It’s 10:30 pm on the clock and dad had just dropped me at the Kalanagar bus stop for the Naneghat rappelling trip. Just then I met Mr. Govind Pandit who was there for last years Malshej Camp too. I was all excited and set for my first adventure camp of the year and the fifth, with Camp Fire India. The green bus with Mahalaxshmi travels written on it arrived at 10:45 pm and I saw Deepa Kolwalkar waving out to me from the first seat! I met her at last years Malshej too and had my return journey with her. I picked the third seat and I greeted my fellow rappellers. The bus moved and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Soon Sion arrived and another few hopped in, including Jayant sir, our camp coordinator. After a little conversation with him, I didnt even realise when i dozed off.
“Harshad sir, lets begin the trek!” I heard my voice. It had begun to pour and the dark grey clouds took over sky. I was charged for the midnight trek. It was 1 am when we begun. there were about 50 of us with 5 instructors from Mumbai and Pune both. We crossed a lil’ stream and my shoes were heavy, soaked in water right after. A chill ran through me as i went further. The rain got heavier. As soon as we reached up, we could see the light from the cave. We got in at about 4 am, changed and drank hot tea. A short nap took away our time until about 7am and then we got ready to rappel. While I was climbing up the pinnacle, the wind was trying hard to blow me away. But thanks to Jayesh sir, he pulled me up each and every time! The clouds were still there, taken over the beautiful scenery of mountains and lakes which was relaxing and refreshing to me. My chance was waiting for me and I began to rappel the 300 ft.
It was tough going down and putting my weight in the beginning.. but then it got simpler. As soon as i covered half of it, I could see clouds everywhere. I looked up and there were clouds. I looked down there they were too. I rappelled down and celebrated! But this wasn’t it. The scariest thing was yet to come – the traverse. That was when one was going back to the cave. You had to walk back and you were like at the edge of the mountain. It was like what if one moment your leg slips and you fall off the hill? With CFI you were secure with the snap. A snap is a carabiner attaching you through the harness with the rope. We had a nice yummy lunch at the cave and left for Mumbai. I reached home, happier than ever and the smile had taken over my face.
The bus came to a halt and I woke up with a start. I was watching the nostalgic movie of 2007 Naneghat rappelling camp playing through my mind and that’s what my near future was going to be like. I picked up my sack as Jayant sir called me and we started trekking up with our torches at 3.00 am. The stars were shining bright and the clouds weren’t there to cover the sky, the rain wasn’t there for passing the chill pills nor my shoes were wet as I was wearing my floaters, this time! We trekked up with a few breaks and finally reached the cave early in the morning at 6 o’ clock in daylight! A warm welcome from arun sir erased my fatigue and I went off for a short nap. I woke up fresh by about 7am as my usual alarm rang and had a good hot cup of tea. Breakfast was of yummy pohe. We started to climb up the pinnacle and I did valley crossing as soon as I got the call.
Valley crossing was fun, not at all scary but awesome! The valley below was all so green and wow! After a some photography I began climbing the pinnacle again for rappelling. Yeah! It was just like last year! This time there weren’t any clouds so I knew exactly how high I was. But as I looked below I saw that I was high above the other mountains, lakes and villages. It freaked me out a bit as it struck me but all was thankfully fine. I went ahead rappelling and that’s what I was there for. Jayant sir, swapnil sir and other instructors offered me water and chocolates once I reached down. I sat there for a while and the view below was beautiful. Later after 4 of us gathered there, we began to go back to our cave via the the traverse again. We cleared them and filled our stomach with mouth watering lunch at the cave. After a while we left for Mumbai via Malshej with never ending memories and waiting for history to repeat again.
Next, I’m off to Malshej 1200 ft for Waterfall Rappelling with Camp Fire India just as the weekend last year.