Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kumara Parvatha - A Solo Trek

11th Trek to KP and the best one.... This place is new every time you trek. There is no other place where you get to test the limits of your body and mind... Monsoon is the best time to trek. The weather is cool, the challenges are high. A moderate trek in the summer becomes difficult during the monsoon.

Anyway, decided to go to KP. Wanted to do it alone and in one day. A lot of my friends said I'm nuts (nothing new) when I told them the plan.
Booked our very reliable KSRTC for the journey to Somwarpete. Booked the bus at 10:00 PM. but was under an impression that the bus was at 10:30 PM. Took my own sweet time to reach majestic. Thankfully didn't miss the bus. It was a bumpy ride to Somwarpete, thanks to a truck that had broken down on the way. The bus had to take a detour and through some village. The roads were straight from moon. Reached Somwarpete with a sore back at 5:00 AM on 9th Oct, 2010.
There is a bus named "Bhagya lakshmi" that goes to Bidahalli (starting point of the trek) from Somwarpete. The bus comes to the bus stand around 6:30 AM and departs around 7:30 AM.
I was told that it rained super heavy on the previous day and it would be really difficult to trek. I was all excited knowing its gonna be difficult.

Reached bidalli around 8:30 AM. It is a 3 km walk from here to a "Hegde Mane". This is a small village near Bidalli. There is a Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple where you can freshen up before you start the trek. The path till the temple has been tarred now :( .You could also ask the priest to cook you some breakfast for nominal charges. I generally don;t hav
e breakfast, so I skipped. Freshened up near the stream next to the temple and started my trek.
There is a jeep track from the temple leading to the forest department office. It is around a km of walk from the temple. The view becomes scenic from here on. The path is surrounded with mountains and it is lush green.

Reached the forest office around 9:00 AM. The forest guard denied permission to trek as I was alone. It took me a lot of effort to convince him to grant me permission. The only advantage that I had was he has seen me multiple times during the previous treks.

One of the guard accompanied me for half a km or so just to make s
ure I know the path, I'm fit to trek and walk the distance. The total trek distance from Bidalli to Kukke Subrahmanya is 24 km. 11 km of ascend to the summit and 13 from the summit to Kukke.

Went ahead with the trek, a lonely walk through the wilderness and a forest filled with mist. The spooky feeling of may be some animal is watching me now. Not a soul around for miles. This was the point of realization that its just an awesome feeling to be alone. No strings attached, nobody around, secluded from the world. You are at a mercy of the jungle. If you are lucky and fit, you walk away alive or with no broken bones.

After 4.25 km of trek from the Beedhalli APC, there is a detour. Here you can decide if yo
u wanna go on till the summit climbing 65 deg inclined rock coated with moss. There are 4 rocks of the same kind till the summit.

The other path goes around the hill and merges back to the same trek path after 3 km. This path is through the jungle and is not very hard.

Anyway, being a nutcase I decided to go to the summit. When i started climbing
the rock it started to rain cats and dogs. its always better to climb the rock face with only your socks on. The grip level is awesome. I couldn't take any pictures during the rain. However, I'm uploading the snaps of my previous trek.
Reached the summit around 11:30 AM. The sense of achievement was running high. Decided not to waste a lot of time there and keep moving. The whole jungle is infested with leeches. The moment you stop, there will be 5-10 clinging on to you.

While getting down from the summit, you'll have to get down a water path. The path is super slippery, make sure you hold the bamboo shoots next to the stream while getting down. After a while, the water plummets down. Take a detour from the side and crawl down in a zig zag path. Again remember, the socks will give you the best grip.

After getting down the rock, the jungle starts and I was in the thick of it again. There are a lot of leeches and the path is very slippery. The jungle is so dense that the sunlight doesn't reach the ground. Due to heavy rain and moisture, the whole of the jungle was coated in green moss. The pungent smell of wood rotting is something that you can never forget.

The rain is pouring down super heavy now and i decide to pick up the pace a little as it
could get really late by the time i reach Kukke.

Since this was the first time I was targeting to finish the 2 day trek in one day, I had to keep up the pace without breaks.

Around 12:30 I was out of the jungle and into the grass land next to shesha parvatha. The rain had stopped and lush green grass land was visible all around you. The sight was just an elevated feeling of how wonderful nature is ( and how disgusting man is ).

