Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trekking along the track-epilogue

The birds cooed the morning alarm and I was awake from last nights sleep disturbed from time to time by the passing trains which we could here in the temple. Also the flies and other insects had equally contributed in causing disturbance to our sleep. One of them bit my lower lip and it was swollen from one side which I kept chewing throughout the journey.
We were ready now to move to the final destination but rains which abruptly came stopped us from moving out of the temple. But finally we started walking in the rain so that we could reach early. We were back on the tracks now and we got used to walking in the cement beams stepping hard and harder on them.
Along with the trek, also we were busy in photographing the beauty surrounding us. It was about 8:45 when we halted for a cup of tea. All along our journey, we had been watching Dudh Sagar in different angles and now we came to the “Dudh sagar view point” where we stood face to face with it. Adjacent to the view point, there was a small hut for the Railway guards to take rest. We halted there and started preparing the tea. Everything was in powdered form, even milk. You have to be minimized on such travels. Everybody was hungry since we had not done the breakfast. While Nitesh sir prepared the tea, I passed the cakes to everybody around. The tea tested fresh and the rains which showed up while we were having tea made it tastier.
Now it was matter of few meters to reach to Dudhsagar. We passed many people who had come there as tourists. They were shouting, howling and yeah, even drinking. Most of them had come down from Maharashtra. We quietly walked further as these sighting were common in every eco-tourist spot.
Following Parag sir, we took a right diversion from the track and jumped into small streams which lead to another mini waterfall. The nature was at its best colorful display. There was so much to photograph but all my excitement came down when Rohan passed me the camera saying that it ran out of charge. But just watching this sight was nirvana for us. We saw nest of Malabar Whistling Thrush in which young ones were awaiting their mother with some food. This sight was just amazing. After having finished roaming around that place, we marched forward to waterfall. And here it was at last, a mighty waterfall with a gushing sound of water flowing with huge speed and force. The sight was something to be marveled at but the tourists who had come there spoiled the whole scene. Shouting, howling, smoking and whatever! We couldn’t stand there any more so we moved further to wait for the train which would take us back to Collem. I won’t describe the waiting part now because it was three hours long. Waiting for a transport medium is fun when you are out in such treks. I have done it many times; the longest one was of four hours at Karanzol. I can blog about it separately.

The train which came was not a passenger train but it was a goods carrier. We adjusted ourselves into the narrow space on the left engine bogie and it was fun returning back, especially our ears blasted when the train blew the whistle.
This trek was in a sense a teaching experience since this was my first night out camp. It taught me exactly how trekker should be equipped and with what he should be equipped when going out for such treks. All thanks to Parag sir! After we reached Collem, we were off to our busy schedules once again. But if you have such refreshing weekends, it’s worth living those hectic time tables.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Trekking along the track-the prologue!

At about 4:30 we started walking towards Dudhsagar waterfalls from Collem Railway stop. 5 of us along with a Russell’s viper which was to be rescued in the forest began our journey by walking on the railway tracks. I was too excited about this trek because it was an overnight camping which I had not done before. Bypassing railways disturbed the silence of the environment which was otherwise filled with bird songs.

Rain had just whispered through the forest which was the right time to spot Odonates. We spotted Pantala, a migratory specie and Malabar Torrent Dart which is found near the streams. Even the butterflies were in good number and we enjoyed watching them too along with Parag Rangnekar, author of “Butterflies of Goa.” While Omkar and Nitesh sir were busy photographing Forest Glory, Odonate specie, it started raining. So we all had to hide the cameras from getting wet. While it’s raining, nature is at it’s height of beauty, but the bad part of it is we can’t photograph it.

Dudhsagar is approx 12 kms from Collem. It was already 5:30 and was difficult, rather impossible for us to reach there before it’s dark. While stopping to take some rest, we decided to release the viper into the forest. One thing I liked about him is that he never turned aggressive, which is it’s common tendency when disturbed. Rohan and Omkar handled him for a while so that I could manage to get some photographs. The evening was turning dark and the clouds in the sky had made the light condition still poorer for a quality snap so I decided to use the flash. He finally disappeared into the greens without even hissing. A true noble guy!

The bird sightings were also satisfying as a pair of Imperial Pigeon showed up and later entertained us with their song. We also spotted Bronze Drongo perched on a tree; a bit far than 12x optical zoom. Now it was total dark and rains were moderate and the actual fun started. The height of it was walking along the tunnel in the dark with our torches lit. We were yet to reach Sonavale, a village on the way to Dudhsagar which was our destination for a halt at the night.

The signal light perfectly lit the railway track with a combination of red and blue and I was wise enough to capture this scene in the camera. We reached Sonavale and followed the mud slope which ended to the village temple of God Dudhsagar. Parag sir and Nitesh sir went down to a house to ask for the permission to sleep in the temple. The village people were very kind and they even let us to use their Choolah to cook our dinner. We had Maggi Noodles for the dinner, one of the things I hated to eat but had to eat because there was no other choice. Nature trails even teach you life adjustments you see!
Somehow I finished a bowl full of maggi noodles and switched over to bread and jam. The stomach wasn’t full yet, but the mind was overfilled with a sense of joy because this was something new for a city teen like me. The night went long and dark and we were off to sleep. Though the legs were aching, joy of mind didn’t let me feel the pain. All of us were excited over the next day’s plan and the trek was supposed to be more fruitful than what it had been till now. The lights went of and eyes got closed for a new morning.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Timepass blog!

Well it's already 12:15 a.m. and I am still postponig my Linux work session to prepare myself to write some programs on Monday practicals at College Lab. I donno why I more like writing C programs in VI Editor on Unix rather than doing it on Linux terminal. Telnetting is fun.
The "Birds and More" exhibition was put up at Chowgule College. Response was not that good but well. Umaji Chowgule visited it and was very impressed. Also, Mr.Vishram Gupte, the co-ordinator of Sangat, NGO working in te field of psychological counselling who won an international award for their work too visited the exhibition. Well, that's all for tonigh(midnight) and finally I have decided to cncel my Linux session and now I shall go to sleep as tommorow I will be visiting Payatalee again.