Some people hike it a lot!
This thursday Gautam calls me up and says they have planned a trek to Gorakhgad, somewhere near Kalyan. It was supposed to be a simple trail, followed by a steep climb to the top.
As usual, we met at Dadar station, but very early in the morning, at 6 am itself. Me, Gautam travelled together to Dadar, and as luck would have it, even our stud, Arjun, was in the same compartment as us. The train is fast becoming a rendezvous point for us now! He had a friend with him this time. There was a big group in Dadar, and we took the super-fast local to Kalyan. The train sped towards Kalyan through tunnels and over hills. From Kalyan, we caught a state transport bus (ST bus) to Murbad, and another ST bus from Murbad to Dehri.
Gorakhgad, about 2300 feet above MSL, with a set of caves at the top; dead-drop cliffs and drop-dead gorgeous views.
The group this time was Nisarga Brahman, a group started and run by Rohit of Peb-Matheran fame. This was a varied group, with high profile people like Abhijit, Abhi of DeepAbhi.tripod.com, the encyclopaedia which everyone consults before trekking around these parts, a professional from TrekShitiz, and two 12th standard students!
We thought this was a monsoon trek, so less water would be required, we were close to wrong. It was hot, humid, and sultry during the climbing part, which made us sweat even more than a summer trek. Atleast the sweat evaporated quickly in summer. But the view, even halfway across the climb was awesome. There were quite a few balconies where we stopped and enjoyed the view. We enjoyed the city in the last trek (night), we enjoyed the vertical faces of hills in this trek. There are so many places to trek in Maharashtra! No wonder the Sahyadris is called the Trekkers' Paradise. If I did one climb every weekend, I guess I would require two years to do everything, and still have some left. Makes me wanna stay in Mumbai more.
We reached the trekkable part, and came to the rocky area, which we had to climb through a staircase carved into the rocks. Thankfully I didn't worry about slipping this time. I even saw a tiny snake at the entrance to the fort, so tiny I could close it in my fist. I didn't try, it was supposedly a poisonous snake.
We reached the caves and explored around the ledge, which led us to a regular carved-into-the-rocks reservoirs. Some of the group started playing and horsing around, throwing ice-cold water over everybody, stepping down into the pool, etc. Even as we were climbing, the sky was partially cloudy with chances of showers When we were by the pool, it suddenly started pouring - rains with heavy wind. I swear the rain clouds opened up just a few metres above our head. Some of the group had climbed up to the pinnacle (I had avoided it) and they were stuck up there, and the rest ran back to the caves. While we and they waited for the rains to cease, we started with our lunches. Tepla and sandwich were the most popular food that day.
The rains ceased, they people who went up came down, and we began our descent. The rains had cleaned every one of us (most of us, I wore a raincoat) and the hills, and made the descent slippery. Quite a few slipped and landed on their butt in the wet clay. We got down to a temple in the base where we cleaned ourselves and started our return journey. The trip from the village to the bus stand was crazy - two jeeps were arranged, and there were 10-12 people in each jeep. Three each were hanging on the outside. I sat next to the driver, behind the steering wheel, while the driver sat next to me, half out of the cabin. Sounds funny!!
Then it was the routine way back, bus, and train, back home at close to midnight, wake up late and come to the office late, etc.