help but smile. And then,  she sheepishly grinned and  said – I feel like I’m a kid!! I grinned back, knowingly – it was a much-needed break for her. 🙂

So we were picked up from NH-50 (Pune-Nashik Highway) at around 6.30 am, which was after an unavoidable delay of half an hour – so imagine what we must have done waiting impatiently on the highway at 6 in the morning! Ranging from passing comments on a group of bikers to stopping a random bus, we did it all to kill that seemingly never-ending half an hour. No patience we have!

And then when the bus arrived, the people already in it had occupied the front seats, and even though there were 8 seats vacant enough for us, we girls opted for the last seat (yep, the jerky roller coaster one). And we don’t blame anyone for our unsuccessful attempts to catch up on some sleep. 😛

And as the bus cruised through, we just knew we were out of the city limits – because wherever we looked, there was greenery and extensive lakes – we didn’t even have to look out for any sign boards. For the rest of the journey, all we did was excitedly spot those far off waterfalls, gently falling through the mountains. No sight of the urban jungle, no smoke, nothing cramped – far away from the city, here we were – breathing pure, untouched air and experiencing what it feels like to just look aimlessly outside the window, without getting bored. Soothing to the eyes, to the mind and the body, too… ❤ ❤ ❤

We also stopped by in a village on the way and had breakfast – the entire group immediately split into two – missal and poha. And among them all,  I was the only one who didn’t drink tea (I hate tea), so yes, I was the butt of all jokes there! You aren’t a true Punekar – was one of the taunts (Man, that hurts!) 😦

So after this fun journey, we reached Bhorgiri – it’s around 10 kilometres away from Bhimashankar. We were to trek this entire distance and then get into our bus which would be waiting for us at Bhimashankar. Before we began the trek we all had our filmi photo sessions – with the wind blowing in our hair and all! After this, the experienced trek-leads gave us instructions and a few trek-perks: Chikki, an apple and Paperboat! Like eager kids we all took our share and put in our backpacks. 😀

And then….the trek began….!! 😀

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That’s the exact view from where the bus halted – the foothills of Bhorgiri! Credits: The one who’s better behind the camera!! 😛

To be continued……………………….. 😉