Murphy’s Law – Kondeshwar to Kusur

Murphy said “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” I would rephrase that as If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be! This trek was NOT meant to be. Yet, I fought against all odds to make it happen. The results I shall place in front of you. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong with this trek.

We were supposed to do “Madeghat to Shivthargal” with Explorers this weekend. It was mainly Vishal, Smitha and me who were a part of the first plan. On Thursday, Anand from Explorers tells me it’s not happening as they were having some personnel issues and they had way too many corporate gigs. So, I started hunting for treks with other groups. None of the Pune groups had anything interesting for this weekend. By now, Vishal and Smitha had dropped out. On Friday, I get a message from Zoheb(Read Satan :p) that he is missing treks and would like to come for the Sunday one. The search continued. On Friday night, I managed to find a trek by a Mumbai group (YHAI) who planned to trek from Kondeshwar to Kusur. They said they already had 50 people and could not take anymore but on insisting they agreed. So, we had to take a train from Pune Station to Kamshet at 4:45AM(we thought because of the info on the net) and they would pick us from there to go to Zhambivalli village which is 20 kms from Kamshet.

The next morning(Saturday), I got a call from a fellow trekker from Pune who was also joining YHAI from Kamshet. He wanted to meet and “discuss” how and when to go et al which sounded very creepy to me. This was a new group and there was every reason to be cautious. Adding to that was the fact that we would be at the Kamshet station at 530AM and it might still be dark :s At this point I contemplated whether it was worth the trouble and then, ignored those nagging thoughts.

A friend of mine wanted me to attend a conference on Sunday, she called me on Saturday evening and asked me if I was going. When she learnt I was going for the trek, she asked “Can’t you miss just this one?” and I said No.
Zoheb came to pick me up at 4:25AM. The closer route from my place to the railway station was closed, so we had to take the little longer one. We were rushing against time but with good speed, And suddenly, the bike stops.. A couple of attempts at self-start, the bike started. Another 1 km ahead and the bike stops again. Now we decide not to reduce the accelerator and guess what. That particular road had 4 speedbreakers.. Bummer! We were right in front of the station and the bike stopped again. Zoheb asked me to go ahead and he would take a U-turn and park the bike. I ran towards the platform and saw a train. After enquiring, I understood that the Pune-Lonavla Express left at 430AM (This piece of information was not updated on the website). Zoheb came after 5 mins and we asked again. Someone pointed us towards Platform No. 6 and we ran. Someone else confirmed, the train left at 430AM.

YHAI, in the meanwhile were on their way to Kamshet. They were sweet enough to ask us to take the next train which was at 545AM but we would have to manage our travel from Kamshet to Zhambivalli. So, we hung around, had some tea, bought the ticket and took the next train. We reached Kamshet at 7AM. This town has the system of shared Jeeps/Sumos which take you from Kamshet to Zhambivalli. They don’t usually charge more than Rs. 50 per head. But, apparently, there was a bus in the same direction which left 2 minutes before we reached and an auto-rickshaw driver said this to us atleast thrice. So, we hired the Sumo by paying Rs. 350 and headed in the direction of Zhambivalli. We reached just in time to start the trek. Within the first 15 minutes, we reached Kusur Temple where we had breakfast. This is where I realized, this whole thing was a bad idea.

Over the last 3 treks, I have developed an acute pain in the knee ligament (Medical Collateral Ligament) specially while descending. I understand it happens due to over exertion. I was due to see a doctor last week but ignored it. The minute and got down the stairs to the temple, the pain sprung back. This is when I started worrying coz it hurts like crazy while descending. But, I thought against all odds, it won’t be that bad..

When we reached the top, I was doing just fine. We sat on the floor for lunch and when it was time to get up, the pain was excruciating. The organisers gave me a crape band-aid which saved my life. As we started our descend, we reached a patch where there was too much muck and our shoes were getting stuck. I looked around and there was this side wall full of trees and I climbed up and started walking from there. A wooden thorn cut through my really rugged hunter shoes and pricked my feet. Can you believe that? You have to see the sole of my shoes and you’ll know what I am talking about. After some hard work, we were able to break the thorn. By now, my left leg was hurting coz of the fall, the knee pain and now the thorn. We managed to reach the base village, change and get into the bus. There was a road block. A tractor had a flat tyre and vehicle couldn’t move. But because this was a small village there weren’t too many vehicles. After almost 20 minutes, we moved towards the Kanhe station. We walked past the railway crossing (something one must never do) and the timing was just right.. We got off the track and we saw the train come towards us :S

Coming back to the trek, it was more of a nature trail I would say and not a trek as there was very little hiking. It was lots of walk through the plateaus traversing from one mountain to another. The view as usual was beautiful and the weather extremely pleasant. YHAI spent considerable time talking about the history of the place but unfortunately all of that was in Marathi and I couldn’t understand a word.

We saw more than 10 kinds of flowers in this stretch and the simple plateau walk let us enjoy the beauty even more. The highpoint of this trek was a couple – 2 dogs to be specific – Rani and Moti who walked with us throughout. They sat with us for lunch, stopped everytime we took breaks and started the descend with us. Rani, who grew extremely fond of the group decided to descend with us to Kusur though she stays in Zhambivalli. When it was time for us to leave, we assumed she would find her way back to Zhambivalli but she started running behind the bus. We finally made her get into the bus. She hopefully returned to Zhambivalli with the village representative who was with us in the bus.

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I wouldn’t be trekking for a couple of weeks atleast but hopefully I’ll fill you all in on some of the treks I haven’t written about – Kalsubai – The Everest of Sahyadri, Raireshwar – Valley of Flowers of Sahyadri and Torns – The highest peak in Pune district.

Trek Details:
Date: Sep 9, 2012
Time: 6AM PM to 6:00 PM
Place: Kondeshwar to Kusur, Zhambivalli Village, Maharashtra, India
Organisers: YHAI Mumbai, Prafulla Kondekar: +919930258141

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