Monday, November 12, 2012

Post Kudremukh trek

Time for some fun after a strenuous trek the previous day. A sunny morning started with all the other trekking groups packing their bags and left Sathish’s house all for ourselves. Morning tea prepared in firewood stove tasted so good. You feel like having it every hour. We sat outside the house stretching ourselves and feeling the warm sun on our skin. Our plan for the day was to relax till noon and start towards Hornadu by evening. A yummy veg-pulav with raitha was loaded tummy full followed by another round of hot tea.

A dip in nearby falls was a perfect relaxation plan. Not more than 2 mins walk from the house is this small stream of water. The water was chilling cold inspite of the sun shining so bright. We walked for a while on the rocky bank till we reached a pool deep enough to enjoy a swim. One by one we all got down into the water. The cold water sent tickles up our body as we stepped deeper. Few swam to reach opposite end of the pool and found a small natural Jacuzzi a little ahead. We all followed them and enjoyed a great massage in the water. Water flow was strong enough to carry yourself in the current. After spending time enjoying the chilled pool of water, we were back home for another round of bath in hot water.

We sat outside the house enjoying lovely songs pavan’s mobile was playing. Suhas was busy with Osho’s The book of understanding. After a light lunch we drove towards Hornadu. The temple is crowded during the weekends. We stood in the queue for the darshan of the beautiful idol of Annapoorneshwari goddess. Few had a long list of items to buy from this place which is very famous for its coffee & variety of spieces.  The temple prashad is served even before the Mahamangalarthi. Waiting in the queue for prashad, Manish turned to be great entertainer with his mimcry of several Mr.Bean’s episodes. The younger crowd never looked tired till the end. They taught few of us their own invented “cha” language. Suhas, Ajay & Pavan were amazed and wanted to try their hand learning the new tongue. It all seemed like a coded language to me. I was in my own world recollecting few Yograj Bhat’s melodies, Suhas always helps me appreciate movies & music.

We started our journey back to Bangalore by 8:30pm. The journey initially was fun filled with Manish’s singing and others joined for anthakshari. The driver took us round and round around the chikkamagalur city as he dint know the route towards bangalore. Smart people sat with their Smart phones and directed him with routes. Guys hardly slept till early morning. We reached Bangalore not very late.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kudremukh after a hiatus

The travel freaks were still munching on the sweet memories of Sarpass and it took us quiet a time to realise that we had not packed our bags for more than 4 months for a trek.

Ajay wore the captains hat with Adi and whatsApp made our planning stuff much easier than ever before. As always there were few new editions to the group and last minute cancellations too. The group size was 13. We had few pick up points before we started our journey in a mini bus. Adi’s family participating in the trek is growing in number with each time and this time they were 6 with Manish & Preethu as new faces. After a long time Pavan was travelling with us.

Surprisingly all of them sticked to their seats and quickly dozed off. It was difficult for me to follow this and I spoke non-stop with Nam till late night. When finally I felt my head would blow off because of my blabbering I put the curtains over my eyes and forced to sleep. The lovely songs playing dint let me sleep for long and when it finally stopped I remember we had almost reached our destination.

We reached Ballgal early morning next day. Two jeeps were already parked which would ride for another 7kms to reach Sathish’s place, from where we start our trek. After a quick round of morning tea-coffee we all enjoyed a bumpy ride for another 45mins.

Sathish’s house is always crowded with trekkers over weekends especially on Saturdays. His house is amidst mountains in all directions. Lots of greenery around and cold water running out from the water pipes all the time. In the whole house I dint see the concept of taps and so no one needs to think of closing it. It’s a scene which we all bangaloreans feel jealous about. We occupied our allotted rooms and very leisurely got ourselves ready for the day’s trek. After a light breakfast (Idly, chatni & sambhar) and even lighter pack lunch (puliyogere) in our ever lightest back pack we started our conquest of kudremukh peak.

For the first time TFs (read as Travel Freaks) was on a challenge to accomplish both uphill & downhill trails in a single day. It was 9:45am. The weather was not extremely hot as it had rained 3 days back but sun dint look any compromising. A rare cool breeze from the forest helped to remove the sweat from our body. A tree shade after a long walk in sun always feels like heaven. Initial trek is mostly inside the forest and it never drains any energy. The stream water flowing between every couple of mountains does its magic as soon as it gets down your thirsty throat. There can’t be more tastier & purer water or drink than this. You sit back on one of these rocks around the stream sipping in that cold water, splash some on your tired face, you’ll be fresh again to continue. The dreadful stretch comes in almost at the end and now you are forced to keep walking even if you are dead tired. Standing for rest in the hot sun is more tiring that walking. And there is not sign of a single tree till your eyes could see. The dried grass and sun baked rocks add no fun to us while resting.

And from nowhere a blow of blissful breeze makes you halt and your body embraces it. You turn back with arms stretched out welcoming the cool air and stand for a while to see a landscape of green mountains around. You are lost in the world & the magic vanishes with the return of still air. You feel a little better & it feels even more better when you see others who are still far behind and you realize you have covered that tiring stretch and left with only a little distance to reach the peak… :P Seriously the feeling of staying ahead of someone always brings some strength in me to continue walking. I don’t really understand whether this is a weekness or a strength I have.

We reached the peak by 1:15pm. Kudremukh peak stands at a height of 1892mts above sea level. Another peak captured was the feeling besides the endless beautiful mountains lying unfolded in front of your eyes. Feeding the empty tummy came in immediately. Puliogere was a bad choice in the hot weather but we were not left with any other option. After posing for few clicks we all started descends. As always I hate this part as I very well know my knees will suffer. But this time it was pretty co-operative.

I remained with the last group getting down. We were all very tired. We waited for Sathish’s house very badly. Every curve on one mountain showed another mountain to be crossed and the end never seemed close. Our tiredness increased as we covered one mountain hoping it to be the last one but proved wrong. Our minds tried to recollect if the stream we were crossing was the first one when we started uphill. And the moment we reach a place you could recognize from the memory we would then start calculating the probable distance left to reach Sathish’s house. This was the first time I felt the downhill took longer than uphill.

 At one point I left the group as I could not walk slow anymore and the dead legs refused to stop and I started walking with quick decisions on lefts and rights in the forest. At one such diversions I stopped for a while and before I could hastily decide to take right I saw an arrow pointing left. Oops!!! I walked left.  I reached a house which dint look like Sathish’s. Mind decided that I was lost in the forest. Was not worried about being lost but this would mean few extra miles to reach the right place. Every single step mattered. I felt before I take my steps back I should first find out which way in the forest I need to walk for Sathish’s house. The owner of the house unwelcomingly looked at me but very well guessed my question. Sathish is their neighbor & she might get to answer this question to every trekker passing by thinking they are lost. I was relieved by her answer, Sathish’s house was right behind hers.

On reaching the place I was as happy as a small kid seeing its mother after a long wait. I threw myself on the portico. Tea had just arrived. Not long the rest of the team arrived. To pamper our tired legs few choose over a hot bath and few others loved a dip in the nearby falls. I always love the former. The team was sitting round for a game on Bluff. This was the best episode with so many entertainers making this trek so memorable. Cheers to Manu, Ajay, Suhas & not to forget RS!!
After a light dinner, we collected warm blankets and packed ourselves close to ward off close. It was a good night sleep for every part of the aching body!!! 
Catch you for tomorrow's fun in the next post.