There are not many leeches in the grass land and the chances of spotting an elephant or any big mammal is minimal. Walked along the water carved path, reached the infamous "kallu mantapa" at 1:00PM. Took a 5 min break, clicked a couple of snaps. Had some water.

The view from the mantapa is just mind blowing. You feel lost seeing wonderful things around you. Decided to move on, had to reach kukke soon. And getting down the mountain on a slippery grass land is more difficult than climbing through the jungle.

Started walking at my natural pace, saw a lot of cobras slithering away from the walk path. The animals won;t harm you unless and until you try to act smart and do something to the animals.

Walked for another 90 min to reach Bhattara mane. This is the general pit stop for all trekkers for lunch and sometimes to halt. Bhattara mane is also known as Girigadhe. Bhattara mane has a paddy field and a farm where the bhatta grows rice and vegetables.

Once I reached bhattara mane, i filled the bottle with
water, had a quick snack of salted peanuts and a snickers bar. Spoke to bhatta for like 10 mins and left from bhattara mane towards kukke.

The jungle is not very thick while walking down from bhattara mane to Kukke, The total distance from bhattara mane to the foot hill is around 6 km. Although the fores
t is not very thick, the path is filled with uplifted roots. This makes it even more difficult to walk as the chances of your leg getting tangled and tripping is more. Again it is the water path that you'll have to follow.

There are dustbins at regular intervals through the path. Please use them. "DO NOT THROW PLASTIC". Stop being a menace.

I would thump somebody who throws plastic. Continued walking
saw a batch of trekkers on the way to bhattara mane. Had a casual chat with them and moved on.
Saw the board that read Subrahmanya 1 km. The time was around 3:15 PM. It was an excellent pace through the trek. Started walking, the last km seemed the longest. Almost near the end of the trek a barb wired fence starts on the left hand side. Which never came even after walking for like 10 min.

Once I saw the fence I was delighted that I survived the ordeal without any injury and finished the trek within a day. I was even more delighted that this was the only KP trek that i hadn't tripped and fallen. The moment I thought about it, I jinxed it. There I had a fall on my butt. I didn't know if I had to laugh at myself or b
e furious about it.

I reached the foot hill at 3:30 PM. There it was a DONE DEAL. I didn't want to sit around on the road there so I decided to move to the town. It is around a 1.5 km from the foothill. I had the water bottle in my hand now, walked the last stint drinking as much as water I'd like.

3:45 PM I was in front of the temple. All the hotels were full, thankfully got one room in one of the cheap hotel. This was enough to get fresh and stay there till night. I had booked the tickets from Kukke to Bangalore.

Got fresh. Took some rest, went to the temple. Had food. Killed time till 10:00 PM. Checked out of the room. Walked to the bus stop. The Rajahamsa was waiting in the bus stand. The seat was super comfortable. The bus started at 10:30 PM. Just when I got settled in the seat, I felt something biting me. I thought it was mosquitoes. Darn, they were bed bugs. By the time I realized it was bed bugs we had traveled till Sakleshpura.

Changed my seat from middle of the bus (a comfortable place) to the last row seat (the only seat left in the bus).

Again a bumpy ride from there to Bangalore. 6:30 AM on 10th Oct, 2010 I was back to Bendakaluru.

A wild wild trek!!!!!

Things to remember:
1. Book bus tickets in advance.
2. Carry enough food. Not a lot as you get food in the temple and bhattara mane.
3. Carry camping and sleeping equipment if you are planning to camp.
4. Carry enough water if you go in summer. After Nov end till July.
5. Carry salt, tobacco powder, limestone for leeches. If you freak out when they get on to your shoes.
7. Carry energy drinks. it helps.
8. Carry chocolates and gum. This will give you small boosts of energy when you keep walking.
9. Do not smoke in the jungle. You risk forest fires and you spoil the air.
10. Do not booze, it will throw you off balance and you could break your bones.
11. Do not throw tins, cans, bottles in the jungle.
12. Make sure you put off the fire if you do put a camp fire.
13. Pack your clothes in polythene covers before you put it in the bags.
14. Carry a sickle to cut firewood in case you are camping.
15. Carry newspaper, half a liter of petrol. to start the camp fire. Please be very careful using fuel.

