I was all set on Day 1 to meet up in front of Hotel Hablis at Guindy. It was Thursday, Jan 22nd, 2015 and we had planned to reach Kukke by car, we were totally 8 people in 2 cars. 8:30 PM was the meet up time, Arun had come home to pick me and drop me at the meeting point. Since it was a long time that we had met and Arun not being part of the trip thought of catching up with everyone.
Arun & myself reached Guindy at 8:35 PM, while Allwyn called me up and told that he is just starting and will reach by 9:00PM. Rajnikanth(read as Ravikanth), Johnny, Shyam, Reddy garu and Allwyn finally came in another 20-25 minutes, except for Bala. We called up Bala (who resides just 5 minutes away from the meeting point) who had caught up with something. Finally, he also reached the spot with all the food items packed for the trek. Bala’s whole family was involved in making the chapatis, packing it and few things were bought-out. Arun had to leave early as the next day was a special occasion (will discuss about this later) and Chandru could not join as well as he had few new clients visiting him. The journey started finally.
Myself and Arun had awesome chapatis with vegetable curry at my place. Enroute we had to pick Saravanar (read as Saravanan) at Ramapuram. After picking him up, we travelled searching for a restaurant, the same Dhaba that we had dinner in our earlier trip to Sharavathi. After crossing Sriperumbudur, you find a HP fuel pump where the Punjabi Dhaba is situated with a super awesome recessed parking from the highway. In the joy of dining the same Dhaba we gave our usual order of Mutton, Chicken, Kadai curry and almost all the available non-veg curries there. Since I had awesome food at home, I limited myself with 2 rotis and we all winded up from there.
All our chit chats started, I was in Bala’s car so that we could share driving during the long distance. This time it was 700 km’s one way. One by one people slept songs, chit chats, toll booths, after couple of hours tea break everything was part of our trip. Since Chandru was not in this trip, Shyam took up the role of accountant(actually forced to).
Our plan was to reach Bhat’s house for the Day-2 night stay. The Bhat’s place itself needs to be trekked for around 5 Kms from Kukke. We reached Mysore by early morning, since the route to Kukke from Hassan was blocked, we had to take up the Mysore, Madikeri route. After the breakfast, few humpy bumpy roads, detours and with comfort breaks we reached Kukke by 2:00 PM. Had food first, searched a place to park our vehicles, in order to make a safe place we booked a room for Day 3 night’s stay and we parked our vehicles there in the hotel. None of us had taken a bath post the 700kms journey and it was appearing on everyone’s faces. Each of us were smelling with sweat.
Backpacks loaded, finally we set off for the trek. As we started trekking, it was a bit tiring to everyone, our heartbeats were so loud that the nearby person could hear that. Maybe because we were trekking after a long break.With breaks, we proceeded with a bit of difficulty, honestly. The day’s dawn gone and slowly the night invited us. When the darkness was about to cover Ravi saw two foxes running by, he took pictures with his mobile phone. As we trekked up with our torches in hand we were unable to find the Bhat’s house as mentioned in the blogs, none of us had been there earlier too. But all other signs were there – the big rock and the forest department’s board according to this blog. In Pitch dark, stars were awesome with the crescent. Everyone was tired significantly, especially those who drove overnight.
A small decision came up to spread the tarpaulin right there and sleep as we had water, food, sleeping bags almost all the emergency things. The one big problem we found was to attend to the nature’s call (excretion). Since we were all travelling we did not stop for that particular task, the carbon dioxides started polluting the environment. This time Allwyn came up with full preparations, a big wet wipe pouch. I grabbed it from him and went into the dark to attend to my nature’s call, the foxes were jumping in my minds though, kind of distracting, you know. 😉
We stood in the middle of the jungle with no direction to proceed further, one thing we knew was we were close to the Bhat’s house, we started shouting repeatedly but there was no response. I asked Saravanan to blow the whistle as he use to carry, he searched all over in his bag and waved off his hands. I always felt that he is kinda jungle man who loves nature and that is also one of the reason we were there. Ravi started whistling with his finger’s help. No response. But Bala’s ears were a bit powerful, he said some noises are coming from the west, who know where is west.! As Saravanan is interested in exploring he went towards that direction around 20 steps and shouted, but no response. To add on there was no mobile network.
