Mullayanagiri – Bababudangiri Trek 2013

This blog is turning out to be a travelogue. Will have to change it. With New Year close on the heels, think will add it to the empty list of New Year resolutions, though what happens to

Anyway this trip was the third attempt to complete full length of the jinxed Mullayanagiri – Kemmangundi trek. Having balked at previous attempts, Attempt #1 and Attempt #2 due to various reasons, was excited about this trek. Dec 14 was fixed as the date for the quest. The plan died in few days when people in trekking gang were unable to join due to different reason and got a life when Rakesh Balakrishnan kindled the thought, why not just the two of us with just two days to go for the weekend. It was a great idea,  but just two of us trekking in reserved forest and camping nowhere near civilization did send shivers down the spine. Though we were excited and enthusiastic, the real test would be when we start walking. The plan looked exciting, achievable and foolish as well. The hopes died, when BMC from where we usually rent our tents said tents were not available during that weekend. But we did managed to arrange from Mars Adventures. We purchased sleeping bags from Decathlon, since it looked a better option than renting them for every trip. Bus tickets to chickmagalur were never a problem, and soon we saw ourselves packing.

Day 1  – Saturday  – Dec 14, 2013

Reached chickmagalur at around 5.00AM, checked into a hotel and got ready for the trip at 8.00AM. Made sure to open the tent and pack it in our bags. Carrying tent in hand is laborious and makes the ascent difficult. There is a single bus service from chickmagalur to Sarpadhari, the trek starting point. Bus name is S.M.S but they start at their own sweet time when they feel it is crowded enough. So if you want to start the trek early, better to choose cab/auto. We went in an auto who charged Rs. 250. The trek from Sarpadhari to Bababudangiri/Galikere can be split into four parts

1) The climb from Sarpadhari to Mullayanagiri Peak.
2) Mullayanagiri to Attigundi checkpost.
3) Checkpost – BSNL tower via that knife edge that is exactly opposite to the checkpost.
4) BSNL tower – Bababudangiri/Galikere.

IMG_8566Our aim was to camp at Galikere and trek to Kemmangundi the next day. Knew at every part, it will be a race against time. Started the trek at 9.15Am. It was a quick climb (by our standards) to the peak and we reached the peak before 11.00AM. Mullayanagiri was awesome as usual. A little misty even after monsoon. The grasses were slowly drying after the monsoon but was green enough to make a grand sight. We spent a little time at the peak and started for part 2 of the trek. Finding the path to attigundi post from mullayangiri peak was tough. But from the previous attempt i knew it existed somewhere behind the temple. So after a little search were able to locate it. Once we find the path, the walk to Attigundi checkpost is easy, so we did it without taking many breaks. Had a quick lunch @ Attigundi checkpost. Everything was going according to plan 🙂 Or looked like.

The twist waited when we were about to start the third part of the trek. It was Dattareya Jeyanthi on Dec 15, 2013 and due to security reasons the knife edge the direct path which goes through the gorge(knife’s path) to the BSNL tower was closed. The police advised us to go via the road. We followed the road for a while, searched for a path and decided to the walk parallel to the original route and join the path from knife edge at some point. There was no path, so had to venture into the bushes and shrubs and create our own path chasing away the small snakes (exaggerated, found only one)  that were resting. The next hour was dedicated to this. The good part was we were able to do it and get back to the original path, and the bad part was we had lost a good amount of time. And we reached the BSNL tower by 5.00PM.

