Monday, June 19, 2017

Monsoon road trip to Dudhsagar via Mollem & Anmod Ghat (fail) + off-roading to Vajara Falls

So we kind of paid the price for setting on a trip without planning or reading about the place online - we did not reach Dudhsagar. The much anticipated Dudhsagar 'roadtrip' has been in the pineline since long. A bunch of around 25 people (read: bikers) setting out of this epic road trip. 

While some (like me and Rahul) just hoped to get a glimpse of the waterfall in it's full glory (considering it was the third week of June), some were hoping to ride along the off-road trail right up to the end, while some had very high hopes of trekking (or better, riding) up to the peak. 

Though our hopes were pinned on some guys who made us believe that they are well-versed with the topography of the place and know routes which will lead us to Dudhsagar without crossing the security and forest gaurd gates, we realised we were kind of taken for a ride when we were made to stop midway and asked to return from the first forest gate. 

There went whatever little hope we had - crashing down the same mountains we had crossed. And we knew, we had no option but to return! While some pinned their focus on trying to get in (the illegal way), some hoped to trace a better location in the vicinity. We went by the latter plan and headed to Vajra Falls instead. And that was one helluva adventurous trip I am going to tell you about in this post.

Related post: Road trip to Amboli Ghat

Riding with the RX bike group

So I spent a day riding (pillion) with Rahul, on this insane roadtrip I decided to tag along on. I had no idea what this trip would be like. But it was pretty damn awesome! And I am so glad I tagged along. A bunch of guys - from all over the state, came together for this road trip. Though everyone rode with their separate groups - riding through a route that was the shortest from their place to Mollem. 

We met the Sanquelim boys at around 8.30 am and proceeded to Mollem via Valpoi. Mollem was our meeting point. But since we were late, we met the others only at Anmod Ghat - a few kms off Mollem. And continued our journey with them through the winding mountain roads. Some 25 odd Yamaha RX 100 roaring in unison. A bunch of 20-something bike enthusiasts riding together.

The picturesque Anmod Ghat

I had ticked off driving through Anmod Ghat on an earlier road trip to Ramnagar. I was clearly mesmerised by the picturesque valley and cloud formations over the horizon during my visit in the first week of December last year. I remember hopping out of the car and breathing the fresh mountain air as I let the view sink in.

This trip was no different - as the road got slippery (since it was raining), the view only got better. I did say a small prayer when we embarked on this journey - hoping we'd reach back safe, considering we were riding bikes that aren't so travel friendly, especially during rains. However, we did manage to cross the ghat and ride past Castle Rock and Ramnagar in North Karnataka.

Vajara Falls - off road trail + hiking downhill

When we realised our trip to Dudhsagar was a massive fail, we wasted a lot of time wondering what to do. The forest guard at the gate mentioned a waterfall a few kilometres away. We were already in North Karnataka and we just decided to follow in the direction we were told. 

A few minutes ride - through heavy rains along the foggy road, crossing plenty rivulets and bridges, we made our way until the dead end of the road. And that's when the adventure began. The forest got denser and the ride, bumpy. The narrow road lead us into a village - beyond which all we could trace was an off-road trail.

The brave hearts that I had accompanied decided to take it up on themselves to ride through the off-road trail, through the dense forest. Though a few bikes skidded, a few people fell whilst crossing the mucky puddles, almost everyone managed to escape unhurt. A few more kilometres and we reached a slope which eventually led us to Vajara Falls.

At least that's what the board said. With no human activity whatsoever, the pristine river, flowing in it's full glory, water cascading down the rocky terrain to form a little fall. Everyone were so engrossed in taking a dip into the river, no one really bothered walking ahead and exploring a bit more. As we rode back, we stopped by at a little restaurant to have a hot chicken-thali before we parted ways and bid a goodbye to the other riders! 

Some food...

chicken thali at Jolly Goa restaurant, Anmod 

stopping for some roasted sweet corn in Valpoi

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