Bit of a backgrounder on the trek. This was organised by the Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) who do some really commendable work in organising treks and guiding people across wilderness terrains at astoundingly low costs. YHAI has treks all over the country and they keep adding routes as they go. There is a desert trek in Rajasthan that sounds daunting and a beach trek in Goa that beckons like a siren.
This trek in the Sahyadris took us from Karjat to Lonavala, through Kondana, Rajmarchi, Shirota lake, Karle, Bhaje and Lohgad. Landscape: hills, scrub, lakes, tanks, caves and forts.
Trekking is addictive; most people can never stop with one and soon you’re needing to trek as often as three times a year. While you’re struggling up steep ascents, fighting to get air into your lungs, valiantly trying to match pace with the merciless person in front of you, you begin to question the sanity of people who’d leave behind reasonably comfortable lives to kill themselves on a mountain. But then, pain leaves no memory, and what remains is exultation. I don’t know why, but it stays – a nice, enduring high. That, and images that change you forever. Even if you’re encased in concrete for a long time after that, blue skies stay with you.