Any trek will involve meeting a local who will claim the place we intend to go is not near as we think, but it is +x KM. Such meeting happened in the BSNL tower. We were under the impression that Galikere is around 4-5KM from BSNLIMG_8719 tower, but the guy there claimed it is 8KM. We knew 8KM after 5PM will involve trekking in the dark. Anyway learnt next day that Galikere is 5KM from the place and the route is not difficult either. The guy also showed us Manikyadhara, that is very close to the tower, where we can camp. Mr. Prasad, the forest officer we met during the last visit had mentioned that it is good for camping and we get food/fish fry there. I remembered the place name and the office name because of the mention of fish fry. Manikyadhara also has a small waterfalls which attracts tourists. Anyway all shops were closed due to Dattareya Jeyanthi and there were no jeeps as well. Otherwise it is possible to rent a jeep from there to Galikere. With were very little options left we decided to camp near a pond in Manikyadhara. The place was pretty and peaceful. There were no rough winds which left us in absolute silence. Still was able to manage only a disturbed sleep due to the cold weather and possibly due to the uneasy tranquility that prevailed.

Day 2 – Sunday – Dec 15, 2013

Woke up around 6IMG_8736.30AM to the sound of birds. In particular there was a bird that whistled/sang beautifully. Was not able to sight it. Spent sometime roaming and exploring the area around the tent, more importantly waiting for the sun to heat up a little, so the bath in Manikyadhara falls will be enjoyable. Though Manikyadhara falls did not have much water to offer, the bath was exhilarating. Camping at Manikyadhara meant 5KM gets added to the Day 2 trek to Kemmangundi, making it more than 20KM and impossible. So we called it a day and walked towards Bababudangiri. From the “My Tracks” android app the total distance we covered was around 13KM on the first day and 3KM walk to bababudangiri on the second day. The SMS bus service was the only option available. Boarded the bus at  11.15AM which started at 12.45PM and reached chickmagalur at the right time to catch the 2PM bus back to bangalore 🙂

Though the weather during december was good and helped in trekking without drizzle and leeches, it is during the monsoon or just after the end of monsoon, Mullayanagiri is at its supreme grandeur. The thought beckons attempt #4 for the full 30+ KM trek, time will answer whether it will happen.

Kodachadri Trek

A trek after a long long time. Kodachadri was on the list for a long time. Since it is a beaten and little easy decided to try it. The gang too pitched in and the trek was on. There are two or three ways to trek to Kodachadri Peak.

1) Starts from Karikatte. This is a shorter route and easy one. Most of them start from here and go via the Santosh Hotel/Kaka Angadi. The trek goes via a Jeep route till Santosh Hotel and the actual trekking starts after the hotel.

2) Starts from Marakuttaka (locals pronounce it differently something like Marakudukka) which is near sigandur cross. This goes via Hidlumane Falls and is a little longer route. Even here the trek goes via jeep route till Hidlumane after which the real trekking starts. Check these out – Sigandur Cross: http://wikimapia.org/118754 /Sigandur-Cross & Marakuttaka Bus Stop – http://wikimapia.org/433100/Marakuttaka-bus-stop

We decided to climb up from Marakuttaka, visit Hidlumane Falls and then trek to the peak via PWD guest house and camp at Sarvajna Peeta. The idea of visiting the “Hidlumane Falls” in the middle of the falls was exciting. And while coming back, decided to come via Santosh Hotel, and if possible visit Arashinagundi falls.

Late Start: There is a KSRTC bus from bangalore that stops at Sigandur Cross. Starts at 8.30PM and reaches there at 6.00AM. Walk back towards Nittur for 2KM and there is a small bridge with a Jeep track on the right, which is Marakuttaka or the trek starting point. Tried adding it to Google Maps, hope it is visible now. Anyway that was the plan initiallly. When one of our friend wanted to join at the end, had to replan, and choose SRS instead of KSRTC due to unavailability of tickets. SRS reached Kollur at 9.30AM after a 12 hour journey. Checked into a hotel, quickly refreshed and finished breakfast, and hired two autos to Marakuttaka. There is a bus from Kollur to Marakuttaka every 1 hour too  from Kollur Bus Stand. We reached Marakuttaka, a little after 1.00 PM. And the trek started. One thing was clear, we are going to trek in the night with torches to reach the peak.