We all were stranded in middle of the forest around 8:30 PM, finally something happened and we found the Bhat’s house, as you could imagine it was very close to us may be within 100 meters, but it was bit down hill. We walked down towards the kind of small valley. Once we reached, we introduced ourselves to Bhat and requested him for dinner. We had called him from Kukke and let him know that we were coming, Bala had a phone which works inside the forests. 😉
At Bhat’s house, there were already people from Bangalore, probably from a college, girls and boys who were enjoying their time. Finally, we had rice and sambar as our dinner and hit the sacks quickly. The plan was to wake up early morning and reach the peak by noon and reach back the base (kukke) by late evening so that we will have two more days to explore the nearby places.
Day : 3 – We woke up early morning, done with our morning rituals(hei, it was pending for 2 days). It was cold but bearable though in the morning. As the day proceeded the sun was burning on us. Enroute we had chapatti as our breakfast with variety of pickles. We trekked further towards the peak, as we proceeded there was no water and we saw people who trekked from other side of the peak, from Somwarpet. We trekked and reached the peak where we had some awesome views. All the way Reddy assumed himself as a model and posed for pics crazily to all of our cameras. Ravi was the one who clicked many pics of himself and the team as well. We started back, while we saw many youngsters heading to the peak, probably from a college or from an IT company. Few were wearing jeans and I assumed they might be having their first trek!!
As we reached back to Bhat’s house it was 6:00 PM, where we had a quick break, filled our water bottles and started heading down. The day was a packed one. As we headed down, Johnny had a small injury. Saravanan helped him find a piece of timber, that could be used while descending, much helpful. Allwyn had a sweet emergency back home, received message while climbing itself. He needs to go home which was 700 kms away. Bala said ‘I would love if I go and have rest lying on the bed whole day at home.’ With all this things in head, we trekked down from Bhat’s house, it was draining. Another 5 kms trekking, we would reach the base and there was a room with comfortable bed waiting for us. But every step was painful, I had sufficient, actually more breaks in order to get myself down properly. Johnny sweared on the big rock not to take any break till he reached the base and he did follow it. As I was the one who reached the base first, I slept on the road itself till everyone reached.
The time was 10:30 PM, we went to the hotel room and 3 in the group stayed at room. Remaining 5 went for food, the hotels were still open. We filled our stomach with dangerously mixing the food items and had some parcelled for the team mates back in the room. The plan was to visit the temple next day morning and head back home. Way back if anything worthy of visiting, will do. Totally we trekked an altitude of 1400 mts and 26 kms.
Day :4- We started from Kukke around 12 noon, had a leisure day, kind of at least. Enough food for breakfast, we skipped lunch needless to say. We were heading to Dubare Elephant camp, visited Elephants and the girls over there at Thala cauvery for the holidays. Bala had a fashion shoot there 😉 Spent enough time and started from there with the intention of reaching Chennai by Day-5 morning. It became evening and we had stopped by in a bakery to fill the stomach. We thought of having momos, but no reliable info, so we stopped by a bakery.
Reached Mysore and we were about to take the highway to Bangalore while it was time for dinner. Peeked out our sights for a promising hotel, Saravanan said that last week he was here and nothing was good. We skipped around 4-5 restaurants and we have no intention of taking the highway without dinner. Suddenly there was a board that read as “Poojari’s seafood Hotel” Johnny shouted from the back, this restaurant serves good food and that he had been their earlier. We all headed inside, almost bulk orders, started with clear crab soup, and the list goes on with prawn curry, prawn tandoori, Neer dosa, Butter chicken masala, Mutton gravy, Chicken ginger no idea where we finished the order. Somehow we had completed dinner and paid the bill(this bill alone was 15 % of the whole trip’s expenses). Final touch with a sweet beeda.
Started driving and reached Chennai by 6:00 AM on Day 5. I gave back the wet wipe pack back to Allwyn. Allwyn’s sister had given birth to a beautiful baby, Allwyn became an uncle. He rushed back home and pacified the family members with much less effort not as he feared. Bala went with the intention of buying country chicken for lunch, the whole day reserved for rest. By the way Arun has his engagement on Day 2.
Later Allwyn told us that he went straight to the hospital and coincidentally his sister was getting discharged from the hospital, he brought her back home and hit the bed at 2:00 PM, woke up for dinner at 10:00 PM, had hot dosas by his mom, hit back the bed and woke up next morning. 16 hours of sleep almost non-stop. It was another wonderful team trekking to cherish.
Many more happy trips and trekking experiences to follow