Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Belligundi Falls

Well i wasnt so well and that was when i was still undecided whether to make it or not for the Belligundi trek

After a lot of thinking i finally decided to go ahead with the trek.

Location : Belligundi falls
Route : Deep inside the forest -Sharavathy valley
Rating : Tough

Team members : Shivakumar,Rajesh,Sachin,Prasanna,Jovin,Karyn,Parag,Arjun,Mohan and Shashidhara

We all reached Kargal by the sleeper bus at around 8 am.We were joined by Karyn.So in total we were 10 people ,had breakfast at the resturant and started our journey to Kaarni which is about 45 kms from Kargal.From here we enter the forest ,some real dense forest.

This area is somewhat peculiar ,has some strange razor sharp climbers that one has to be careful with ,else it will just make a cut on your skin ,i experienced it :( .

We then trek along the river bed for quite sometime ,we are enveloped on both sides by very dense forest.Each of us are in our own world ,by now our friend Rajesh shows that he is real guy who has a flair for water :).We stop over for little over an hour for lunch at one such beautiful place in the middle of nowhere .Some nice hot and inviting sambar rice.To our surprise our cooks have estimated the correct amount of food for the entire group ,since only very little was left over after all of us had sufficient helps.
Then we trek along the stream bed.Sometimes it becomes really tricky to cross over the stream bed since it tends to be slippery one has to be careful.Around 3:30 pm we reach the water fall,the entire team go down to enjoy except me,Mohan and sachin since we were all dead tired by now and we still had not reached our destination.

After the boys had a splash at the waterfalls we decided to head to padubeedu ,again this starts with a slight ascent,I was damn tired by now ,we reached the sunset point near padubeedu and relaxed with a cup of tea.i was damn tired and decided to sleep now .The entire team where enjoying a great round of antakshari .I woke up around 9pm and joined them.Soon it was time for dinner and we retired for the day.

The night was colder than i expected and managed to get sleep in batches .Narayana though he was kinder to us ,intially he told that he would wake us up at 5 am ,woke us up at 6am .We got up and finished our ablutions and we had breakfast -upittu ,we started at 7:30 am to our destination -Belligundi falls.

In an hour or so we reached the day 1 waterfalls ,from where we need to trek further into the jungle.We started our long and ardous trek.This trek was interspersed by walking on the boulders as well as walking in the jungle.Some of it was ascent and some of it was plain trek.And then we all reached the starting point of the descent.This is the most treacherous part of the trek.We need to trek about 1.5-2kms down hill with a rate of angle of almost 80 degrees.Most of the forest is covered with falling leaves below which might be one or two loose one had to be careful.

I still remember the faces of my fellow trekkers when we started the descent ,how would be trek back such a steep ascent on our way back.Behind me was sachin and both of us exchanged glances on more than a few occassions when we saw that huge stones rolled down the hill when narayana was climbing down ahead of us.

Finally at around 10 am we reached the bottom of the falls of Belligundi.Hold on,if you think the trek is over there is more ,lots more.We had to climb up hill through the rocks.Water flows down from the waterfalls.It is quite tricky to climb up this rocky streambed.I took my own time and one of the last to reach the falls.Since it is summer water was less ,but it was ideal to have a bath.I couldnt resist myself and soon i joined the gang below the falls.The experience of standing under the falls is just awesome ,really enjoyed it to the hilt.We were there near the falls for about half an hour before we decided to head back.We decided to have lunch at an upstream on the way .So we all headed to a small stream ahead.We soon had our lunch.I must mention the dog here which followed us right through our trek.We made sure that the dog had lunch as well,since it was going to be a tough uphill trek on the way back.

The uphill was really steep.Huffing and puffing ,i was one of the last person to climb up :).At about 3pm we had a break to rest for a while.Narayana was kind enough to take us in a shorter route on the way back.We reached our destination at about 4pm after taking sufficient breaks enroute to padubeedu.Finally on the back ,when we were just about 3kms away he dropped the bombshell when i asked him the distance,he revealed that todays trek was only 24kms :).But i enjoyed the trek to the hilt for the following reasons :

1)Dense forest cover(we hardly encountered any sunshine on the way)
2)Wonderful co-operative team
3)Excellent time management by our guide Narayana
4)Above all the awesome Belligundi falls made it all worthwhile :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Maakuta -Pattimalai

Maakuta is a small place which is not known to many people and getting permission here is quite a task.Getting here in monsoon is just out of question due to the army of leeches found in these dense jungles

This trek was organized by Yhai.We were about 9 people in total,we set out in the rajahamsa bus to Virajpet our interim destination before heading towards maakuta.We reached Virajpet at 4:30 am .All of us were sleepy .Some of us freshened up by brushing our teeth and going to the loo.We had tea and coffee as well in the only shop that was opened right in front of the bus-stand.We were also joined by a trek gang who later left towards tadiyandamol.