Trek to the Hidlumane Falls: The initial trek take you along the well established jeep track. All we had to do was follow the main jeep track. After a little walk, there is a small stream to cross after which it continues once again on the jeep track. There were locals moving around in bikes and cycles to help us. Soon we crossed a lonely hut, where we asked for direction and then a school. The jeep track ends at Hidlumane or Gururaj’s home. To go Hidlumane falls, cross Hidlumane, and cross Gururaj’s fields. Can ask Gururaj for direction too. After few minutes of walk, reached the base of Hidlumane falls. Hidlumane is a cascade waterfall with a total of around 7 cascades. Cross the first one and second one and continue on the trail on the right side of the falls to reach the main falls. The second or the third one too has enough water to take bath, but the final one is majestic. We reached the falls at 3.00PM and the water was ice cold then too. It was more like small icicles falling on your body. The bath was exhilarating.

Trek to the peak: After spending quite a good time in the falls, started the trek towards the peak. We took the path on the left(when you are facing the falls) of the falls and later learnt that there is no route there. Had to do a bit of climbing, jumping, sliding to reach that conclusion. You can try that and then go the neat trail on the right or go to the trail on the right(right when you are facing the falls). This trail is neat and leads you to the jeep track. Takes around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the pace to reach the jeep track. Take right on the jeep track and continue to the PWD house. Jeep drivers warned us about putting tents @ sarvajna peeta. Looks like forest guards took away the tents of few people a week back. One guy said, we can camp if we are planning for camp fire. And one more guy said, we can camp, there are one or two there already. We had no other option too, so we continued to the peak. It was dark, people were descending after the sunset, we were climbing up for the camp. Few were puzzled at the idea of us camping at the peak, few had got sarcastic comments about it. Anyway we continued and reached the peak at around 7.30PM. One good thing was it is very difficult to miss the path in Kodachadri, unlike other trekking places.

Camp: Spent sometime searching for the best place to camp. After a futile search, decided to camp near the peeta. Set up the tents, finished the dinner with the food we had carried, and then dozed off at 9.50PM, only to wake up at 2.00AM. I heard sound of someone scratching our tents from outside. Pushed the tent from inside, felt a strong push from outside. And i felt i heard some footsteps. Next 30 minutes went in listening to the sounds intently and trying to guess and also envy my friend(Sai) who is having a peaceful sleep amidst all this drama 🙂 Blessed he is.  Atlast he too woke up at 2.45AM. Together we slowly opened the tent and looked around. Nothing. Closed it, we could hear all nonsense. Open, nothing. Anyway after some investigation decided it was the air outside and the sound of footsteps could be that of the dog outside. Later learnt that our friends in other tents were awake from 12.00 to 3.00 and slept only after we woke up and started talking 🙂 Nice & thrilling, as long as there are no misadventures.

Sunrise & Trek down: Woke up at 5.30AM, packed the tents and waited for the sunrise, which didn’t happen till 6.30. While Mohan & Anoop spent time munching snacks early in the morning, Sai was busy putting water bottle cap on a torch light!!! After a few hide and seeks, the sun emerged above a sea of clouds. Awesome it was. Clicked a few snaps and started trekking down at around 7.20PM. Trek down to PWD guest house, and then take the narrow trail opposite to PWD guest house to reach Santosh Hotel. The trek to santosh hotel was easy and we did it in around three hours, with a 30 minutes pit stop in between. Had Puttu-kadala at Santosh hotel and then enquired about Arashinagundi falls. Looks like the entry fee per head is 250 Rs and then we may have to take a guide, since the path cannot be easily found. Decided against it, took the jeep track to Karikatte, and walked for the next one hour to reach karikatte. Took a jeep from there and reached Kollur at around 12.30PM. Checked into a hotel, took bath and rested for a while. Also Kollur Mookambika temple in the evening. Think this is the second visit to the temple in five years. It was not crowded and had a neat darshan.

Started back to bangalore in the 7.00PM bus and reached bangalore in the morning after a not so tiring, nice and wonderful trek with hidlumane falls being the highlight.

