12-Oct-2004 -- After successfully reaching 21N 73E yesterday, Kishore & I set out again at 0830 today towards 20N73E, which lay South of Daman. The straight-line distance from Kishore's home was about 45 kilometers and we would take the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highyway (NH#8) towards Mumbai. According to the maps I had, the CP was about 10 kilometers east of the highway. It appeared to be before the town of Khasa Kurd. As we rode towards the CP, we noticed that the terrain started becoming hilly and the highway wound its way between them. At about 8 kilometers from the CP, the GPS indicated that the point was to the left of us. We rode a bit further and found a small, tarred road leading in that direction. We turned onto that road and the distance to the CP gradually came down. At about 4.5 kilometers to go, the road ended abruptly and all we could see was a footpath leading into a forest. We realized we were too far from the CP to trek there, so we turned back and headed back to the highway. Once on the highway, we decided to ride further towards Khasa Kurd and see if there was another road leading to the CP. We were approaching the town of Charoti and we decided not to ride up the bridge that bypasses it, but traveled to the left of it to find a road leading left. We were about 9 kilometers from the point. The road slowly wound its way in the general direction of the confluence and after a few wrong turns, we found ourselves on a road that led us up to 1.6 kilometers from the point. Ordinarily, this was an easy distance to trek, but we were in the hills and surrounded by thick forest.
We parked our bike on the side of the road and found a footpath leading into a valley in the direction of the point. We passed a small tribal village, crossed a small stream and followed a faint path up the next hill. The going was tiring as the slope was steep and we had to take breaks very often. After an hour of walking, we had covered only 700 meters and found ourselves on the crest of a hill. The footpath also ended there. In front of us was dense jungle and the GPS indicated that we still had 1.04 kilometers to go. With no footpath in sight and the prospect of more tiring terrain, we decided to abort the attempt.
We slowly made our way back to the motorbike and after a short rest, started back home. It was disappointing not to be able to reach this point, but our initial fears were correct. This point would need better preparation and if possible, one of the local tribes-people to guide us through the forest. We aim to come back with a bigger team, better equipped to reach the confluence in a few months.
We reached home and after lunch and a siesta, started planning the road trip we intended to take. More of the family was to reach Daman on October 13th and we would all take a car and travel towards Nasik, Shirdi and Aurangabad. 20N 74E, 20N 75E & 20N 76E were all along the way!