Sunday, August 17, 2014

Trek To Virdi Falls

I do not know what made my swimming group, ‘The Early Birds’, decide up on a trek, soon after the white water rafting trip. As I have mentioned earlier they usually need one or two outings somewhere dim and cool to rehydrate and regain energy. But sometimes they are unpredictable. I received a message saying that we have decided to go on a trek to the Virdi falls, near Virdi village, a drive of about an hour and a half from Ponda. From the village the falls is anywhere between one and a half to two and a half hours by walk, depending up on how many times you lose your way.  We lost our way twice, and managed to reach the falls in two and a half hours in spite of our navigator’s best efforts to make us go round and round in the forest crossing and re crossing the stream.

To reach Virdi village (for those interested in doing so) you turn left at Keri just after the Sattari bazaar and go for another 8-10 kilometers, asking directions from whoever you find on the way. You may park your vehicle in front of the temple at the end of the asphalted road and start walking next to the stream. It is advisable to snatch a stout stick from the fire wood stack in front of one of the houses on the way. You may return the stick after the trek. The track actually is the path taken by the excess water when the stream overflows. Assuming that you enjoy walking through clear water, sludge, thorny overgrowth and slippery rocks you will have an enjoyable trek amidst lush greenery. All of us have at least one cut/bruise on the body to prove our treking but, for you, my dear arm chair trekker, I have made it easy. Just follow the pictures and you reach the falls.

Enjoy the lush greenery of the Sahyadri range, dense vegetation and the clear streams without bothering about slipping and breaking a bone, stepping on a snake (king cobras like the place too) or a sudden down pour which may raise the water level in the stream by a foot or two and increase the force manifolds. There are a minimum of three crossings. You may cross it four or five times if the path you expected on the left bank is actually on the right.  After reaching the falls on this post, if you feel like making it on your own feet - I am here to guide you just as our guide guided us. 

Shifting the weight to the legs and getting ready
Marching on the main street - Virdi village
The trek begins through the stream - just ankle deep, easy. 
Out of the stream - on to the jungle path
Enjoy the jungle
Pose for  a picture- smiling - and not knowing what is in store
Reach the stream again. The navigator feels that we have to cross here. But he is not sure. Go ahead anyway and check how 'easy' it is to cross what looks like just knee deep water. 
Crossed the stream. Now duck if you don't like scratches on your face and keep going. And be on the look out for the path.
Where is the damn path? I swear it was here two years ago. Did the stream shift its course? Let us go back and check on the other side.

But the other side seems to be worse. And slippery. But let us keep going. You follow the stream, you have to find the falls. common sense.

Eureka, there is a path here! Not much of a path,
But the falls is visible from here! Forward march!
But watch your step. One wrong step and there may not be any more marching!
A slippery boulder to step on and an even more slippery boulder to support yourself when you slip. This is where I earned my bruises.
The falls at last.

Time to forget the thorny shrubbery, slippery boulders, squishy paths and enjoy the invigorating splash!
The return is simpler. We know where and how to cross and even have time and mood to sit, relax and enjoy the surroundings
Enjoy not just the surroundings but a tasty sandwich in the beautiful surroundings.
And then it is just another hour's walk and you are back in your dirty civilisation!

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