Snaps: Mine & Sai‘s

 

KumaraParvatha Trek – A walk above the Clouds

A blog after a long time. Finally accomplished one of the trips that remained hidden in the convolutions for a long time. And we accomplished it on Oct 15, 2011. A quick plan and fast action saw us boarding the Kannur Express on the weekend. With tents and sleeping bags, packets of bread we were all set to conquer the highest peak in South India, KumaraParvatha. The route we chose was from Kukke Subramanya to KumaraParvatha. Looks like there is a also a different route via somwarpet and is a bit easy to trek. Few people start from somwarpet reach kumaraparvatha and camp there, and then start to kukke on the next day, essentially covering both the routes. But we started from Kukke, since it looked like the most beaten track with very little opportunity to get lost.

Day 1

6.00AM to 10.00AM – Preparing for the trek – Woke up at 5.00AM to see the train cutting through the western ghats in full moon light, with the valleys resembling a sea of clouds. Beautiful sight indeed. Reached “Subrahmanya road (SBHR)” railway station, wasted no time in hiring a taxi and soon we were in Kukke. And this place was busy, and finding a lodge to just take bath and get ready turned out to be a tough task. Finally had to settle down for a home stay. Spend some time getting ready, finished breakfast and then it was only after 10.00AM we started the trek.

10.00AM to 2.00PM – Trek through the rain forest – A right turn just before the temple takes us to the tar road that leads us to the trekking path. Spent a little time equipping ourselves against the leeches which seemed to be in abundance. The real trek started with a steep climb in a rain forest. It was fun trekking in the rain forest. Since it was just after monsoon, could see the bark of tree covered in green by algae or whatever it is. The difficult part was climbing. Though the hunter shoes bought from Russel market, Bangalore broke the leech attacks, it started causing more damages than the leeches. I slowed down a bit. After around three hours of trek in the forest, we reach the grass lands. A beautiful place offering too many scenic views, but the time was wrong. We entered the grasslands after 1.00PM and it was terribly hot. It makes sense to start the trek early and cross this grassland well before afternoon. At 1PM walking in the scorching sun was nowhere near enjoyment.

2.00PM to 5.30PM – Bhattar’s Mane to Mantapa – To our relief reached Bhattar’s Mane and it was time for some rest. Didn’t have food since we wanted to reduce the weight on our bags. The trek started after a short lunch. Few 100 metres from Bhattar Mane, is the forest checkpost where we have to pay the entry fee. Looks like the entry fee has been increased to 200 per head. We continued our trek through the grasslands with the highest peak at distance in sight. Few people returning, warned us the KumaraParvatha/Pushpagiri is not the one that is visible but will have to trek beyond that. Also the peak that is visible is not as easy as it appears. We crossed peak after peaks, the highest visible peak looked near but there were still few small peaks to cross. As it approached dusk, the clouds started settling, and it was awesome, for we were walking above the clouds on the lush green grasslands. The trek was fun. I loved this part with the mists brushing our face, green grasslands all around and clouds beneath us. We were at the pint which was visible from the Kukke temple. Beyond this, we could see a rocky mountain, which needs to be crossed to reach Pushpagiri.

6.00PM – 7.30PM – Lost in the forest and crawl in the dark t highest point in South India – Think we relaxed a little too much. The HP gang took the lead with the task of setting up the tents in the next flat land. We continued after a short rest engulfed in mist, the HP gang was nowhere in sight. Rakesh, Chandra and myself, walked slowly. It was alalmost dark and interestingly there was a small forest in front of us. Time for fun!!!! Trekking in forest in dark would be foolish, staying there with just sleeping bags would be equally foolish too, since the tents were with HP gang. Used our intelligence to choose a less foolish decision and entered the forest. Had also read in a blog that to reach pushpagiri, you need to cross a forest and climb a small slippery hillock, so was a little sure that we are on the right track. The forest was pitch dark, fortunately had few torches. The torch showed us the way, but at no point we were sure whether that was the only way.

