Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kumara Parvatha

This trek was long overdue, but I could not make the time for it or didn't find the people to go with. Finally, this came through and how. Thanks to our "no idea where we want to go, but we have to go on a trek" mindset, Guru, Raghu, and Myself decided to meet at Majestic around 9ish and later think about the place we were planning to go.

In Majestic, after a little discussion about where we wanted to go, we started the bus-hunt. It was decided that we would go to Gundia and then decide the place. Due to the Christmas weekend, buses were booked and we finally managed to board a bus (seats in the last row) at around 10.30. Thanks to our driver's unconcern, with the bus bouncing and dancing on the road, with nape pain, we reached Gundia at around 6.30 and from there we decided we would trek KP (Kumara Parvatha).

Once we reached kukke, we had our breakfast and started the arduous trek. Guru, having done this trek many a times, led us to the starting point of the trek. We knew it would be difficult. We took our own sweet time and moved at a snail's pace. On the way, we were greeted by many people, some as old as 60 and some young as 6. The route is pretty laid out, and one would not find any difficulties. It was no surprise that there were way too many people doing this trek.

We kept bumping into many groups and some eventually sharing the campsite with us. We were rusty and moved very slowly and finally reached "Bhattara MAne" at around 1. We decided not to eat as there was a huge number of people waiting to be fed. We reached the Girigadde APC. Here, we spent very little time and headed towards the peak. The ascent was slow and became even slower and slower. We reached "Mantapa," one of water sources. We filled our bottles and headed towards Sheshagiri. Looking at Sheshagiri, Raghu exasperated that at least we can see the peak from here. To his dismay, Guru informed that this was not the Kumara Parvatha peak. In the burning sun, through the grasslands, up we went (though very slow). I took out my umbrella to save myself from the sun.

We reached the Sheshagiri peak by around 5ish. As Guru knew, there was another source of water just before the base of the steep climb to KP. As there were as many people on the peak as there would be in a little village, we decided to camp in the forest below around 10 mins from the water source. Guru left to fill up the bottles for our cooking purposes, I and Raghu collected firewood for the fire. As we were all set to camp, one more group inquired about the peak and decided to halt with us. These were a decent bunch of guys and I told them that we do not have enough wood and sent them to fetch some wood. These guys were cooperative and brought enough wood to keep the fire burning through the night. As the 2 groups were about to settle down, a huge gang of midlife morons, at least some of them, crashed onto the site. They had no food, no intent to help, they leeched us for food.

By this time, Guru came back with the water and I had started the fire by then. This time, Guru had taken the responsibility of the Food Department, and I was the cook (as always). This time around, the menu was "churmuri." As I was preparing, one of the "leech" wanted to taste it and I gave him and he apparently asked for a second serve which I did not notice (informed later by Guru that he was asking). After 2 rounds of "churmuri," it was time for some MTR Ready to eat stuff. I hardly had an appetite and ended up wasting more than half of my food.

During the night, one of the guys from the "Leech Gang," in high spirits, started yelling and singing and what not. I was irritated to the core. What infuriated me more was the fact that they could bring alcohol but not food or water. Some how, I slept from 7.30 to 1.30 (snoring away to glory I was informed). When I woke up at 1.30, the fire had almost died out and it was cold. The other group had started another fire, and I kept both of these burning as I was the only one awake after 2. I rekindled the fire again and kept it burning till 4 when Guru decided to wake up. At around 4.30, Guru and I went to the water hole and cleaned the vessel with which the other group had made Maggi and brought some more water.

We reached our campsite where most of the people from both the groups were awake and warming themselves in the fire. We made a hot cup of coffee and drank as one of the "leeches" managed to get some coffee from us which he drank from one of the brandy bottles.

