Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Karnala Trek

August 07, 2010 saw me going to the 1st trek of my life. And boy! Was it an experience!! I frankly had no idea what a trek would entail. A friend told me about the following essentials for a basic trek:

1) Sports Shoes with good grip
2) Windcheater to protect from rain

I was not willing to spend money on a one-off trek by buying the above stuff. Luckily I have cousins who go on treks often. So I borrowed from them!

The day dawned pleasantly rainy, just as required. I was just hoping that the weather would be equally good at Karnala Fort where we were going trekking. The usual hiccups of not finding the bus on time overcome; we were finally on our Way!



The lovely K Star Woods resort was where we were headed. Once there, we could not wait to get to the trek!



Bird Sanctuary

The trek was to begin from a Bird Sanctuary which would lead up to the Karnala Fort. The Bird Sanctuary itself wasn’t really great… I could hear a Peacock but couldn’t see it as the grills of the cage were too meshed up. A cursory glance at 3 cages containing birds, we were on our way to the Karnala Fort!

THE TREK

The Karnala Fort Trek was supposedly a trek for beginners. Hence I was quite cool and looking forward to it. The trek began quite tamely as we were not aware that we were actually on the trek! But once we started slowly moving up, realization dawned. And a few dropped out to enjoy at the resort instead.

A few minutes into the trek, I was already panting and wondering how long I would be able to go on. But not one to chicken, I valiantly continued my struggle along with a few others who were also on their first trek. It didn’t help to realize that one half of our 16 strong group was already not visible… they were regular hikers and hence, found this trek child’s play!

The route was difficult in patches and plain in others. It always turned out that a particularly difficult patch was followed by plain one, thereby suitably rewarding the trekkers. Here is the plain ground after one very difficult patch of climb… awesome view!!!



Mowgli

Of our group, Bharat was noticed to be the most agile trekker. His nimble steps and confident movement earned him the nick name of ‘Mowgli’. Mowgli hopped skipped and jumped his way through the trek, but not before giving a handy hand to the ones who are not as lucky as him.
At one point, when all of us were too exhausted to move further, I noticed the ever lithe Mowgli munching away… hmmm… so what is it that is the secret of the great Mowgli’s prowess? Mumbai’s famous ‘Vada Pav’…!

Yeah! Bharat openly revealed the secret of his stamina to be the good ol’ Vada Pav… check out how the glutton is munching away when we are trudging our way through the uneven terrain of the trek!



Special Kids



A huge group of kids were also noticed trekking along with us. The little kids were extremely fast and enthusiastic about their outing… made me feel they probably don’t get many of them often… at a closer glance I noticed that the poor kids were trekking the terrain in ill fitting gear. Most were wearing shoes much bigger than their little feet and were clothed in school uniform with nothing to protect from the incessant rain. But still… what attitude… they ran, jumped, crawled… basically did everything to ensure their short frames completed the trek which adults like us were finding difficult to continue. We later came to know that those kids were in fact orphans, brought for a rare outing by an NGO. Kudos to all the people behind the radiant smiles of those under privileged kids. But please… next time, could they have better gear?

200 Meters Left…Happy?

A long last, we came across a board mentioning the Karnala Fort to be 200 Mts away. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief… I mean, 200 Mts is nothing compared to the distance we had already covered, right…? Hmmm… A small details which the board did not cover was that the fort was at a distance of 200 Mts, but not horizontal – VERTICAL!

All of us got a huge shock when we saw the last stretch of the trek. A mostly impossible looking vertical climb with some rusty railings not looking in anyway capable of being held. People who had hitherto been pushed and goaded into completing the trek started losing it now… This is how the entrance to the fort looked to us from where we were standing:



A lot of discussion later, we decided to go for it… of course, with the rider that anyone would be allowed to quit and wait down if the confidence wanes. And thus began our journey to conquer the ‘last legion’.

So someone pulled, some others pushed, some dragged and finally, WE MADE IT!!! Yeah! All of us… even the most terrified ones, made it to the fort. And boy! What a reward! The view there was superb. It was pelting rain and my windcheater had stopped shielding me from the rain a long time back. Soaked to the skin I took in the sight of the ruins of the fort. The moats around were filled with water and the whole thing had an old world charm. Due to the heavy rain, no more pics were possible. Hence the moments lie captured in my mind. Here we were reunited with the rest of our group (who had reached the summit earlier) and cheers and victory signs were flashed all around.

The return journey was made difficult by the incessant rain which was sending rivulets of water down the entire path making the route slippery. Someone aptly summarized our journey with the song ‘Zindagi har kadam ek nayi jung hai!’… we really did feel every step was akin to stepping into war zone… whether we would slip of sail would only be known later!

The Detour

“Hey, are we supposed to go down this waterfall or what?”, Dhaval’s started shout unnerved us… a few of us had moved away from the main group and were cruising along, when we realized that we had reached a dead end. There was a waterfall in which we could go down (but we were supposed to be trekking, not rafting!) which was definitely not the right way to go. We realized something really scary… we have taken the wrong route and we are lost!!!

The thing that pained me the most was that we would have to go up again to some distance in search of the right path… but there was no other option and we started going up trek again. A few minutes later we luckily spotted a few trekkers who showed us the right way to go down. Thanking our lucky stars, we continued downwards.

The distant screech of a peacock made us realize that we are finally at where we started… the Bird Sanctuary. We couldn’t control our shouts of joy as we realized that we have managed to complete our trek successfully. I was also relieved that the trek turned out fine; I didn’t faint, didn’t chicken out and completed the trek well. Cheers!

The Aftermath

“Aaaargh…!!!”, that’s me, trying to get myself off the bed on Sunday morning. My arms and legs were feeling non existent and I was trying to get up like a laachaar quadruple amputee. I got through Sunday with difficulty but Monday was another story… I found it difficult to run for the bus, I decided not to climb the railway bridge at the station and did not use the stairs in office. Though there was a slight improvement from Sunday, I felt that I had moved from quadruple amputee like state to a weak in the legs like state. Phew!!!

But all said and done, the trek was an event to remember… here’s to the health of all of us… Cheers!!!



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8 Comments:

At 10:53 PM , Blogger Bharat said...

By mentioning only about Mowgli you hurt other characters in trek like bhaloo (avishkar), akadu-pakdu (sagar-rudresh) and like that........-)

 
At 11:00 PM , Blogger SRILAXMI said...

Bharat,

But i dont knw abt them... :-( u only were with my group na...!

what stopped u frm giving me this feedback when i sent u this post for edit? at that time u wanted all the limelight...now u r feeling bad for ur frnz!

SRI

 
At 12:55 PM , Blogger mythalez said...

misty mysterious fort ;)

lol @ the 200 meters misinformation :D

and kudos on the trek .. looks like a pretty tough one!

 
At 9:27 PM , Blogger SRILAXMI said...

Mythalez,

hmmm... yeah, the fort was mysterious!

thnx...!

SRI

 
At 11:45 PM , Blogger SHruti said...

Hi!
Must be thrilling naa.......-)

 
At 3:57 PM , Blogger SRILAXMI said...

Shruti,

Yeah twas... had lots of fun!

SRI

 
At 9:17 AM , Blogger Viren Shah said...

Good to see you all (Mere baju K department wale)... It seems you enjoyed lot.....

 
At 11:03 PM , Blogger SRILAXMI said...

Viren,

Yeah, it was a grt trip...!

SRI

 

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