Aim was not to panic. Imagine a thick rain forest, full darkness, no people around and occasional sounds of rustling leaves, howling wind, remote sound of water. Believe me, it did cause a little fear. But we marched on, and a little later we were welcomed by remote shouts from our friends. Sai was shouting my name on top of his voice. Poor fellow, he looked a little frightened. I did relish the fact we had just had a night trek in a rain forest. Dont think i would get a chance to do it in future. This was followed by a steep ascent on the slippery hill, where a small stream down. With just few torches and no clear way, we crawled to the top. We had reached the second highest point in Karnataka.

Wasted, no time in setting up the tents. Generous Rakesh had donated a few units of blood to leeches. Everyone was too tired to check anything, and dozed off asap.

Day 2

3.00AM to 7.30AM – Sunrise – Woke up at 3.00AM the next day. Mohan from HP was hungry and his noise had woken up half of the group. With not much left to do, laid idle till 4.00AM and then ventured out after that. It was bright outside due to the moonlight and spent a little time outside enjoying the chillness of western ghats, waiting for the sunshine. The expectation was that sun would rise majestically above a sea of clouds. What we got was disappointment, as Sun decided to play hide and seek with the help of mist & fog. Not a great sight after a strenuous 14KM trek.

7.30AM to 12.30PM – Pushpagiri to Bhattar’s Mane – Started the trek back at 7.30AM. Soon we saw the path we had trekked/crawled in the dark. At times ignorance is bliss. We had climbed a narrow, slippery hill where miscalculated step could have taken us direct to heavens. The rain forest was thick, it is still surprising to see that we had crossed it in pitch dark. Anyway the initial trek was fast and with occasional pit stops, reached Bhattar’s Mane a little faster. Had a sumptuous lunch which i finished with six cups of buttermilk and started the trek back through rain forest.

1.30PM to 4.30PM – In Rainy rain forest – The hunter shoe i bought for trekking and preventing leeches was causing more damage than the leeches. Had to slow down and i had Rakesh for company. We walked slowly through the last 2KM in the rain forest.  Every step ached at 6 or 7 points in each feet. Woodlands would have done a better job. I walked like a tortoise. How a trek in rain forest would be in heavy rain ? We were shown that as the heavens opened up. Yet another amazing experience!!!! It was surprising to see that it took around 15 minutes after start of rain for the few drops to reach us. The trees leaves were acting like umbrella till then. We continued walking slowly through the rain forest enjoying the rain. It was yet another wonderful experience.

End of 28KM trek – Soon the rain stopped, and we had also reached the end. Our gang was waiting for us. Looks like they reached around an hour before us. Anyway, we had completed the 28KM trek, trek to the highest point in South India successfully. What about leech attack ? Fortunately i didn’t suffer any during the trek, but at the end of the trek, discovered a leech sucking blood near my ears. I hate leeches. Checked into a hotel and had plans of visiting the river for a cool bath. But rains forced us for a rest which we did with full acceptance.

KumaraParvatha turned out to be most satisfactory, interesting and adventurous trek. The gang as usual was rocking!!!! The gang – Rakesh, Chandra from my company. Sai, Mohan, Anoop & Mahesh Kinni from HP.

Photos at – https://picasaweb.google.com/sskganesan/KumaraParvatha.

Mullayanagiri Trek

After two year, around the same time, we were there again with the same goal, to complete the Mullayanagiri – Bababudangiri – Kemmangundi trek. Started the planning with 6 people and the count suddenly soar to 17 in the middle with Eric anna and his old HCL team pitching in, finally we were 15. Tickets booked, tents arranged from BMC, foods stuffed in backpacks we were ready on friday night. Weather report said, 30% chance of storm on friday, saturday and Sunday, we decided to try our luck on the remaining 70% –  optimism 🙂 Few stuffs like Western ghats, south west monsoon, windward side, lee ward side which i had learnt in geography lingered in my mind for a while, but the trip was on.