From there, we packed our bags and left for the Kumara Parvatha peak in hopes to make it before sunrise. After about 30 minutes we were on top of the peak waiting for sunrise (surprisingly after all the treks that I have made, never have I seen a sunrise atop a peak). At around 6.30 am, the sun came out and it was magnificent. After some pictures (Raghu thought it was wise to not bring his camera and we never missed an opportunity to let him know about this. We had to get by with Guru's camera), we were lazing around on the peak.

What pained me most was the amount of filth atop the peak, garbage everywhere. Nevertheless, at around 8, we started the descent and it was smooth though it is an ankle breaker. At around 11, we reached the Girigadde APC. Here, we were welcomed by the shelter that is being built by them. Here, the officer in charge was friendly and allowed us to cook in his kitchen. Guru and Raghu made some Maggi and ate. I did not want to eat Maggi and just ate a cucumber in hopes of eating food at a hotel in Kukke. When Guru was inside cooking, the officer tried on his goggles and wanted to buy it from Guru.

From there, it was a no-nonsense descent. Guru knew that there was a waterfall nearby and asking local kids who were on the descent, we reached the waterfall and spent some time there. By 2ish, we were in the town and booked a room. We knew there would be no buses available as we had inquired earlier. We freshened up and ate. We decided to take the train, but on inquiring again at the KSRTC booking counter, we were informed that there were 2 buses which had no booking, so we decided to try our luck. We went to the temple, but there were way to many people and it was almost 7 p.m and we decided to come back without the "darshan."

We reached the bus stand at around 8.30 and after inquiring for a while, we were guided to the bus by one of the persons who works in the office. The only interesting thing on the return journey was the girl who sat in the adjacent row. Well, sigh, by 4 a.m., we were back in Bangalore.

Cost - ~ 800 Rs.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mogala Betta..

I sat there waiting for them in the reservation counter. I made it early this time around because I had slept through my scheduled bus to Kodaikanal last time :o). Now, a group of 6 (Guru, Roti, Sri, Ravi, Sandeep, myself) had assembled for the trek. Before boarding the bus to Majestic, I did something which I normally don't do. I'll get back to this later...

It was around 11:30 p.m., and we boarded the bus to Gundia. After an uneventful and uncomfortable ride, we reached Gundia maybe around 7ish. We had tea and Roti locked the compass, and it was decided we had to trek northeast through the forest on the grassland and to the peak. Everybody underestimated the humidity factor and paid the price for it. After walking through the forest for 2-3 hours, Sandeep was out of water and the betta was nowhere in sight. Everybody decided to have breakfast. I ate some biscuits, din't feel like eating. Then what felt like a pretty long wasted break, we started trekking again.

We reached a point where there were Amla trees, we stopped for the new recruits and waited... and waited.. and waited.. I could not stop myself but climb up the trees to pick some Amlas and did manage to get quite a lot of them. By this time, Ravi and Sandeep made it to where we were. They decided to head back from that point back to Gundia retracing the route (I had my doubts).

We 4, Roti, Guru, Sri, and myself, started the trek again. By this time, Roti, Guru, and Sri were dangerously low on water. I had a liter and a half left with me. From that point on, we could see the part of the peak of the precursor peak of Mogala Betta. But surprisingly, I did not feel the need to drink that much water while others were almost out.

Half-way mark; Sri called it quits.. Guru had cramps in both legs and could not move. Roti and me were the only people standing. Roti was raring to go, Sri could not move and Guru's legs would not let him. It was 3 in the afternoon, 2 wanted to trek back and 2 wanted to go to the peak. After haggling, we decided to go for it. Roti carried Sri bag for a while, I think this spelled doom for him, and after that he said he cannot make it. 60% into the trek, while we were sitting under a tree, it rained. Guru and I collected water running down the ribs of the umbrella and drank it. Eww.. tasted like it came off somebody's boots.. Then, rejuvenated Sri said he can make it to the peak.

