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: http://trekforlife.blogspot.com/2010/05/mogala-betta-virgin-trek.html