It is nearly four years since few of the regulars in the first batch of the Ponda swimming pool formed a group and called themselves ‘early birds’. These birds, at least a few of them, meet every day in the pool. They swim, exchange news and views, gossip, pull each other’s legs (sometimes literally) and depart. Once in a way they meet outside the pool to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries and skip swimming the next day because of hangover. And at least once every year, they embark up on a trek cum swim programme which is a sort of a fitness test. It assures them that they can enjoy the next few birthdays with a free mind.
It was one such trek to the Mainapi waterfalls near a village called Netravali, last week. Netravali is about sixty kilometers from Ponda and the road ends there. We do have an asphalted track, with traces of asphalt seen on the surface, for another seven kilometers but I do not call it a road. The next seven kilometers is only a dirt track. The Mainapi falls is about four kilometers from the end of this ‘motorable’ dirt track. We parked our Omni at the end of the track and started our trek.
|Stopping for a cup of tea at the last tea shop on the road|
|Piped water noticed at the place we parked our Omni. Notice the absence of the tap. Running water 24 hours! Paradise? excess flows onto the fields.|
|The trek begins.Good weather, shady track. Easy going.|
|Squeezing through thick vegetation. Good that we were unaware of the presence of king cobras in the area.|
|Coming out onto a open space and a beautiful view of the hills.|
|Another stretch with overgrown branches. Duck and avoid getting poked in the face.|
|After walking a considerable distance with a feeling that you have reached the middle of a forest,|
|You notice a Bolero which some people with more sense have used to reach the spot, using a different track.|
|The descent to the falls begins. Loose soil. The branches are handy but some have thorns on them.|
|track gets tough|
|and you reach the exhilarating falls. Enjoy your bath, shower, swim and lunch.|
|Start back and realise that coming down was the easier part.|
|Walking along determined to complete the trek. But sitting and lying down every now and then.|
Some legs are still paining, two backs are still strained and one lung is down with cold. But all souls are satisfied and happy with the trek.