1 day down, 2 days to go. We survived through the night that was filled with menacing snores and haunting experiences of Amrita. Day 2 was going to be outrightly exhausting and we were favorably inclined towards facing whatever waited ahead.
Having mentioned about our Day 1 journey from Mumbai to Ratangad in my previous post, let’s move on to Day 2.
Day 2: Breakfast – Descent Ratangad via Ganesh Darwaza – Katrabai Pass – Kumshet – Lunch – Pethechiwadi – Pachnai – Dinner – Stay Over at Pachnai
Wake up call at 5:00 AM. I took the liberty of stealing a little more sleep by burying myself inside my sleeping bag. After a while, I kind of sleep walked out of the cave only to be taken aback for a moment. The view of the valley and morning sky from caves was simply impeccable. Layers of clouds floating parallel on my left, the sun rising from beyond the peaks on my right, the sky painted with assorted hues. It felt like magic, like being time traveled to a different world altogether, so pure and serene.
This Left Me Awestruck
Sky Painted just Before Sunrise
The First Rays
Rise And Shine Mighty Sun
Started off for descent from Ratangad via Ganesh Darwaza after breakfast and tea. This route has ladders installed but one cannot take them for granted. Negotiating my steps, I finally made it to the bottom of the 3rd ladder not before compelling Kiran to click my pictures while descending.
The Ganesh Darwaza
We Start Our Day
The Ladder Way
No Shying Away From Pictures
Next leg of the descent was through the forest till we come across a bifurcation where the trail on our left led to Ratanwadi (base village of Ratangad) and the one on our right led to Harishchandragad via Katrabai. We headed right. Towards Katrabai Pass.
Headed Towards Katrabai
Katrabai mountain pass, at an elevation on 4300 ft above MSL is considered to be an important pass on Trans Sahyadri Trek. This pass acts as the passage between Ratangad and Harishchandragad.
The day was clear with sun shining but we could hardly feel the heat as most of the trail was through forest that barred sufficient sunlight from entering inside. We had our first break by a small stream, filled water as this was the last place where we could get clean drinking water. The highlight of next part of the trail till 2ndstop-over was antakshari on nursery rhymes.
2nd stopover was at a clearing in the forest after which the ascent was going to be quite steep with absolute rocky terrain. We had our snack break here. This place was the dwelling place of copious crabs, tiny to small to big to large. Within few minutes through our resting time, we were surrounded by millions of crabs. It seemed as if we had invaded their fort and the army was ever ready to attack and trounce their enemies.
The Snack Break
Trying our level best not to crush any crab, we completed the ascent quickly. Had much needed lemon water – lemon sugar break at the top of the pass. We would start our descent from this point till Kumshet with no breaks. Long descent. There were quite a few falls during this descent including me. (wink wink). Quechua betrayed Radha during this descent and her shoes gave up on her. It was hard time but she still managed to reach Kumshet.
Lemon Water- Lemon Sugar Break
The walk towards Kumshet was through the paddy fields and Sonki beds. How could we miss the opportunity of being clicked with surroundings so mesmeric?
Where Do We Look
We Are All Lost Stars
We were supposed to have our lunch at Kumshet but our local guide, Bhaskar dada informed that the lunch was arranged by the bank of Mula River. We started off towards Mula river and walked as fast as we could since every one suffered from severe hunger pangs.
Bhaskar Dada Followed By Assistant
Amrita and I started discussing about the delicacies from all over India – ” Purani Dilli ki Chaat and Parathe waali gali”, “Secunderabad ki Biryani and Nihari”, “Orissa ka Chena Poda” including our favourite, the mouth watering “Kolkata’s Nolen Gurer Roshogolla” (Rasgullas made with date palm jaggery). We became the subject of reprimand of others in the team who were already starving and our discussion on food elevated their hunger. Who cares? We shamelessly kept on coming up with food topic every now and then.
We are tooo Cute
Ammu Ka Gaana…Humara Beech Me Aana
Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge
It started drizzling the moment we reached the bank of Mula river. Well, the rains vanished within few minutes. While Bhaskar dada made arrangements for lunch, everyone decided to take a dip in the river.
The Role Play
The lunch comprised of staple Maharashtrian meal of bhakri, pitla, rice, plain dal with mango pickle. Yum.
Satiating The Hunger
We Care and We Share
She followed us From Samrad To Pethechiwadi- Our Lady guide
Lunch followed by walk towards Pethechiwadi. From Pethechiwadi, we were to reach Pachnai in pre-booked vehicles.
Waiting Time- Pethechiwadi
Our Angel waits With Us
Our plan was to ascent Harishchandragad (HCG) by 7:30 PM and camp on Konkankada. However, as they say, nature always has the final say. It rained heavily with thunderstorms that evening before we reached Pachnai. Hence, the plan to ascent HCG was abandoned for the day.
Stay over at Bhaskar dada’s place. After a prolonged session of antakshari, followed by dinner everyone retired to bed (sleeping bags to be precise). The wake-up call next morning was decided to be at 4:30 AM.
Antakshari Session at Bhaskar Dada’s Place
The account on Final day – Harishchandragad Trek coming soon.
**Click on pictures for better resolution
Picture Credits- Kiran, Shirish and Dipanwita
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