Durga portrait photo

When I boarded the bus for the first trek of Avhaan Advanced, I started seeing familiar faces. Many of my friends from the May High Altitude Manali camp boarded my bus too. I felt so happy and excited to meet them again, for I had missed them more than I missed my parents for any trek. Ira came and sat next to me and we started chit-chatting about how excited we were for this trek. Soon, the two of us went to sleep (both of us had woken up at 5 am and were very sleepy). I woke up an hour later, and we were already outside Pune. Our road was surrounded by the lush green mountains of the Western Ghats. It was drizzling slightly and there was the lovely scent of damp soil all around. I felt so wonderful and fresh after my sleep. This continued for a few hours. Soon, we started seeing villages and farms. After we reached the trek starting point, we were divided into groups.

As we began the trek, I was surprised to find that we were going downhill! Dada said that we will be going uphill later. As we descended, our path joined a stream. I had to really concentrate – one wrong step, and my entire foot would be drenched in water. I really enjoyed the ‘stream walking’. As we reached the bottom of the valley, the trees cleared up and we could see the cliffside. We saw the Keleshwar dhabdhaba, (waterfall named after lord Shiva) and the dry route of Lakshmi dhabdhaba. The nearby village was called Kele.

We soon reached the village at the bottom of the valley. We were so relieved!I removed my muddy shoes and we all sat for lunch in the courtyard of the family who accommodated us. After lunch, everyone ran out to feel the cool breeze, but I stayed inside and wore my poncho, because I predicted that it was going to rain. A few minutes later, it actually started raining heavily and we resumed the trek only after the rain stopped.  I removed my poncho, but after half an hour, it started to become cold and breezy and dark grey clouds covered the sky. But I was so proud of my earlier prediction that I forgot to predict this time, and very soon I was drenched from head to toe! But I didn’t try to wear my poncho this time, because, what’s the use of a monsoon trek if you don’t get drenched? I happily climbed up the cliff in the rain until the soles of my feet started becoming warm. They were tired and a tiny blister came up on my little toe.

But again, the rain came to my rescue and because of the heavy downpour, our trail turned into a ministream; and every time I took a step, cool water gushed in and soothed my souls (of my feet too). When we reached the top, we could see the Konkan side with all its farms and villages! It was so beautiful seeing it from above the clouds! After the watching the dazzling view, we observed that two little streams joined into a bigger one, and everyone jumped straight in! ‘Why not have a little more fun since we were already wet,’ I thought.

When at last we completed the trek, there were dry clothes and warm tea waiting for us. There was also a kind aaji in the village who allowed us to play with the fluffy chicks from her farm.  We all boarded the bus and had a sleepy and content journey back. I thoroughly enjoyed this trek and hope there will be many more like this.

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