We took permission from the range officer and had breakfast.We all then had to wait for sometime before a jeep was arranged to move towards Maakuta.It is about 30 kms from virajpet and soon we had a ride to the hell.The road here is pathetic and would shake up all the bones we had in our body.By the time we arrived at the destination we were all covered in dust totally.

We had a quick wash and soon set out for our destination on day 1 which was about 6 kms.It was about 10:30 am when we started the trek.We had a decent tree cover and but one could defintely feel the heat when we met sunshine in between.Soon we met some people who were repairing a small bridge ,who were greatful enough to offer us food .We thanked them and moved forward.We reached the APC at about 12 pm and soon started our cooking .The guides here were really helpful.After a quick lunch we headed towards the hanging bridge one side of which is in karnataka and the other side is situated in kerala.

It was quite humid when we started at around 1:30 after our lunch.Soon we reached the hanging bridge.Most of the people decided to take a plunge and relax in the Barampole river which flows below the hanging bridge.I was damn sleepy since i hadnt had a good sleep since we had reached Virajpet at 4:30 am in the morning.Soon we headed to the kerala side which is very little forest cover and most of it is cashew plantations.We helped ourselves to be some delicious ripe cashew fruits.We then headed to a village nearby where we had tea and coffee.After relaxing our muscles due to the steep climb we had just had ,we decided to head back this time crossing the barampole river at another location and once again head back to the forest

The forest here is quite dense and one cant even dream of coming in these jungles in the moonsoon season since the forest floor will be covered by leeches .We soon reached our APC -our base camp for the day

Some of them including me decided to head for a stream since i was just feeling very uneasy due to the humidity and the heat.Soon our team decided to head downstream and i found a cozy spot for myself a little upstream.I spent about one hour in the stream and boy was it relaxing.These are the moments i cherish where one can be with nature and listen to its silence ,it was a truly a heaven and i thank god that i have born in a heaven called "Karnataka"

We headed back to the APC a small distance away from the stream and soon we had coffee.Then cooking for dinner started and it was sambhar and rice.I must really thank my co-trekker Priyanka since she was the one who prepared the sambhar and it was just awesome :).Total distance trekked on day 1 is 13 kms

Remember there is no current in this APC,so after dinner we decided to sleep since we had got up early on that day.We decided to sleep outside ,but before we slept our guide prem added once more that elephants had been here at the APC,and even leapords ,tigers have been spotted near the APC.With the water hole pretty near the APC it was just at the back of my mind when i slept.

At around 3 am it became very cold and i decided to sleep inside the room in the APC,the guides let me in to sleep and soon i was snoring away peacefully.The next day we decided to head early since the peak was a long distance away .We started the trek at 8am and after a decent start of 2 kms ,was when the actual ascent starts.Soon we started the climb.I had made sure that i was fully loaded with water -2 lts since there is no water untill 3 kms downhill from the peak at that is atleast 4-5 hours away.This climb to the peak is one of the toughest i have ever had in my short trekking career.The ascent never stops ,we did take enough breaks and finally at 12:45 pm we hit the peak,there is nothing much on the peak except that there is a watch tower ,one can see the beautful ranges all around.And it was only much later that i came to know that the steep climb that we had climbed was 10kms!!!!!

I hadnt worn a cap and the sun was just blazing away ,i decided to protect my head with my towel,which i think was a good decision.While climbing downhill we saw many elephant excreta and soon we hit a water stream.The guides didnt allow us to stop here and have lunch since they were wary of the elephants around.So we headed a little further around 2kms .Then it was time to relax ,i washed by face and poured water to the boiling body of mine which needed some rest.I had mtr ready to eat and soon we headed to our destination which was a coffee estate nearby.We finally reached the coffee estate at around 3pm.Total distance trekked on day 2 -18kms

A couple who lived there who were generous enough to allow us to rest while our guides went to the nearby village to arrange for vehicles to reach virajpet.So i will remember this trek to be special since this trek has exceeded all my expectation in terms of personal satisfaction of climbing the peak successfully fully loaded with a bag of 4kg :)