Trekking the highest point in Maharashtra during the peak of summer – Aye or Nay?
On Thursday evening, Raj and I (both jobless) were planning to go for a trek the coming weekend. The whole planning got us so pumped up that we thought why not just leave right away? We did.
Why Kalsubai? Aside from being the highest point, the main reason we zeroed down on this was because it’s one of the darkest spots in Maharashtra. We were hoping to catch a clear view of The Milky Way in the summer sky.
Packing: I geared up my backpack with a tent, few protein bars, a stash of Electral powder and ORS tetrapacks and obviously – a can of monster. Raj was carrying food stock: 4 packets of Wai Wai noodles, dry snacks (chips and biscuits) and the heaviest – water.
Summer was at it’s maximum so there wasn’t going to be any water available up on the summit so we loaded up 8 bottles each from the village Goti.
To Kalsubai: The last local from CST leaves at 00:10 and reaches Kasara at 03:00. There are local jeeps from Kasara to Goti available for hire all round the week at mere 50 bucks per person. The 1 hour jeep ride was smooth enough to catch a nap. Little did we know, that was going to be the last bit of rest we’re getting for a while because the next ride was the dreadful local ST bus to Baari – the base village of the summit.
Local ST Bus – The Roller-coaster ride :
The cozy jeep ride had still left us a bit groggy and we were hoping to catch up on some more sleep in the bus – completely unknown to the crazy ass-whopping that we were about to get in there. These bus drivers are ex-NASCAR racers with a death wish who felt they should be off-roading with bigger vehicles instead. They’re completely oblivious to the existence of speed-breakers or potholes and having to apply breaks is an insult to their love for extreme sport. We got thrown left and right from our seats, had our head bang the roof, witnessed almost collisions with oncoming traffic at the speed of 100kmph on the somewhat present roads that lead to Bari. And all this fun for just Rs. 25. It’s a life experience – you should do it once in your lifetime.
Pumping with adrenaline by end of the bus journey, we decided to start the climb right away without any rest.
The Climb Begins
It’s always a good idea to start the trek as early as possible – specially in summer. We had to cover as much height as possible before the sun reached it’s shining glory. About 60% of the mountain was scaled within 1 and half hour and we took a short pee-water-snack break for 10 minutes. Just few steps after the break we spotted this glorious tree which was tailor-made to become our campsite for the day – might as well pitch here and retire for the day.
Most of our treks are done under sleep-deprived conditions because of such night-owls that we are. But this one was going to be a different. We slept like babies for 7 hours straight while Biscuit guarded the gates of the tent fortress.
Woke up by 16:00, the sun was getting softer, our bodies had recovered and still had enough water to start a civilization. What a joy! March forth in full speed.
The most memorable feature of the Kalsubai peak is the extremely strong wind currents – strong enough to push the hefty Raj with his huge luggage off his balance. We literally had difficulty standing straight. We gobbled up some bread and butter while chilling on the edge of the cliff and went off to seek for our new campsite.
Found a nice open space a little below the summit, collected some wood for the fire and cook, pitched the tent and did the usual camping stuff before it got dark.
Cooked some Wai Wai noodles, arranged our sleeping bags and passed the time trying out light painting and listening to music.
And finally, the primary reason we went camping here – The Milky Way. Yes, we did get a sky full of stars but not the main guy. Not until very early in the morning due to the cloudy weather. This was the best I could capture:
Biscuit spent entire night with us, he was the Night’s Watch.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our experience. Do share your feedback in the comments below. Would love to answer any queries you have about camping, trekking and how to not die while on a ST Bus.