Off we went, once again on another trek (much different from the previous one) – quite surprisingly, this time it was Ronson who took the lead in organizing it (he’ll be happy to know that I mentioned him). We had a Colin substitute this time round though – our very own Ian decided to join us in on the adventure along with Mangesh, who was our guide (at least that’s what we all thought). As with all treks we headed off early in the morn, caught the train to Neral and got off there. I’m honestly shocked to say this, but this time round Ronson didn’t forget his eggs (and I don’t mean it that way)!
The journey was quite eventful – we all started talking about our future and how we all were already so fed up with our jobs – this seems to be the standard conversation we always have amongst ourselves these days. Nothing out of the ordinary here, and before we knew it we were at Neral station heading towards a rope stuck somewhere on the mountaintop that we were supposed to climb. Check out some of the clicks below
As we were heading up the trail, we encountered some peace loving buffaloes who were simply minding their own business, before Ronson decided to speak and said, “I wonder what will happen if these guys come chasing us away” – BAM!! The next thing we knew the buffaloes were staring us right in the eye and with a big snort, came chasing after us!! We ran like mad men and in all the commotion, I inadvertently stepped on the foot of the guy in front of me – who turned out to be Bunny. Luckily there were some villagers who come chasing after the bulls and drove them away while telling us Bhago Mat (though I’m quite sure that if you asked each of us, we would all say that we are brave souls who only ran because we saw everyone else running). Whew, we thought that was over, only to hear Anni abusing us saying who stepped on my shoe, who stepped on my shoe!!! Turns out, when I stepped on his foot, his shoe came off and he ran away from the bulls with one shoe and one sock!! That should set the tone for how you can expect the rest of this trek to go.
However, check out the images below – we did get time to check out some of the fabulous sites along the way. We then turned to our guide to show us the path, only for him to look back and ask us, “Hey which way should we go?” Since we didn’t know where the trail was, we used our judgement and did what any local villager would do – we started to blame each other, and while we were deciding whether or not to head back and take a new route Ronson came up with the stupidest motivation ever, “Our Group doesn’t go back!” That was that then – we would move forward. Where? No one knew, all we knew was that we don’t go back! Before we knew it, we were climbing straight up the mountain, and as Ian says, ‘we make our own path’ – another stupid line, if you ask me. That reminds me, I think it might be time to search for new friends. 🙂
After walking for what seemed like ages, we finally came across a trail cut through – indicating that after climbing up the mountain side for more than an hour, we were finally back to the path that the rest of civilization used. Trudging along for another couple of hours, Mangesh and I (who were bringing up the rear) finally came across Ronson sleeping on the wayside on his stack of newspapers (he carried newspaper from home to, as he says, make a comfortable bed), saying he can’t go on. I asked him where Ian and Bunny were, but he didn’t know; I asked him which direction we’re supposed to head in, and he didn’t know. Oh well! Stuck in the middle with nowhere else to go, Mangs and I too decided to rest our aching feet (and bones) before continuing along the way.
We finally managed to catch up with the others and after jumping over rocks and bushes, and ducking under large spiders we got to the caves, which were inhabited by ferocious looking monkeys that were snarling and growling at us. Famished, we decided to eat the boiled eggs, only to find that out of the 12 that were brought, only 5 were good enough to eat since the others were all smashed up due to the vigorous sleeping that Ronson did, using the bag as a pillow, thinking that since the eggs were hard boiled they would survive. After being threatened long enough by the monkeys for occupying their lodging, and Ronson abusing them since he wasn’t able to collect all the pieces of his “bed” we headed back to the railway tracks that would take us to Lonavala. Expectedly, we got lost here too, but before Ronny could take out his newspaper-bed our guide finally did what he was supposed to the entire journey and managed to find us the right pathway that took us down two flights of ladders and got us safely to the railway tracks.
It wasn’t too bad from then onwards – a pretty straight path to walk, and we even managed to find a small waterfall along the way – believe me when I say that it was the most refreshing feeling in the world – Ronny and I were literally having a bath there.
Being so tired after a tiring, but eventful day we literally dozed off in the train journey on the way back home!!
Here’s to the next trip!