Here are some pictures for you:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bidurthala Trek

I should have written this post a long time ago...
Trek to Bidurthala, (Charmadi Ghats)
I was there at home when my friend gave me a call and asked " Dude, what plans for the new year's eve?" I said" Nothing's decided yet". He said" How about we go on a trek?". without hesitating I said " Yes". Then went to the KSRTC booking counter to get tickets for the journey on the same night. The last row of seas in the last bus to "Kottigehara" was available. Had to settle for the same. we thought. Atleast its not that bad when we went to KP. we had put our bags in the aisle and slept on that... :P.
Never mind, got the tickets, stuffed some food and clothes in the bag and left to the bus stand on my bike. As usual got stuck in traffic, my friends some how managed to persuade the bus driver to wait. Finally after a lot of struggle reached the bus stand, ran to the bus. (Got blasted by the driver for being late... :P).
Whatever, I had boarded the bus now. We hit the tumkur road with was clogged. Since KSRTC buses have to maintain time of arrival, they are equiped with experienced rally drivers... :P. First of all the bus left late because of me and now the traffic jam. The driver fuming like a furnace... We hit the empty road near Nelmangala and that's it... The wild ride had begun. The bus stopped near Yediyur for dinner. We had idlis and stuff and then we were off. Midnight we reached the ghat section, remember i told you that we have experienced rally drivers, all of us were juggling in the last seat of the bus. I have no clue how drove through huge potholes and most of the time off the road. He made up all the lost time and we reached Kottigehara at 4:00 in the morning.
All of us got out bags and tents. The moment we stepped down the bus it was like stepping into ice age. it was freaking cold and most of us were in shorts.... The very first thing that we did is run to a road side shop (which is open 24 /7) ordered hot hot tea. Wore jeans, jackets and caps.
The shops here make hot hot "neeru dosa" (Water dosa), chikkamaglur special. awesome stuff for a super cold morning to keep you finger licking.
Now to reach the spot to start the trek, we took a bus to place which is 12 kms from Kottigehara. There is a half broken bus stop on the right and a sign board named "Bidurthala" on the left in the middle of the ghats. (Busses stop here only with request. pay up like 5 -10 bucks per head).
We reached the spot at 5:00 AM, no light, no vehicles, not a soul in sight. With our 3V torches we get wait for the slightest of dawn to break in.
We start the trek... (I know, Finally!!!)... Its 2 kms from the road to a small village where 5 brothers reside. After 1 km we get a fork, 2 ways seperate out, take any of them. We reach the village, there's a cool water fall near the village. Chilled mineral water always. Played some UNO cards, went to the water fall, took bath. Time to get some energy boosters in. We unpack the bullet proof chapathis from our bag and have it with MTR ready to eat currys (Life packets for a trek).

We start the trek by 8:30 - 9:00 AM, 2 dogs from the village accompany us on the trek leading the way. The four legged trek machines lead the way with ease and we on the other hand drag out heavy butts above the mountain. Carry a sickle to cut through weeds and creepers.

We reach an open pasture and we decide to take an alternate route to the summit which is shorter but a little steep (Atleast that's how it looked from far away). We start the short cut trek, now half way through we realize that the mountain face is much steeper than it actually looked from below. Like we had a choice but to climb, we climbed inch by inch keeping every step carefully as the terrain was filled with thorns and pebbles. The awesome mountain has only grass land on its steep faces. :P.... now we are thinking, we are simply screwed.

It was fun.... :) we walked through and and reached the top of the sighted mountain. We were about to take a deep breath and relax.
Guess what, Bingo, That is not the summit, we have another peak about the same distance sneaking behing this one.

We took a break for like 10 -15 mins and started climbing again. This streach proved even more tiring. And finally we reached the summit at around 12:45 PM . and for our relief there were no more surpises. (For that moment).