Reached chickmagalur @ 4.45AM, checked into a small hotel (selection lodge), paid 850 for two rooms and we were ready for the trek at around 7.30AM. Booked a jeep for 700Rs to drop us @ Sarpadhari, the starting point of the trek. Additional Info: there is also private bus available next to chickmagalur bus stand, and it starts at 8.00AM.

Start of the trek: After around an hour journey reached Sarpadhari and around 8.30AM. As we had expected, he was waiting for us. The moment we stepped out of the jeep, it rained 🙂 Undetterred we started the Mullayanagiri ascent from Sarpadhari (sarpa – snake, dhari – path). The rain was brief but enough to make the path slippery. The ascent turned out to be pretty tough and drained a lot of energy. Remember the sleeping bags, tents and food items which added to the weight. Thanks to the rain, We were soon engulfed in mist. Beautiful green grass, misty white backgroun, cool breeze and soft drizzle. What else do you need. It was fantastic. Better felt, than explained.

Anyway the trek to the Mullayanagiri peak sucked a lot of time. Fortunate we didn’t have leeches to suck blood too. Atleast we didn’t care about them. At around 11.45 to 12.00AM we reached the peak. Explored the two caves a bit, recharged with a bit of snacks and started the next part. The walk to BSNL tower.

The Confusion: From mullayanagir, finding the path that would lead to BB Hills became a tough task. Tried my phone GPS, explored a few paths it didn’t help. Map reader, Sai tried with his compass and map, but we were stuck for a while. Discussions started, should we continue was the question ? It just reminded me about the last trip to Kemmangundi, where we climbed a peak, and when the discussion started and the trek was aborted. Thanks to Mani(HCL), he found a path and started exploring. I ran behind him. We explored for a while, and walked a few KMs and found there does exist a neat and clean path. Met a few BMC guys, who were stuck too. Told them about the path and came back to our gang. And the trek started again.

The Trek Continues: So we started the trek again at around 12.55PM. We started walking towards Attigundi. The path was neat and clean, and the trek was not at all difficult, when compared to the Mullayanagiri ascent from Sarpadhari. Enchanting views through out the path. The path continued to play hide and seek with the help of mist, but it was not tough to stay on the path. Around 1.30PM we were reminded about the Sun, and that gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful ridge in the front. The ridge is the next part to be covered to reach BB Hills. After around 30 minutes we reached the police checkpost, ending the first part of trek and the ridge in the front to be covered after lunch. Time was around 2.20PM

The Interruption: We were having lunch, when a forest officer met us with a smile. We had met him at Mullayanagiri peak, where he had given us some suggestions. Interacting we came to know that, we still have around 4hrs to cover (if we walked fast). And if it rains we would be stranded in the ridge, where we cannot camp too. So he suggested going to BB hills and camping there or booking a room there. With that he left, and rain arrived. So we decided to try our luck at BB hills. With the help of few forest gaurds, booked a jeep to BB hills. The forest gaurds were very very helpful. The jeep journey was fun, as i got an opportunity to travel, standing on the jeep steps and hanging to the back of the jeep. A wise decision, as the torrential rain would have wrecked havoc, if we had continued with the trek.

End of Trek: When we reached BB Hills, it was raining cats and dogs. The option of camping out, was ruled out. After some heavy lunch at a local hotel, looked for a room. Rooms were horrible. So decided to get back to chickmagalur to decide. Going back to Kemmangundi again next day, didn’t sound like a good option, so booked KSRTC tickets to bangalore. It was at chickmagalur i discovered a leech has managed to suck good amount of my blood. Can only wonder at the way they manage to suck blood without pain.

Though the trek ended, it was satisfactory when compared to the previous one. But still the place continues to amaze me. Should plan for the next trek to this place soon after the monsoon ends.

