Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dudhsagar - Part 1

I've put it off long enough, so let me post a bit about my Goan trek. I wanted to do it in chronological orderm starting from day 0, which was the day I left, but it turned out just like my study time-tables : a grand idea but one which will never be realized. By me, at least. So I decided to do it in the order of the camps I liked. But who knows, the order might change any time :)

It seems customary to begin with a quote, so I'll quote a friend, “Very soon, we’ll be back to our routines. All this will become a memory. And then, it’ll start to feel like a dream.”(I asked the friend if I could quote him, what I got in response was an invitation to visit him when I was in Mumbai :) And that I take to mean that I can quote him. And oh, I shall be quoting him again!)

Anyway, back to the narrative...

We woke up quite early, and after a breakfast (of Pav bhaji, if I remember right) & packed lunch (chapati with cabbage-gobi!), we set off on a brisk walk of 20 minutes on the beach, and then 10 minutes on the road. We finally reached Cansaulim station, and then realized we still had some time to wait before the train to take us to Collem was to arrive. 
I used that time to get myself some biscuits for the train journey. (It was a couple of hours long, so naturally I needed refreshments :P)

 Some of the waiting time, or much of it, actually, I spent walking round and round the platform. And pausing now and then to admire this tree:

The train arrived at last. There were two tracks, and when our train finally arrived, it was on the track further from from the platform. The halt was only for about a minute, so down we jumped from the platform onto the track and climbed in. That was when I felt that the rock climbing we'd tried at the base camp was finally being put to some use.

I spent much of the journey standing near the door - I could not sit still for longer than a couple of minutes at a time. We finally got down at the station, and by the time the group was assembled and the subgroups re-formed, I'd spied a tea-stall, and I did savour a cup of tea as I caught up with my friends who'd gone on ahead.

And then we took a short walk around and re-bought some necessities we'd bought and left behind at the base camp (thanks in no little extent to the whistleblower, err, the guy who kept blowing a whistle and trying to get us to hurry up, as if the world was about to come to an end!). After a bit of just lazing around, we set out for our destination of the day, Dudhsagar camp. (I'd seen the waterfalls from the train, and the camp was 2 kms before the falls.)

We reached the entrance to the "Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary". As we waited to get our tickets to go in, we spotted some wildlife :

We continued on our way, and then we realized we had to cross six streams. Each time we had to remove our shoes and socks, wade through the water and put them on again at the other end. We had to walk through some slippery rocks in the water.

Along the way, we met another group who were on their way to the next camp. We also met someone from another group, who told us we were on the wrong path. That, despite the fact that we were following the marked indications. 
After slipping a couple of times, being rescued and helped by friends (and getting instructions on how to proceed, where to put my foot and how and suchlike), we marched on. When we stopped along the way for a break, someone left behind a plastic bag with the remnants of their meal. I asked around, but nobody claimed it as theirs. (Things belong to people till they become trash, when people just throw them and leave. More on this theme later.) So, I decided to throw it in the dustbin at the camp. I felt bad that someone could just leave a place after throwing rubbish. Moreover, it was such a beautiful place that it did not deserve to be defiled in this way. I asked a couple of friends if they had a spare cover, but they didn't. In the end, I got some newspaper, wrapped the plastic bag in it and put it in my bag for proper disposal. A couple of people tried to detract me. They even asked me to leave it behind where I'd found it. Or just throw it somewhere else along the way, out of sight. But I refused. In fact, one of those was our group's so-called "Environment Leader". I told him that it was his duty to keep the place clean, or at least let me do my bit if he found touching a trashed bag so disgusting. With the result that he offered to carry the bag for me :) And since then they put their chocolate wrappers in their pockets or bags :)

We finally reached the camp. What a sight it was! I fell in love with the cool water flowing from a pipe, taken from the stream (or was it a river? I think I can differentiate between a well and an ocean, the remaining water bodies fall somewhere in between). (I think I drank a lot of water just to enjoy the way it felt and tasted)

Talk of camps, can talk of camp-leaders be far behind? One of the best things about the camp was the camp-leader. He was certainly good-looking, but that's beside the point. (I did speak a couple of lines to him, which is the height of conversation given my reluctance to speak, leave alone initiating a conversation). Something he said still remains in my head - it was music to my ears. He said that he wouldn't be using a whistle to call us, and expected us to co-operate with him. And that as we continued our trek, we would not create unnecessary noise. He said that he appreciated silence. A clincher if there was one :)

(There was a haystack behind one of the tents, which was also one thing I spoke to the CL about :P )

Plus, we heard that the solitary guy who'd told us we were on the wrong route was actually lost, and had been separated from his group.

To be continued...

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