Yes we did it!!!!
And everyone will agree to me that this was one of the best trek that we had ever been to.
As per the plan we were supposed to explore Rajgad in two days and return back. But sometimes it’s more fun in doing unplanned things then just strictly sticking to the plan.
Me and our leader Nilesh, had already been thinking about it, that if we manage to steal some extra time we will try to cover the long route from Rajgad to Torna but it seemed difficult with the three entries of freshers , one of them being a female (Sharda) in the group.
But thanks to the bonus time saved due to the travel by a private sumo now we had enough extra time to rethink about extending our trek from Rajgad till Torna. That means an extra walk of about 10-15 kilometer and covering Rajgad in a day meaning long and fast walk without many breaks. We were all set for it the only thing needed was a green signal from the members. Allen, Abhishekh and Vikram were ready but we all were not sure about the fresher’s especially Sharda.
But I must appreciate her spirit and willpower she is tough and a real sport.
Thanks to all the members for being accommodative to the last moment changes in the plan, for being so cooperative and showing such amazing team spirit and faith on the leader .Mr. Patils’.
The entire days nonstop venture of the Rajgad covering all three machis and balekilla (approx 18 km) left us all exhausted, and at one point we even thought of dropping the idea of trekking Torna but inspite of the tiredness of the tough trail all were set for Torna and we continued.
Our plan was to descend from Rajgad in afternoon and reach base of the Budhalamachi of Torna fort by sunset but exhaustion, sun and tough slippery patches at the beginning of the Rajgad-Torna route reduced our speed and we could only manage to reach a base wadi by 5pm meaning if we now wish to complete the trek we will have to march in dark.
We rested in a farmhouse on the route for sometime where the managers of the farmhouse arranged for our dinner. By 7.30 we finished with the dinner and were again all set for the night trek. But still few of us were not sure about the idea of trekking in the night and discussions were going on whether to rest at the same place at night and start trekking in the morning or go for the night trek. The managers of the farm house and the villagers were all trying to persuade us from the idea of trekking in the night.
They even tried to stop us by describing us how the route is. As per them the route is very confusing even in the day light people get lost, because of monsoon it is covered by dense vegetation, making trekking more difficult, there are patches where there are deep valleys on both the sides and one has to walk on the narrow ridge for long, one wrong step and one would endup in deep valley from where recovering the bodies is also a difficult task. After this discouraging description of the route few of us wished to rethink about our plans but our leader Mr. Patils’ was all set for the night trek and he convinced everybody to march on. We decided that we will try to complete the entire route in night but if we stuck-up at any difficult patch or if at any point if any of us feel it’s too exhaustive and now we need rest we will halt at the same place but instead of giving up the idea we will atleast give it a try.
All agreed and we stared soon to reach a small hut in the middle of the woods where we just looked for someone with whom we can ensure that we are on the right track. But the response of the person over there after knowing that we are heading toward Torna and none of us has done this route before, was more discouraging. The first word that the person said was IMPOSSIBLE. According to him though we then were on the right track the route is tough and misleading owing to the branching at intervals and there are no chances of anyone completing the trek without getting lost in the dense forest and ending up reaching some village at the base by following wrong diversions. Though bit disappointed by this fellow’s response we continued to trek taking the only precious suggestion given by him to stick to the main Paywat and not to follow any left or right branching. We were on the route again with only one thing in mind CHALE CHALO….
This was the wisest thing we did, sometimes ignoring villagers is ok if you are confident enough and ready for accepting failure if you could not do it. After 1.5 hrs of trekking our hero our own leader stared feeling sleepy so we decided to rest for few minutes at a clearing.
It was such a relief after 1.5 hrs of trekking through dense vegetation on a narrow track in the limited light of personal torches, to throw the heavy bags aside and lying down on the ground. We all were tired as we had been trekking since 6am in the morning with hardly any breaks. It was cold and chilly wind was blowing with force. By now the moon was up and had started pouring milky light on the entire surrounding and now though very fade we were able to see mountain ranges at distance. As we had been walking continuously our body was warm and that’s why yet we hadn’t felt the chill. But at this resting point with time as our body cooled down the chilly wind stared taking up charge and then we actually realized how freezy it was.
In the night trek a break at a small clearing, very far from civilization and amidst the woods was an ideal moment for sharing ghost stories followed by a good discussion and sharing of thought about the existence and belief on ghosts. As we spent more time over there people started feeling sleepy and we now decided to halt at a proper place and to continue the rest of the trek in the morning. We got up and started walking thinking that now we don’t have to walk for long just need to find a suitable place for night stay. But as we started walking we soon realized that we are on the ridgy patch and long there won’t be any proper place suitable for stay. But who cared, we again were all set for completing the trek and by now we had formed good coordination, each person helping others with frequent call like watch at the left or right (whichever side is the valley), rock, watch for tree branches ect. We were also rotating the heavy bags so that the leaders don’t have to bare it all the way. We were now confident enough and enjoying the night trek. All were singing, cracking jokes no one appeared exhausted. At places we were walking in plain moonlight switching the torches off. It was one of a kind of experience. All thanks to Mr. Patils'.
Taking mini breaks at times for 5-6 minutes each, finally we reached at the base of Budhala matchi by 12.30am midnight.
Oh we did it.
On top of a hill there was a small clearing just enough to accommodate eight of us and this was the only option we had for the stay. So without wasting time we arranged our bedding and it just took few minutes for us to enter the world of dreams. In the morning when we woke up, it was only then we realized what way we had walked through. It was amazing, on one side there was Torna fort standing still looking at us with pride ( just an imagination) and on the other side, the range of hills starting from Rajgad connecting it to Torna.
Without wasting much time we stared climbing Torna as all of us needed tea and breakfast for which we needed water and it was only available on top of the fort. Soon we reached Torna where we cooked the lunch in the temple. After exploring Torna we stared descending towards Velha the base village from where we were supposed to get the bus for Pune. The hotel manager at Velhe told us the bus is at 6.30 and we had 40 minutes in hand so we decided to halt for poha and tea over there. We reached ST stop at 6.15 and came to know that the hotel manager used business trick giving us wrong time of the bus and the last bus had already departed 5 minutes back. So there was no other option then to take private transportation till highway Nasrapur fata. On the way to highway we decided to save time by opting for the same private sumo which had dropped us at Gunjavane last morning so that we reach Mumbai at descent time. We called him at Nasrapur fata and from there stared our return journey.
Very little has been mentioned over here limited buy time and my skills. Only those who did this trek will know what it was. It was an amazing trek. One of the best treks I had ever been too.
The credit goes to Mr. Patils' and Vikram and yes to all the team members (Abhishek, both the Alen, Joyous, Sharda and me too) for being accommodative, cooperative, showing faith on the leader and displaying amazing team spirit.
Three cheers to All Eight Of Us!!!
By Priti Trekking of the Youngsterz Group