Photos @ https://picasaweb.google.com/sskganesan/MullayanagiriTrek#

Yercaud Trek

Anyway we reached Salem at around 4.45 AM. Rengasamy, who travels to Salem every weekend. He quickly took us to a coffee shop where we had a good Tea. And then the otherAfter a long long time, once again we went on a trekking trip. The trip was to Yercaud near Salem in Tamilnadu. We started at around 00.00AM from Bangalore and the crowd from Bangalore included, Musi, Pramod, DP, Eric, Rengasamy and myself. What could have been a peaceful journey was disturbed by Illaiya thalapathi’s movie, Sivakasi, where there were only punch dialogues and sentimental mokkais. Whenever i travel in TNSTC buses, i get to see only Sivakasi, Thirupaachi or Thamiraparani or some Ajith movie and not even one good movie. Probably a trick used by state govt to keep the drivers awake.

Whatever it is we reached Salem at around 4.45 AM. Rengasamy, who travels to Salem every weekend. He quickly took us to a coffee shop where we had a good Tea. And then the other people, Yousuf and Dhilip joined us in Salem. Boarded the bus that would take us to the “Adivaram” where the trekking is supposed to start. After 15 minutes of journey we started the trek.

The trek started exactly at 7.00AM. The weather was ok at that time, and think we had a lot of energy. So we climbed at a faster pace. First wicket to go down was Musi, who had lost all the energy after 30 minutes of walk. After some rest, the trek continued. Summer had just started and we could already feel the heat. With occassional rests the trip continued. We entered the estates around 9.30AM. The silver oak trees, and the coffee plants looked a little pleasant. We continued our trek through the estates and at around 10.00 AM the heat became unbearable. Musi developed a sprain in his legs, thankfully we had the pain killer. At around 12.00 we completed the trek at Ladies point, where we gulped some watermelon and pineapples. Funny part is we had eaten watermelon and pineapple for around 200 Rs.

Yousuf, had arranged for a car to travel to the resort, “Enchanting woods or E woods”  where we stayed. He is actually the owner of the resort. The resort has the caption, “Just do Nothing”. It was true, after reaching the resort, we did nothing 🙂 The resort was wondeful, in particular the food was awesome. Yousuf who had designed the rooms has done it a lot carefully. When we reached the resort lunch was ready, with rice, sambhar, rasam, fish fry, omlette and papad. After a fantastic meal, all the tired souls rested in peace, with only Deivapalan’s dinosaurus snores disturbing the silent atmosphere. By evening the sleep had given us a lot of energy and we decided to burn some calories playing cricket.

After cricket it was time for some barbeque. Yousuf had arranged for a barbecues and we feasted on Chicken barbecue and Musi the only veg guy munched on the veg barbecue made of cauliflower, potato and onion. After that we had dinner too !!! Parotta and Chappathi, with fish gravy was awesome. Yercaud which was annoyingly hot in the morning was pleasingly cool in the evening. Few brave guys like Pramod, Eric and Yousuf decided to sleep outside, willing to bare the cold. I stayed there for a while watching the stars and talking about some stuffs which i am not able to recollect now.

Next day once again we started with Cricket. Street cricket has weird rules, Pramod made it a lot weirder by introducing -ve runs whenever we lose our wicket. In between  had breakfast of bread, panniyaram, omlette, mango jam. Yousuf also demonstrated how to prepare coffee from the coffee seeds. After that continued with game of cricket, took bath, had good lunch of chicken, jeera rice, egg etc. Wanted to catch the SETC UD bus from salem to Bangalore. Could catch that without issues. In Salem, got parotta parcelled for dinner from the infamous Selvi Mess and it proved to be a little too spicy requiring around 2 litres of water for 2 parottas.

Forgetting the hot weather at Yercaud, it is a memorable trip once again.

P.S. – Had presses Ctrl+x Ctrl + s few times in Emacs, which actually posted it in the blog. Sorry if your feed nad got messed up..

