Has anyone ever encountered a case of locals obstructing/obscuring the trek route, removing/redirecting the arrows to misguide a trek party?

I’ve just returned grom a trek to Ganpati Gadad caves near Sonawale in Murbad/Malshej area. When we reached Sonawale, we were surrounded by a number of local kids who wanted to act as guides. We politely refused and begun our ascent. After a while, we observed that we were surrounded by three parties of the local kids; one walking ahead of us, one monitoring us from a distance and one following just behind.

The group in front was tasked with misleading us by displacing the arrow marked rocks, blocking them with leaves/dirt and piling barriers on the path ahead. The monitoring group reported our activities ahead while the last group would pester us once in a while with guide requests.

It was by sheer luck and determination that we stuck to our route and then understood their method on closer inspection. It was a real test of experience to undo any potential damage due to such antics. Any group without an experienced team or leader would surely have lost their way and fallen prey to such tactics.

We have tried to put the arrows back in their place where we could.

Please share your experiences if any or possible solutions.

by Kapil Pilankar

sept 2012


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