Sandhan Valley an off season trek near Mumbai, for some it can be done in One day, or at a very relax and easy pace as a overnight trek. Sandhan Valley is also commonly referred as the valley of shadows or the valley of suspense. For many of who have already been there know why - but for those who came in late (old jungle saying Phantom comics). Most of the trekking in this valley is in shadows and is full descend with regular ups and down around huge boulders.
We started this trek from Kasara - but for ME it was right after my shift. After office hours I was on the first train to Kasara. The whatsapp group created by Ankit Savla had nominated me as the leader of the day. After reading the message my first thought was "with great power comes great responsibility" (Peter Parker - Spiderman movie). Reached Kasara and we had a smallest introduction. A great relief to know 4 members for the team successfully completed Basic Mountaineering Course (phew). Reached Samrad village after a 2 hour drive by local private jeep.
A short nap before a morning wake up call helped to start a brand new day afresh. Breakfast was the usual with Poha and Tea. As we got ready for the small excursion, there was lots of background work being done - equipment, food, assistance, dry ration, menu etc?
We started out trek at around 08:15 am - what a way to begin with the view of the mighty AMK, Alang, Madan, Kulung, Ratangad was inspiring. Yes I made a promise to scale AMK the most difficult climb in the Sahyadri before this year end. We had not yet entered the valley and there was small prick in my shoe: did try to ignore it however could not for a long time. So I sat down BAU (business as usual) and removed a thorn that was pricing me.
Ledge walking This is an awesome way to begin our trek, Ledge walking if you miss then stamp in the water and your shoes are wet. If are able to keep up and use your toes then you shall be rewarded and be victorious. This initial excitement was a Kick which helps to complete trek to Sandhan Valley. Slowly and steadily we marched together as team clearing the water walk. There is a small section that is filled with water around 15ft. So we removed our shoes and stepped on this cold water walk. Our feet washed ON wards we move and the small fishes in the water clean your feet of the dirt. As we navigated huge boulders there is an amazing view that encompass us. The entire valley seems so different at different angles and at different times. With all the effort required on a full descend trek we wonder what it would be had it been a uphill trek in the Summer of 2015.
Finally we reached out first mark. Rappelling down 40ft approx. Rajesh gave a small demonstration about the basics of Rappelling before the team started to descend down one after the other. Time was precious like any other trek - as now Rajesh was also assisting another group since there did not have the required expertise to Rappel down. Our team continued to move forward clearing the "S" rock slide successfully. Descending slowly we reached a spot where the only way forward if you were tall to wriggle or else crawl though. A little rock climbing is required here say 4 steps and you need to maintain your body weight by hand holds. We decided to take some rest as were already well ahead of time. Thou the participants were requested to carry pack lunch for the day. I am sure there had not anticipated such an activity. "SUPRISE" Had requested the villager from the base village to pack us something to eat like few chapatti and one cooked vegetable. To our surprise this good man had packed exactly 2 chapattis for each one of us and awesome potato and groundnut vegetable. The size o f each roi much be twice the size that we make here in the city of Mumbai. Believe it or not the taste was awesome, the venue was superb and the people who shared this menu were FANTABOLOUS (Fantastic + Marvellous).