Finally, Mogala betta embraced by clouds came into view, beautiful!!! I hadn't eaten anything apart from the biscuits; Roti warned that I would not make it if I don't eat. I tightened my pace, leaving the others out of my sight, and made it to almost 90% and sat there waiting for them... To my surprise, Roti took a detour to the adjacent peak and was on to the descent, Sri followed him. Guru, dehydrated and cramped with his voice shrilling like a girl :-P, tried to follow me to the peak. I waited for sometime, but it was already around 6. I left my bag on one of the boulders and dashed to the peak. Wonderful, but damn.. as soon as I reached the peak, huge clouds blinded my view. I could barely see 5-10 feet in front of me. I waited for a while and then saw another peak which seemed a little taller than the one I was on. I dashed onto that, as I was scampering from peak to peak, light was fading away. A while later as the clouds started clearing, I scoured around and figured I was on the highest peak to as far as I could see, I ran down to join the others.

I rejoined then and down the ridge we went, the pace was slow. It was 7 when we hit the forest valley. It was decided that we would trek through the forest using our flashlights and a sickle. Roti, too tired, asked me to lead the way. After a while in the forest abrading and bruising ourselves, we found a dried-up stream. We followed the treacherous stream (because of the nightfall) and actually found some water. It was around 9:30 in and we decided to halt; found a boulder, which would in normal circumstances seat 2 people. We four tried to cram up onto that boulder. Wood was all wet and could not start a fire.

At around 11 or 11:30, it started pouring down. Out came the umbrellas again. Sri was outcold. He was lying on the leech infested forest floor and he was drenched with a white towel around his face, I swear he looked like a dead body. But amazingly, he did not wake up at all and slept through the rain. After an hour, the rains let up, and I was on the wrong part of the boulder, I kept sliding down whenever I tried to lie down, so I decided to sit-sleep my night. At around 2, it started pouring down again. By this time, I was going in and out of sleep holding the umbrella.

Good morning it was.. At around 7, we started trekking again following the stream. After about 45 minutes of trek through the stream and some path alongside the stream, we reached a stream which had running water. We sat there clearing ourselves of those darn leeches, it still itches, ;), for an hour.. I bowed down to the leech gods and sacrificed my boots to them; anyways they had already claimed it. By no time after that, we reached Gundia. Roti jumped into his Proline nightwear and onto a bus to Bangalore, funny guy. Even the driver was laughing, ehehe.. Guru, Sri, and me went to Kukke.

We booked a bus back to Bangalore, we roamed around in Kukke and after lord's darshan, boarded a bus back to Bangalore. The driver of our bus was not in no mood to tailgate behind slow-ass drivers and drove past them kicking dust into the air and letting them eat his dust; I think I saw Michael Schumacher inscribed on the nameplate, maybe I am just hallucinating from the trek which gave me a kick(ya!! it even rhymes), but thanks to him, we were 1-2 hours early to Bangalore.

1: Amazing trek, loved all the moments.
2: About what I said in my intro, I had bought 3 Frooti TetraPaks before I boarded the Majestic bus and had 2 liters of water; I normally don't do this kind of stuff :) It was too tasty I suppose, they gulped it down near the stream.
3: Roti was not in his elements in the latter half of the trek.
4: All Sri needs to rekindle his zest is water..
5: We saw Bheem; Sri would remember him with his doggy bag for his journey!! ;-P

SORRY!! I don't yet have the photos.. Here's Roti's Picasa and blog links:
Roti's Blog:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

GO...Karna - Which way??

Having been down with a flu today, this one is from the archives, I thought of jolting down my trip to Gokarna. It was way back in December 2008. This is all from memory, and I have a selective memory, so here it goes..

Its been a long time: It started with Gururaj (Guru) wanting to go to Idagunji (Shri Mahaganapathi Temple), and he managed to talk Rohit (Roti), Harsh (dude from the west), Sanjeeb (dude from the east), and myself into it.