On the other side of the peak, there's a small stream that flows through, we happily went there to drink some cold mineral water. and boom, no water.... just a small trickle flowing through the roots of one tree. we spend 10 mins filling one bottle of water and spend 2 mins drinking from it... :P

Now comes the other challenge of pitching tents... The sun scorching and the soil had no grip to hold the pegs. We somehow manage to pitch 2 tents. Now what? we have reached the summit, we started playing the UNO cards. We had our lunch. The air was still, it was not even moving at 1 m/Hr. All of us were pouring. I and my friend decided to take a nap, we slept in a tent hoping that there would be some breeze. (come on we were high up the mountain). Nopes. Nothing of that sort ever existed that day. We were pouring and literally sleeping in a pool of sweat. We couldn't sleep, so we went into the woods to get some firewood for the camp fire. (Sickle needed here, very imp.)

Thankfully after the sun set the breeze started. This was the best feeling that we had. Cool breeze kissing your sweat. Amazing. We walk up to the summit again, have a lot of fun, scream whistle and try to spot what is not.... :P

At the tip of the mountain towards the valley, if the sky is clear we can see the Mangalore harbour. Made some phone calls to home. That's the only place where your cell will catch the network. It was becoming dark, so we decided to go light up the camp fire. (Get newspaper and petrol to start the camp fire). We had a good time around the camp fire singing and teasing each other. Telling all college and office stories. This was fun. The sky filled with millions of stars, fantastic view.... take a DSLR camera, get the pictures. Worth it....

The new year was approaching. We were dead tired to welcome the new year with all energy, went to the summit again at midnight, we had taken few rockets along, lighted them... had a blast... Came back to the tent, woke everybody up who ever were sleeping.... :P

Got a sound scolding and we went to sleep..... :) Now the breeze had turned into a tornado.... :P

Super sonic wind speeds, one of our tents flew onto the near by trees.... Thanks to one of the guys who hadn't hit the peg properly...

The dawn breaks in... we wake up to the mist.... awesome weather.... Put on the camp fire again... Pack the tents. Pack the bags... Leave from the summit towards the village.
Now getting down the mountain is fun, remember the grass land and pebbles... :). Exactly! We have a falling competition.... Who ever walks down without falling many times... Nice joke....

Mid way down the mountain we find a bison dead and rotting. Time for a photo session.... :)

We came down to the village, had a good time... had breakfast...

We left the village at around 11:30 AM. Walked down to the road... No buses stop here.... We wait and we wave at every possible vehicle that comes along....
After an hour of waiting, a canter comes... thankfully this dude stops the vehicle... we get on to the rear side of the canter... Have a bone breaking drive till Kottigehara.... Have dosas... Catch a bus to Bangalore.... :)
End of trek...
Tips & Facts:
1. Reserve the bus tickets well in advance. Direct buses ply from Bangalore to Kottigehara.
2. Take a bus or a lorry to the spot to start the trek.
3. The people in the village are very helpful. Ask for help if required.
4. Dogs bark and run towards you as soon as they see you. Don't get scared and don't run.
5. There are 3 peaks / mountains. Namely, Kodekal gudda (umbrella shaped stone), Jaenkal gudda (honeycomb texture) and Balekal gudda (The summit).
6. Cover Kodekal gudda and then go to Balekal gudda... You'll have ample amount of time...
Things to carry.
1. Carry only cash. Cards are not accepted anywhere and there are no ATMs.
2. Carry warm clothes.
3. Carry petrol.
4. Carry plenty of food.
5. Carry a lot of water. (if you are not going in the months July - Nov)
6. Carry extra pair of socks.
7. Carry woolen caps. (Gets very cold in the night)
8. Carry sleeping bags / Mats.
9. First Aid kit. Volini a must (Pain relief spray) :P

Happy trekking....

Monday, March 24, 2008

Road Trippin

Ever wondered how it would be driving through the clouds and feeling free... Here's a pic for you...

This was in mid of march, during the pre-monsoon showers. On the way to Ooty, man this drive rocked... Imagine ripping through the fog at 100kmph in a ghat section... your heart thumping as a harley davidson engine..

Next day:
10 kms from Coonoor is the Lamb's rock, here's where you see the cloud formation... You sit on the edge of the rock and you get a wild idea of "How would it be to jump from the edge?" Just inches from the edge, but so far down... Heaven is a place on earth... The fresh cotton clouds, a mouth full of sky, an amazed sight of nature... when you say... "oh man!"

Wondering on the edge of the cliff as to how it would feel to walk on the clouds or have a free fall through the clouds...