Karnala trek was totally different from normal treks, because there were rock-climbing & rappelling included on the thumb of Karnala. This was arranged by Yuva trekkers panvel & our friend Nilesh Kolte invited all of us to join them.
Firstly, let me thank Nilesh for inviting us & giving us one of the most thrilling experiences we had in recent times. All his group members who had taken care of our safety measures & relaxed us to enjoy one of the best experience of my life. I had done small rock-climbing in the past but not high as thumb of Karnala. It is nearly 200ft..Don’t know the exact figure. So it really excited me.
Trek was started from Dombivali where we caught the bus towards Panvel to join Nilesh & his group. Gaurav, Prajakta, Kaustubh, Harshad, Kedar, Sonali, Gaytri, Bhakti... & many other including me were part of this trek. We were 16 and as usual our bus journey was full of Hindi and Marathi songs & this time we had new face 'Kaustubh' who sings so nicely! And so many new songs with great voice & it's really a great enjoyment for all of us.
When we reached Panvel depot, three other member : puneri- punekar & his 2 friends ( I forgot their names) joined us. Then we reached the Karnala base & enjoyed the special wada-pav given by Niranjan & Gaurav; which really kept us going. We started our trek towards the thumb of Karnala. It was nearly 2 hrs from base camp of Karnala. We had lunch there as our number for climbing was much behind as two other groups were already in queue in front of us.
At around 2.30 pm we started our actual rock-climbing. But it was badly hit by forest fire. Whole grass around the thumb was burning & we had to run everywhere to save our bags & make sure that fire doesn't reach base camp. Lot of efforts we made to extinguish fire by pouring water from the tank & hitting the fire with sticks & removing the grass in between to make break in the line. But the intensity of fire was so high that we can't extinguish it fully. It keep burning......& burning. We just managed to save the base camp & make sure the smoke don't excite the honeybees because if it would have happened we would have to stop our trek there it self & it was dangerous for those who were in the middle of the expedition. For almost one and the half hours all members of Yuva trek & KshitiZ group members were doing their best to extinguish fire, so till that time our climbing & rappelling was totally stopped. Thanks to member of Yuva trekkers, even in such a adverse condition they agreed to go-ahead with expedition & I m really thankful to them & salute their efforts to complete this trek.
After all this 2 hours fire extinguishing, we started our rock-climbing one by one & rappelling. It was just great experience!! I can't explain in the words…... The Yuva members guided us a lot : how to go on the rock? How one should balanced himself/herself on the rock? how one should transfer our weight? What care must be taken? What are the equipments used in rock-climbing? How one must rappel in different condition? It was so comfortable, that we hardly feel any tension & fear about all this. Especially all the girls were so comfortable & they enjoy like anything. Whole credit goes to Nilesh & his group.
While doing rappelling, me on one rope & Harshad on the another rope; there happened a hugh rock sliding!! It was the most dangerous situation because we couldn’t do anything at that time as we were in the middle of route. Harshad did great thing by keeping himself just outside the fall but small part of the rock just touched & hit to his head. But it was part of the expedition & such experiences teach us why one should follow all the instructions given by experts. It was not Harshad’s mistake but one should be prepared for such situation while doing such thrilling experience. He was fine & really excited after completion. When we reach on top it was great experience… we were feeling like we are at the top of the world.....!!
Return journey was another great experience as we did night trekking as we are well behind schedule because of that fire. Thanks to project back up battery otherwise it would have been very difficult for all of us to trek in the dark as no one was prepared for that.
We reached down at around 8.30pm & started our return journey.
It was great experience of rock-climbing & rappelling and also the night trekking. This trek taught me many things like why one should follow expert’s advice? What care should be taken in rock climbing? What are the instruments used in it? Why we should carry battery & other emergency goods with us? There are many things I learned …these are some of them. It attracted me to do such expedition in near future & it's not only me but all of us wanted to do again in near future. The experience & satisfaction is beyond the words. Thanks to Nilesh & his group for supporting us & making this trek one of the best trek I have ever done.
Thanks to KshitiZ Parivar for great work they have done to extinguish the fire. Everyone did their best. This shows the unity & principle of this group which make us more proud & different from all others.
Hats of to u all who being part of this great event & their contribution also congrats they did great job by climbing & rappelling the thumb of Karnala........
Jai Bhavani Jay shivaji.....