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Andharban- A Trek, A Lesson

Nowadays, we are so much fond of adventures. No?  And in monsoons, the treks go popular. A recent trek I had was on 31st July. That was to Andharban with Kayakers. And my first trek where I did not knew fellow trekkers in advance.  We were 41 in the crew.

Initially, it began as any other trek I had been before. Getting up early, joining the group, catching the bus, and all.  But, you know? There’s a fascinating story to it.

‘Andharban’, if I simply break it, Andhar means dark/dense, Ban means Forest.  This dark dense forest renders a perfect blend for a nature enthusiast.  It takes you round the forest, valleys, waterfalls, and some highs and lows. Trust me! Mesmerizing all this, one will never realize the feet have descended 5 -6 hours. And then, you get lost in the spectacular Bhira hydro plant at the base. So, Andharban is like a ‘not-to-miss’ scenic hotspot in the Sahyadri hills. Thanks to Kayakers!

Ok. Now, back to the story. So, rather describing our walk from point A to B. I will tell something that took place that day. So at reaching the base village, with a quick round of introduction, we kicked off. Starting up with plains, we entered the forest, crossing water streams along the way. Again some lush green plains came up in between to rest our feet. Our leads kept a constant check on the crew to ensure no one’s left back or not lost in the fog.

Along the ropes, crossing the streams!

Meanwhile, the downpour was heavy and continuous; no one failed to click pictures. Wearing the jackets, holding umbrellas, drenching to the full, all captured themselves either in the selfies or pictures.

Joy is in the air!

Everything looked great until the last point (that’s where the story begins). We were descending down. The sun was about to set.

So, it was quite an easy one. No? I asked my fellow trekker.

Yes. And we are almost reached, she said sloping down.

We had moved down a bit, and damn could not move further. People had jammed the base. Curious to know, we walked down the slope. There was a small stream.

The torrential downpour had flooded the stream. Gush of water ran in pressure, generating muddy froth, relentlessly. Crossing it seemed difficult. And that raised a big rescue question among everyone standing at the bank. I think there were 3 more groups with 30-35 members in each, summing to around 100. Everyone looked a little scared.

While we were into the talks of releasing out of the nasty situation-

 KAYAKERS, our organizers shouted out.

We sloped down further. What they did was extraordinarily brave and smart.

They got down into the water.  Handholding each other tightly they chained themselves to be a bridge. Soon that happened, another set of people landed into the stream, and the second bridge was up. These live-bridges faced opposite, stood strong, as if they were made up of real concrete, making an aisle in between to get to other end.

KAYAKERS hurry up! They made a shout-out again.

I happened to be third in the queue.

Hold my hand, and walk, said the person at the extreme end of the bridge.

Handholding the person on either side, I put my left foot in the water. The pressure pulled it further down. I screamed out of fear. The moment I put in another foot, I was half drowned. And shrieked again. I grasped the bridge tightly and the water touched till the abdomen (oh yes! the water level had bothered me much).

Don’t shout! People are already panicked so much, said one among the bridge (I think that was Sunil)

Gaining some courage, I waded step-by-step. The live-bridges acted a savior.  And there I was at the other end. Safe and sound.

Apparently, by being selfless, Kayakers had helped other groups as well to come out of it.

An excerpt view while crossing

So, that was a clear evidence of unity and strength.  Not sure what would have been the outcome, if the bridges wouldn’t have been built up, if the Kayakers had just helped only their own crew members.  They did not lose their cool, instead handled it maturely, wisely.

I could relate that to the trekking accidents that hit the newspapers, every monsoon.  Don’t you think, they can be inhibited?  To a certain extent they can be (besides the natural calamities), if one ventures with a right group or experts. Some self-discipline and trekking with caution helps too. Monsoon treks are as beautiful as dangerous. From the story, I could opine that.  And that was my learning (in addition to the fun).

Beyond that, new friends have added to my network now. While I am writing this, I can recall the new faces (Priyanka, Vengatesh, Sunil, Amar, Pratik, Ashlesha, Manmeet…Yes I remember a few)

And one thing to take on a serious note- Never leave your snacks behind in the bus (especially when you have Theplas), that hurts like anything, trust me

And all the colorful jackets had made up the crew.

Cheers!

-Priya Dalvi

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