New Years eve at Naneghat!
Having just returned post my birthday celebration off a private beach at Gokarna, it was almost time for New Years eve and I had nothing lined up. I knew that it had to be in and around Mumbai considering that I would be flying to Northern Thailand for an exhilarating cross country ride through some of the most spectacular roads that Northern Thailand would offer. My shenanigans for the Thai trip were Trilok & Gururaj and I instinctively thought to make plans with them. Guru was preoccupied with his weekend tutor job while Trilok sparked an idea of camping than the partying on NYE. boy o boy that sounded exciting as it involved camping at one of the most magnificent peaks in Maharastra, The mighty Naneghat!
Trilok and I started jotting down our plans and eventually he suggested that we go along with his roomies and other friends to Naneghat. Considering that this was part of my 'yet to visit places', I spontaneously said yes!
Trilok suggested that I reach Mumbai from Bangalore on the Morning of 30th and next day by noon, we leave for Naneghat covering Malshej. All was well with this plan except for the fact that my Kawasaki Versys a.k.a The Green Lantern had suffered a blow to the rear suspension during my ride to Lonar Lake and the replacement suspension hadn't yet arrived. Kawasaki guys stated about 2 weeks to replace the part considering it was under warranty and they had to follow thorough procedures before they could approve it and all this meant that Green Lantern was still at the service center(SVC) on the 30th, the day that I was supposed to be at Mumbai!
On 30th, I receive a call from the service center guys stating that part would be at the SVC and it would be set up in couple of hours. Considering this, I load the frogman dirtsack saddlebags with all that was required for this and the Thai trip. I thought if I can get the part replaced by noon, I still would be able to ride today and then reach Mumbai late night which would be somewhat perfect as I would beat the city's traffic but this was being too ambitious as the courier guy who was to deliver the part had not even reached the SVC at 11 am - Yes, Murphy's law in action! With plans my plan of riding to Mumbai now almost cancelled, I decided to wait and get the 4th service completed along with the part replacement and then meet other friends at Bangalore and spend the afternoon with them.
By 3ish, I was told that Green Lantern is now ready and I took off to Bangalore Brew works where I met my friends and spent the afternoon with them . Post that I mounted the saddles and was all set for the ride but Murphy's law had its second spell!!!
My plans was to sleep by 10 pm and then start as early as 3 or 4 am but I receive a call from a friend around 8 pm, whom I was supposed to meet for an hour but as always you just build on the conversations and eventually ignore time. We were done by 2:30 am and this again meant that the ride plan of 4 am had to be dropped as lack of sleep would ruin the whole ride and of course the travel time. I now decide to leave by 8 am and reach Naneghat directly by max 8 pm instead of going to Mumbai and then join Trilok and others.
The Day of The ride
I was about to start as planned but again house chores delayed me by an hour and a half almost! finally with frustration setting in, I found myself enroute Naneghat. The white topping initiative plagued by traffic meant that i could only manage about 34 kms in first hour and by around 11, I managed to cross the outskirts of Bangalore(Nelamangala). Then on, I could manage an average speed of 100 -110 KMPH and was somewhat able to make up for the lost time. After crunching around 330 kms, it was time for the first fuel stop considering the fuel gauge indicator was on the last level(not into reserve mode yet).
Post the brief fuel stop and a quick snap of Green Lantern, I pushed on and munched another 240 odd kms before I encountered a road block caused by a bad accident between a Maruti Omni driving on the wrong side and a passenger car. Luckily the guy survived but his bread box, Omni wasnt so lucky! This meant that the road had to be cleared of oil and debris. Crawling at a speed of 10 kmph through road block, I found a series of restaurants and I quickly calculated the distance and time taken and decided to break for lunch which I had initially planned to skip and this turned out to be the perfect 'Formula 1' style pit stop as the road block was in its residual stage while I exited the restaurant thus covering up for the 35 odd minute lunch break.
After a not so scrumptious meal, I chugged through and around 5, I found my self about 170 kms from Pune and I was kind of elated! While I continued to ride, I did a quick calculation and plotted an ETA to Pune by 7 but soon enough the traffic post Satara was pathetic coupled with bad roads. As I got closer to Pune, the Traffic just kept getting worse and meant that I was able to reach Hinjewadi(Outskirts of Pune city) only by 730. I stopped for fuel near Nashik Phata and Google mata stated that i had another almost 4 hour ride though the distance was a mere 120 kms! This rang a bell that the roads conditions are for sure bad to worse and sadly Maharashtra state highways arent that good compared to other states. The biggest concern that I had was running on set of tyres meant for road touring - The Metzeler's M7RR Sportec!