Sakkat falls: Initially, the plan was to go to Dabbe falls and trek to the falls, camp there for 1 night, trek back and catch a bus to Bangalore the next night. Once we boarded the bus to Honnavar, the heavens opened up and almost all through the way it was raining. We got down at Honnavar took a tempo/minibus to Idagunji, and after the darshan, we took a red bus and back to Honnavar. After a local version of Coca-Cola (A-One) and having waited in the bus stop for nearly 2 hours and since it was still gloomy and probably going to rain, we decided that it would probably be a good idea to go somewhere else. After a small discussion, me and Guru decided that Gokarna was our best bet. Others were game for it, but Roti seemed a little apprehensive since had already been there.

I am not hungry: Nevertheless, we boarded the next bus to Kumta. From there we made our way to Gokarna. Since we were all hungry, we decided to eat something in a restaurant in the bus stop. It was filthy and dirty and we a saw an old beggar lie on the table and actually managing to get some food from the hotel incharge. I and Guru decided not eat anything, while the other 3 were too hungry to say "naa-ahh." Then, we too gave in to hunger and ate some ice cream.

Room Hudku Mari(Find a room): Going by our hotel incharge's advice, we found a guy who apparently had rooms and showed it to us. After having taken a look at the room which was quite decent, we decided that it was too far from the beach and it would be stupid of us to check in here. So, we decided to rent a shack for a day somewhere near the beach.

Local nan Maklu(Bloody Indians): We reached Kudle beach around evening and we bingoed on to a place (Sea View), and he reluctantly gave us a shack (Rs. 200). His condition was that only 2 people were allowed to stay, and we were 5. We told him only 2 were going to stay in the room (boy!! did we fool him. He he he)..

Beach.alli Tent Haakana Mari (Lets pitch a tent on the beach dude): After having had the thought of pitching a tent and chewing upon the idea of it for sometime while we had some food and beer, nobody actually had the courage to and ask the owner about us pitching a tent smack in front of his hotel. What's wrong with a tent you say, wait till you see our tent. I eventually gathered some courage and pitched the idea about pitching a tent in front of the hotel to the owner, and without a second thought, he agreed. Of course, we needed fire. While the guys were at it trying to pitch a tent, I went in and coaxed some of the busboys to give me some kerosense for the campfire. After some ego clashes and ingenoius ideas, we finally managed to pitch the tent. Roti went and brought something that resembled a "chatta" (actually thatch made from coconut leaves). I was laughing my ass off. Finally, we managed to squeeze ourselves into the tent. Oh yeah, almost forgot, despite the so called "manager" telling us not to take the wood kept for construction as firewood, we did exactly that. But it was good wood, hehe, kept the campfire burning away to glory all night. We saw one videshi version of Baba Ramdev too.

Banni, Koothkoli, Mathaadana (come, sit, lets talk ): After the noise died down, I was just lying down and enjoying the sound of the waves hitting the shore and the stars twinkle, lo!! a shadow of a man. I woke up and went near the campfire, and I saw a firangi again. He wanted to join in, so I just called him and he sat down and we yapped until others got up from their nap and more firangis joined in. After all the firangis left, it was 2 or 3 in the morning, and we decided to sleep. Nobody was comfortable in the tent, one by one, we sneaked into the shack (we broke the 2-people-per-shack and the no-taking-wood-for-burning rules).

Enn Muchhitidya (What have you hidden): Early morning, we dove right into the water. Roti and Sanjeeb were lazing on the beach, when who should appear but our "Mama" (Police). After questioning about the tent and the camera which was apparently beneath a towel, he left. Later in the afternoon, we made our way to Paradise beach. We went up a hillock and came down sweating like pigs and decided to eat at an eatery there. We had to wait for our boat to come back that we took from Kudle beach. We reached Kudle, packed our bags, and left for Bangalore. All the buses were booked, and after running around the town looking for agents to book some tickets without success, we somehow managed to get a bus to Bangalore. An uneventful journey, back in Bangalore and back to the mundane life.