Dec 12th 2015
It’s been a year since this trek. Yet here I am with those memories fresh in my mind as though it were yesterday.
Tech Mahindra JOSH organises various activities for its employees which includes treks every once in a while. Last year few of my teammates and I decided to go on a trek to Kalavantin Durg. It was a night trek and the difficulty level was said to be medium.
We had a light supper at our office cafeteria to ensure that we had enough strength to trek. We were told that snacks would be provided just before we start the trek too. The buses were waiting for us and at around 10 PM we started off from the office. The journey was fun, we met some new people through a mutual friend and sang songs all the way till we reached the base village, Thakurwadi. This is where the buses were parked and our trek had to begin. It was past midnight, but we were hungry and the snacks provided really helped a lot. Soon after, we got our backpacks ready, held the torches out and began the trek.
Before the trek begins…..
The instructions were crystal clear. “Always stay with your group and be careful while stepping in the dark. Use torches without fail and do take short breaks when tired. No, do not rest for a long time as it would make it more difficult to climb further. Also we will have two people in the front of the group and no one is to go ahead of them. Similarly there will be two people at the back and no one is to walk behind them. We will use signals (they demonstrated a loud AOOOO, and the response would be OAAAAA) to let each other know that we are not too far off and everything is OK. Remember, these signals are for the ones at the front of the group and the people who are at the back. So please do not yell back and cause any confusions. Stay on the trail and do not take any shortcuts. We will reach the base camp in about two to three hours, depending on the speed with which you all walk. All set? Let’s go!”
And we were off!! As in any trek the walk seemed pretty effortless at first. As instructed, we took breaks in between and on one such break few of us were lucky enough to see a shooting star in the night sky. It was just for a second and by the time I could point it to my friends it was gone. The trek up to the base camp, Prabalgad, seemed pretty short compared to all my previous treks. It was around 3.30 A.M by the time we reached there and needless to say it was freezing cold. Of course we had our warm clothing on, still when you are approximately 2300 ft. above sea level, it’s bound to give you goose bumps. We didn’t really sleep although there was provision for that, but took a short nap instead. We stayed up talking, clicking some pictures, looking up at the night sky and simply enjoying the cool breeze.
That’s how we spent the night!
It was morning before we knew it, and time to start the major part of the trek. But first, we had to get something to eat. We freshened up and all of us sat down to eat. We had poha, which was delicious, and got ready to start trekking for the day. We were to reach the peak and return by noon, so it was not necessary to carry all our backpacks. We stuffed the water bottles in one bag and decided we would take turns in carrying it. We hiked up to the patch, Prabalmachi where we were again given instructions.
We woke up to this!
A quick breakfast
A selfie with the peak in the background
At the base camp after freshening up
“The trek will now get challenging. As you can see it’s almost at a 90 degree angle and there are no railings you can hold on to. The steps are steep and hence make sure you maintain sufficient gap between yourself and the person in front of you. After climbing this we will come across another patch. The last 25 feet is the pinnacle, and if you feel you cannot go any further you can wait at that patch itself. However, it can be climbed as we will be there to assist you. Remember, there is something called the ‘Three point climbing’. It means at all times at least three of your limbs has to be firmly placed on the rock. Say you have to move your right hand to grab hold of a rock to move forward. But first, ensure that your left hand and both your legs are firmly placed and you have a tight grip. So are you all game? Let’s begin!”
Oh yeah! That’s what we had to climb!
And it was challenging indeed! There were several points where I got a feeling that I cannot make it. Even had half a heart to go back to the first patch. But frankly, looking down at that deep valley was scary too! Trying not to think about how we were going to get down, we continued and reached the second patch. Now the last 25 feet was remaining and we would be on the top most point of Kalavantin Durg! I did not feel like giving up now. I mean, I knew I would regret it if I decided not to climb that rock. My legs are short and it was difficult to take big steps while climbing. But there were people to guide us. They constantly kept telling us where to step, which edge can be gripped, and one by one we made it to the top. And wow! What a view it was! This is the best part of any trek. The joy of reaching the top and enjoying the awesome view is just priceless. We spent a good 45 minutes there, got some amazing pictures and slowly started the descent.
Slowly making our way up
The view from the top
This was a whole new level of challenge! But hey, if we could climb up, we could climb down as well. At least that’s what I kept telling myself to remain calm. And before I knew it we were back at the base camp, just in time for lunch. Any food would have been wholeheartedly appreciated because that’s how tired we were. Post lunch we had some time to rest and as evening approached we started the trek back to the base village. Back in our buses, we were exhausted but also happy that the trek had gone smoothly.
Yay! We made it to the peak!!
A final group picture at the peak
I must say, Kalavantin was one of the best treks I have been on. It was not too tiring as we got sufficient time to rest, there were toilets available at the base camp which was really a huge advantage, plus it was the first time I went rock climbing, and it was not in some mall! Overall, it was a wonderful experience, something I’ll definitely cherish, always.