After battling Pune city's traffic and the poor traffic sense, I continued and by 930, I had around 60 odd kilometers to go and I get a call from Trilok and I quickly update him about my ETA. He was thrilled to know that I had reached Junnar and should be at the camping spot within an hour and he did warn about keeping the GPS turned on as there was no signal at most places and I might not be able to locate him later should I try to turn GPS on later. With this, I had locked on the GPS to his location and I continued to ride. The roads were outright bad!
By 1020, i reach the location Trilok had shared and he stated that I would be able to spot their VW Polo but that wasnt the case. Google mata continiously kept saying 'You've arrived' whereas I about 500-600 meter's away from the camping spot!
I park Green Lantern aside and then look for a grey VW polo car and tents but this was just the start of a quest. Instinctively, I try reaching out to Trilok via phone but apple said 'No Network'. By now its about half an hour since I reached and I had no clue where the camping site was. I get back to Green lantern and do couple of recce's but with no luck, with almost an hour of searching with no cell phone network, I wander into the nearby settlement and inquire villagers about having spotted Trilok and others. The response from them in Marathi meant that there many folks who come by to camp as it was one of the famous places and today too there were many. Kind of disappointed, I get back to almost the end of road near Naneghat and plot a self rescue plan :). I made my plan B which was to find a place with shelter and deploy my sleeping bag and bring in the new year under the stars will company of myself!!! Now with this thing off my head, I continue to search and ended up visiting quite many people who were camping. With barely half an hour for 12, I continue to search and I kept telling myself to stay calm and just focus on checking all possible camping sites considering Trilok did mention that they were about 200 meter's from the car. With find the car as goal, I brain mapped and divided the places and eliminated the ones I had already searched and focused on the ones that were left. About 20 mins to 12, 2 men come back to from village and inquire if I was search for couple of folks, I instantly nodded yes and good news was that these guys had delivered food to couple of folks camping at the very top and he offered me to show the way - I was thrilled at this god send men but at the same time was vigilant too and had my camping knife handy just in case. luckily that wasn't of use as these guys were genuine and they got their own bike and had me followed them to the top and off-roading on an M7 under moonlight at this hour made me forget everything else and I said to myself, even If I dont find Trilok tonight its alright as the location was fabulous with a stary ceiling and i could easily spend the night here but in matter of minutes, I spot the Polo and boy o boy, it was a different kinda thrill as I see Trilok and others waving at me! Trilok was super concerned and wasn't able to enjoy the ongoing camping party but he too was elated to see or rather find me. This was a moment of defying biking brotherhood and start of new friendship saga.
I quickly unload the essential items for the night and it was 12 now and we just partied in a different way and enjoyed every moment. Around 230 am, when we were in our trance, we hear loud music and upon checking, it turned out to be all the local lads having a ball of a time and they had prepped really well - They had food, drinks, a bug ass loud speaker and it was fun to watch them from a distance and was a like night fest or rather Local Tomorrow land sorts! They went on to party beyond 4 while we decided to call it a night.
I and Trilok shared the same tent and woke up by around 630 am and enjoyed the views Naneghat showed us! Here's a sneak peak.
Below are two pics shot from the same location in span of 20 minutes!
We trekked for about 2 kilometers and the difficulty level was easy to moderate; the Trek was refreshing and the views it offered was certainly breathtaking! One could you spend some quality time here!
The breathtaking views continued till the summit and once we reached there, we were surprised to see the view captured in the next pic!
Here's another pic from farther distance - This sure should tell you how awesome this place actually is! The red marker is my camping spot.
This was a great start to 2018 and though I spent couple of hours at Naneghat, it felt long and a relaxing one. I plan go back there during 2018 Monsoon as it would be totally green and plush! With this thought in mind and the sun starting to hit hard, we decided to collect the trash and head to Mumbai.
Thanks to my aux lights, I was able to successfully navigate through these meadows at night.
You can complain about the tyres, the risk, the traction what not! End of it all, how far are willing to push urself? Riding the trails on malshej on a NON off road tyre and a semi adv ride... #touragrapher #kawasaki #versys650 #alpinestars #frogman #dirtsack #dirtsackluggage #formaadventure #malshej #naneghat #agv @agvhelmets @indiakawasaki @kawasaki #maharastra_ig #maharastra #metzelersportecm7rr #metzelerm7rr #adventure #adventuremotorcycle #advrider #trailhunting #offroad
On our way back, we visited MTDC resort at Malshej for breakfast and the food was ok! You might as well move on and stop at the road side eateries near Thane.
We reached Mumbai by around 12ish and we all hit the sack for some much required sleep.
I hope you enjoyed reading my chronicle on Naneghat and do come back for more as I would frequent the posts that I add. If you have any suggestions, thoughts, comments, please feel free leave a comment.