Kemmanagundi, Bababudangiri and Mulainagiri Trek

It started as a highly spirited trek. The photos from other blogs added a lot of excitement to the already excited mind. So thus started the trip to Kemmanagundi, with most of them belonging to the usual gang(Nilamagal Kadhalargal) and without few. We started off in Shimoga Express that starts from Bangalore at 11.30PM. Reached Tarikere at around 5.45 since the train was late by around 1.15 hours. From Tarikere took a bus to Lingdahalli, from where we paid 500 to a mini vegetable van to take us to Kemmanagundi. The driver chose the shortest route, but it has to be the worst one i guess. With 11 packed inside it a little difficult one. Anyway thats the only option left to you since the first Bus to KG is only around 9.30AM. We started the much awaited trek after refreshment at Traveller’s Bungalow.

The weather at KG was unbeatable. Neither too cold, nor too hot. With the mists, caressing the grasses at will, it was a wonderful sight. And the mountains covered with green lush grasses, i am seeing it for the first time. Occasional drizzling, ran out of words to explain. Now the excitement level crossed 100% with ease. Finally the trek started. The tall grasses and the drizzling raised some suspicion about leeches, the tiny insects we dread the most. But we didn’t find any then, so the trip started with a lot of enthusiasm. First point of confusion came, when paths(looked like) diverged towards left and right. We took the right one and thats where it was not right. Little did we know we are invading the leech territory and there are millions of armed warriors waiting for the taste of blood. Worst part was we were unarmed, or not prepared. Worstest part was two of the gang were not wearing shoes 🙂 Courage disappeared, panic stroked, in the rush of adrenalin think we reached the top in few minutes 🙂 Thanks to the leeches!!!

Two in the gang, Mani and Peter were the feast for the leeches. I suffered a small one, where a determined leech has started sucking blood through my socks. But it was nowhere when compared to the attacks Mani, Peter and Pramod has suffered. Next hour wasted in cleaning the leeches, soaking the socks in dettol, applying tobacco mixed in castor oil to the legs etc etc. Make it a point to remember that, tobacco mixed with castor oil when applied prevents leech attack to an extent. Good that leeches have not caused much damage. Bad that this was enough for the courage in people to disappear. Adding to all these, there was a small forest cover to cross. Done. Few wanted to take the risk, few did not. Taking the risk and safety, the end of group discussion saw us retreating with the trek put on hold and with plans of continuing it next day from a different location.
The best part of the trek was the lunch. We had burnt some energy, and even bread and pickle were delicious. We were left with just few bread packets.

Next plan was to go to Gallikere by bus. Went to the bus stop to find that there are just two buses to KG one at morning 10.15AM and another one at 4.15PM. With nowhere to go, decided to stay in KG and started setting up our tents. To our dismay, one of our tent was in a very bad shape. This time we had tried renting out tents from “Adventure Era” or something and we had to pay the price. We setup two tents and decided to just sleep inside sleeping bags with the tent just spread out. Luckily we rented out a room in the dormitory available there and the night went without further troubles.

The next day, woke up early and started to Hebbe falls. Adding to our woes, wheel of a jeep we went got punctured. But that gave opportunity to trek for two KMs to few of us. We had to walk few more kilometers, crossing three small streams and tackling the leeches to reach the falls. Bath in the falls was awesome anyway. Managed to catch the 10.15AM bus from KG, reached Lingdahalli, caught bus to Chickmagalur, finishing the lunc there and started the trip back to Bangalore.

Bababudangiri, Mulainagiri remains unexplored. Few misses, few hurdles, but the trip was great and enjoyable one. What matters the most is the crowd with which you go. We have a great gang which rocks everywhere. Blog cant end without mention of the the people involved, it was Prabhu, Pramod, DP (Deepy), Thirukumaran Annas and Mani, Musi, Praveen, Bharathi, Peter, myself and our Captain, Muthukumar.

KG offers a great scope for photography, since you get a glimpse of virgin nature in purest form at few spots. So every photo looks beautiful without special efforts. Check out mine at http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/KemmanagundiTrip#.

Waiting for the next trip/trek.