Highlanders: The Great Emerson Karnala Trek
Starring: Ankesh, J Seshadri, Vinod, Tamilarasan Ramasamy, Smruti, Abhishek and Nalakumar
Date: 26th July 2008,
Place: Karnala Bird Sanctuary (15 k.m. from Panvel, New Mumbai)
This was hell out of adventure I had ever been into. Karnala trip was important to all of us as this is being planned since 2005 but some jinx was always there who never made it possible. But this year we all were determined for it and what date we all selected ….. The 26th July … which no mumbaites will ever forget. Nonetheless we finalized and geared up for the great Emerson trek comprising My Self, TR, Somu, Abhishek, Nala, Vinod and Seshadri.
As planned we all gathered at Emerson Thane HO at 6 morning…. (except Sesh who is always late). We started our trip in two cars at 6.30 from Mulund after picking sesh and reached Khopoli McDonalds drive way at 0715 hrs morning where we had breakfast with cheese burgers and French fries. Then we moved on in heavily rainy Saturday morning of 26th July and reached Karnala Base at 0745 hrs. Finally parked the cars and started the trek, geared up with very few stuff like wind cheaters, waters, few biscuits and Vinod’s twelve years old umbrella; we started our journey by following first trail we noticed in our way.
We moved ahead around 3-4 k.m. with jokes funs and seeing a lot of wild crabs in our way and finally stopped at plane area observing we are just walking and not climbing towards a thumbs up shaped hill. So we decided to break the trails and get into the woods and follow streams upside to catch the hill. It was great fun and adventure about getting into the woods without any trail and discovering the stream and then climbing up against the stream with slippery rocks and just targeting upwards. It was filled with obstacles but our team spirit and togetherness made us move more ahead and be more adventurous without any consideration about how we are going to get back. While climbing up towards stream for nearly couple of hours by taking small breaks we reached a point where going beyond without any accessories was going to be dangerous. That’s the highest point we gone and I am glad that it was me who reached there J ….. But it was scary coz even to get 20 m. down from that hill was challenging for me coz rock was so slippery… any bad slips can put you in endless valley full with hard rocks.
Now it was 12 noon and we decided to get back, but wondering whether to follow stream downwards or check for another way. We realized that climbing up through the stream was much easier than going down as it was too steep and dangerous. So we decided change the way and move towards right hand side coz that was the direction we came from. The woods were too dense to make way but we tried to find our ways towards the direction from where we came from. Going forward we found another stream and we realized we can’t go ahead through woods because of rocky steep valleys so decided to follow second stream down. When we moved ahead in this water stream downwards we realized its impossible to follow more as we discovered huge water fall there which can’t be followed down. We all gathered and decided to go back from where we started (that highest point) and find our way back as we came up. This was time I was taking lead to go back followed by Nala and entire team. I slipped and moved ahead and found the previous stream. When I looked back I couldn’t see anybody there. I screamed for them but got no response. I thought they were following me and will come in few minutes so waited for 5-10 minutes and decided to move ahead down the stream with a hope that I may encounter them when I cross small hill adjacent to my way down the stream. The stream downwards was quite slippery and I fell two times but thank god did not get hurt. After around 20 minute getting down I suddenly saw the team and felt so relieved. We all followed the stream to reach the point from where we started climbing but we realized that we don’t know from where we started as we were busy joking and had no idea about it.
When we gone so down the stream when stream itself is being divided into two parts we realized that we are completely lost. Now we don’t know what to do and decided to move towards the direction from where we thought we started. TR was the leader and he was pointing out the way and when we moved further we heard vehicle honking and a white old building which made us believe that we may be at right direction. It was 1’o clock and none of us were sure that we are in right direction to go back. We all had the feeling that we are lost with hardly any food, no network, and no idea about where we are heading except few wild guesses and imaginary analytical ideas towards our way out, but none of us were very confident about our thoughts of right direction. Finally we all decided to let’s move towards the direction from traffic noise is coming and it was so dam dense woods and suddenly reached another steep valley. Now none of us were joking and we kind of started getting a bit of scary feeling that this is not funny anymore and we are stuck. The best thing was we all were together and we decided to follow another water stream which was going down as that was the only possible way looked to go down the hill. TR asked me to take a lead and I stared the stream which was quite comfortable to go down except few blocks of woods and cactus plants and very slippery rocks. After moving for half an hour downside I stopped as I realized that there was a trail towards woods. We all gathered and tried moving inside the dense forest following trail. The trail was filled with lemon trees and some plants with sharp thorns and cob webs. But we had no choice and we moved ahead.
We saw fencing adjacent to our way which made us realized that we are close to civilization and we had put all our energy to just move ahead and with-in 15 minutes we saw plane area and whooooppppy… the national highway. We all had a great smile and sense of relaxation at our face. It made us felt as if we achieved something great of our own and we all are so proud of our self. In no time we hit the highway and started moving ahead for about 2 k.m. to our cars at the base.
After The Trek
Well the story is not over yet. We just arrived at our cars, fully wet, drenched and tired and the last thing what I expected that my car’s electronic key was not working as it was fully drenched in rain water. The moment I used my Key and opened the car, the thief alarm started and it disabled the engine. Sometimes I hate this automatic and modern stuff. Now with all effort we reached at the base to go back and my car was not getting started. With a lot of trial and error I gave up and went to a garage in TR’s car which was 4 km. from Karnala for a mechanic. Pappu Bhai was the name, a mechanic from Lucknow who was working in that highway for last 8 years. In 15 min. he got it fixed and we started coming back to home. We all were hungry and decided to stop in some good place for lunch and couple of drinks. We drove towards Panvel and stopped for good long lunch. We really had great lunch along with great trekking discussion and also discussion certain social issues. My adventure was not over yet coz while going back we saw a huge traffic jam with 100s of trucks near Panvel. It was not a day for my car and it was being hit from behind by a truck and I couldn’t do much rather than feel sad about my car.
With so much of eventful happening we reached Mulund at 7 p.m. and just crashed into our home to relax after so much of tiring day.
In the whole it was great un-planned, un-predictable and really an adventurous trek with so many things happened. This was one of the memories which none of us will ever forget and we will always talk about it. This shown our team work, courage and our friendship with each other. Since each trekking is an experience and we came to know about what all we should plan and carry for next trekking and we definitely looking forward for next one.
Please respond to this blog and share your any experience you have had from any adventurous trip.
- Ankesh Singh
For more pictures visit: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/ankesh.kumar/KarnalaTrek