Enjoy the monsoons, go trekking

I don't like the indoors very much. In that case, given a choice between a mall and Marine Drive, you know what I would choose. And I am not the only one. There are plenty of us out there, feeling stifled in air conditioned rooms craving for some fresh air. But surprisingly, there are many who would rather go to a mall, eat some junk and join a gym. If you do belong to this tribe, then I am not sure if you would enjoy reading this. Nevertheless, give it a shot. 

Misty Mysteries 


Yesterday's weather was perfect. Overcast skies, light drizzles and no sign of the sun. And the best part is that for the next three-four months the weather will remain the same barring the  variation in rainfall. This brings out the best of this region, - The Western Ghats. Sahyadris, as we know the Western Ghats in Maharashtra stand imposingly all around our island city. The ghats are carpeted in green and the peaks shrouded in misty mystery. The winds are chilly and life blooms everywhere.
New life 

So what is the best way to experience this season? Easy, you would say - Drive down to Lonavala, have fudge at Cooper's and chai at Tiger point. Right? Wrong. Best way to experience the beauty of the monsoons is - on foot, walking around in the forests, climbing hills and dilapidated forts, getting drenched to the bone, chasing fireflies and eating hot locally cooked food. And to sum all of that up in one word you should go - Trekking. 

Most of the trekkers will identify with the famous Helen Keller quote "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" Partly because it appears on one of the most resourceful trekking website around - Mumbai Hikers and partly because they live by it without even knowing it. In 3 years of conducting treks for a living, I have seen lot of city dwellers convert themselves into active adventurers. How did the transformation take place?   


Trekkers on their way to Kalsubai


Very simple, they got out of the house and reached a trekking spot. Considering the topography, we are spoilt for choice. There are locations tailored for every kind of trekker - Amateurs, beginners, veterans. All they had to do was pick a spot, go there, scale it and experience the trekkers high. That feeling of immense joy, pleasure and achievement which one experiences when you reach the peak. When the winds blow fiercely, welcoming you and your tired body is instantly rejuvenated with the views you command from the top. At the moment, it doesn't matter all that you have been through to get there and that is the moment of emancipation. Setting yourself free from all the struggle and suffering. The emancipation of the city dweller. 


Celebrations upon reaching the summit of Kalsubai
Highest point of Maharashtra! 


Therefore, this monsoon, I sincerely hope that you get out of your bed early one morning. Take the train, hitch a ride on a truck or simply drive down yourself to one of the many trekking spots that abound in the region. Most of the villagers residing in these areas will oblige to guide you to the peak, be generous with them and take them along if you don't fancy getting lost in the forest (which by the way, is also a lot of fun, trust me). Some enthusiasts have been kind enough to mark some of the more frequent trekking trails with arrows and signs on rocks making it simpler to navigate your way to the top. Also, Mumbai Hikers lists most of the trekking groups that organise treks over the weekends. You could sign up with one of them as per your budget and location. 


Buy good trekking shoes(I recommend Action Trekking shoes, 750 bucks for a sturdy pair),  a comfortable backpack containing water, first aid box, flashlights, matches are some of the essentials when you hit the outdoors. Also while you are out there, don't litter the place. Keep plastic usage to a minimal and dispose all wastes in your own backpackRemember, safety comes first. There might be a certain thrill in risking it out but please be careful. In the wild, you rarely get a second chance. However, let not these morbid warnings deter you from embarking on an adventure this monsoon! Until next, happy trekking! 

Wandering around Lohagad 


-Rushikesh

Rushikesh Kulkarni runs Breakfree Journeys, a cult tourism outfit interested in outdoor travel and backpacking. On days that he is not wandering around the Western Ghats, he is spotted roaming in the bylanes of Bombay scouting for tidbits of history and good food.

Follow him on Twitter: @rushikeshgk






















Comments

Angela said…
This looks like an excellent adventure trip, funny how you like overcast skies with no sun peeping out while in Italy we like the exact opposite :)
Rushikesh said…
Hi Angela! In India, especially on the western coast we have the sun shining upon us for about 8 months of the year. So when the rains arrive in June, we are more than happy to miss the bright sun :) And I am guessing it is quite the opposite in Italy? Thanks for dropping by!
deejthtraveller said…
True. Monsoons are the best time to travel. Not too cold nor too hot...just perfect weather. The nature too looks at her best after te downpour, greener & clear.

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