Monday, January 25, 2016

Mhadei river crossing near Sonal village, Valpoi, Goa

Another trek but to a place visited in 2014. That was Just after the rains; the region was a lot more green. Now most of the grass and vegetation turned brown. Brown is also beautiful!
We started in 2 buses. Traveled for one and half hours. I love the journey. Houses spaced out and keep getting farther from each other and the terrain undulating; and slowly getting into the hills!

Stopped on the way, past Valpoi, on the side of the road for some well deserved breakfast of fresh Pav bread and Alsane curry in spicy coconut gravy and steaming tea! heavenly!
There was one change this time: they asked us to bring our own plates and spoons, so that there won't be any garbage, which we all welcomed wholeheartedly!

We start the trek through the entrance to Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary. I click a couple of pictures for posterity!
We were promised a leisurely trek. and an easy one.Soon there was km long trekkers, each setting their own pace. There were a few kids and teenagers too and not so young anymore; those like us.

This post is not strictly a chronological listing of what happened next, but more of what caught my attention along the way, in that sense this is slightly different from earlier posts on treks.
There were a few plantations of beetlenut and coconut trees. i love the form of the beetle nut tree. very straight and thin and beautiful formation of palm leaves at the top. the bunches of fruit in green and yellow / orange colours, very beautiful.
Here, we walked past a freshly built stone wall. The wall is broad at the base and narrowing towards the top and plastered with red clay or mud. I wonder how the mud will hold up in the monsoon! the stones are from stream beds, smooth and rounded.

I donot know the name of the this tree, but the bunches of flowers hanging from the branches had lovely autumn colours.
The whole forest was filled with the fragrance of Cashew nut flowers. Looked up at the branches and flowers of cashewnut tree against the clear sky made a beautiful picture!

There was a stretch of the trek which is part of a highway between Karnataka and Goa about 8 centuries back. It is broad with proper sub-floor etc. the top layer, of course is washed off! Here we are in a tight group. we carried our drinking water with us. It is essential to keep drinking water even though you may not feel thirsty. or the muscles will cramp up. It happened once.
 
At once place where there was a shallow stream, lovely reflection of trees in it.

We went past Kumthal village. It is a small village of a few houses. I was fascinated by the entrance gate.
Crossed a dry stream bed. the spot where we stopped for formal introductions was a meeting four streams. During monsoon it should be a great spot to see. We all introduce ourselves and the first timers to Eco Treks are welcomed. We continue with the trek ...
 
 
Finally we reach Mhadei river. It is simply beautiful. Serene and peaceful.Water not more than 5' deep. Crossing was a bit tricky, since the rocks beneath were round and slippery. What is a trek if not a little adventurous! 

Those of us who were inclined to, got into the water and frolicked for some time. Is not it a luxury to be wading / swimming in a river, safely, in great weather? Continued the trek after changing. By now we were looking forward to sumptuous meal.

Lunch was arranged in a farm house in Sonal village of Valpoi Taluka. They cooked the vegetables grown in their farm and we sat on the ground prepared with cow dung, around the Tulasi plant in the front yard. Eating on banana leaves adds so much flavour to the food cooked on fire wood.
Took half an hour rest and started back to the city. Did one more trek!

 If anyone wants to experience the river, go to Sonal village, and from there it is less than a km. to Mhadei river. It is a must go to place.

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