I had been thinking about trekking with various trekking groups for a long time. Trekking with such organized groups has its own benefits: There is less dependability on people around to make a plan. Everything is taken care of. All you need to do is show-up (and trek of course). Also, you get to meet new people with at least one common interest.
I was lucky to find people in my office who love traveling. So, when there was an event listing in Pune Times, we called immediately, made the payment and went on our first organized trek to Vasota Jungle Fort.
“Explorers” (9850502723) are a bunch of genuine people with an enormous amount of passion for adventure activities and even more amount of patience. We were a group of 60. The youngest would have been 18 years old and the oldest was about 70. We also had a girl who was physically challenged because of Polio who trekked the best.
We reached the base village – Bamnoli at 6 in the morning (We were supposed to reach in the middle of the night and sleep in a temple but our bus broke down).
We freshened up, had our breakfast (please assume it will always be Poha) and started our boat ride in the backwaters of Koyna River towards Vasota. It was a beautiful ne and a half hour ride coz the sky was blue and so was the water, the mountains were brown (Pune mountains are brown during non-monsoon months) and the boat. well. just fine!
When we reached Vasota Base, we stood in a circle to listen to the instructions by Explorers. There were about 7 to 8 team leads that trekked with us, with lunch for over 60 people in their rug sacks. The first one km was fun. Not too steep, not too rocky, just a nice long walk inside a jungle.
The 2nd and 3rd kms of the trek seemed never-ending. Every step we took was a level higher, amidst rocks, trees, shrubs, pathway filled with stones and branches to make it more exciting! We had gone in a group of 4 from Auryn and we realized we trek at different speed levels. We hardly met during the climb. When you trek (with no prior experience of exercise), you realize your body hasn’t received such a treatment in a longtime and frankly it likes the pain. I loved it. When my thigh muscles and calf muscles hurt the next day and I struggled to climb worse climb down the stairs, I enjoyed the pain. Also, your co-trekkers teach you so much. The younger ones would be panting for breath and our oldest companion treks past us slowly in a composed manner giving us poppins for some glucose and energy. When we collapsed thinking god, how will we reach the peak, the girl with the crutches treks past us with a constant smile on her face. And you think, why are we not able to do it like them. And that motivates you to reach the peak!
The peak of the hill(I forget the name) had a small water body which looked dirty but had clean water. We filled our water bottles, washed our face, found a tree and lay down under the shade for a bit. On such treks, I love taking naps. We then explored the fort around, taking lots of pictures of the mountain ranges which has its peculiar formations due to years and years of volcanoes. We also shouted in unison at the mountains to hear the echoes shout back at us and the experience of doing it as a group was exhilarating.
We had to carry our own plates and bowls. Lunch was served and we all ate enough to give us the energy to trek back.
The trek back was tougher. I was wearing the wrong pair of shoes. It was a size smaller which is kinda OK for city wear but a definite no no for a trek. My toes hurt with every step downwards but the conversations helped. On the boat ride back to Bamnoli, I took off my shoes and kept my feet in the water for as long as I could and the healing was immediate!
A round of Vada Pav and Chai and we were on our way back to Pune. By now, we have made friends with people in our bus and we are all playing and singing Antakshari on top of our lungs.
A beautiful beginning to a beautiful new year – 2012!
Date: Jan 8, 2012
Time: 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Place: Vasota Jungle Fort, Base Village: Bamnoli Village, Near Pune, India
Organisers: Explorers: +919850502723
Pune to Bamnoli Village