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Hanging rock
The light from the forest fire dimly lit the top of the hill as the flames were slowly spreading downwards.. The pole star twinkled along, forming the only source of direction on a moonless night.. With each passing minute, our hopes of making it safely out of the woods was crumbling down.. We braced ourselves for whatever that was coming ahead and kept marching down the thorny dark forest cover.. The rucksack was weighing too heavy on the shoulders as they were in that position for more than 8 hours in a row.. We repeatedly kept squalling the head-count to ensure everyone of us were still in the group, lest some wild animal pull one of us out and we continue trekking unnoticed.. The 3 torch lights, although didn’t suffice, were leading us along.. Soon, we encountered a small bridge – two wooden planks tied loosely across a deep crevice – which had to be very carefully traversed, only one at a time.. Few of us had crossed to the other side and we were waiting for the rest of the group to cross the bridge, as we watched one of the guys from the group, trying to balance himself on the bridge against the shaky planks and the cold wind.. All of a sudden, we heard some ruffle of dried leaves just right next to us, which was followed by a series of noises of the twigs breaking and dried leaves being crushed down under heavy footsteps.. Our torch lights were flashed across frantically in the direction of the noise but the darkness of the dense woods held an upper hand.. We all stood standstill in shock and horror with the torch lights held against the growing noise.. The crunching noise was headed right in our direction and it was fast approaching..

Pre-face…

Group -> Krishna, Ranjith, Abhijith, Abhilash, Sagar, Zulfi, Rahul, Mandar, Atul, Ranjeet, Baskar, Amit, Varun and 

rebornsrks  

 

  


The 14 of us, belonging to diverse backgrounds, decided to celebrate the Valentine’s day out in the wilderness.. So on the 13th of Feb 2009, as planned, we ventured out on a trek expedition to Kudremukh Reserve Forest..


Trek begins from Navoor


A DVD-coach, push-back Swaraj mazda was available for our service.. A small break in the mid-way and then we were at Belthangadi early in the morning of 14th.. We checked in to a hotel to freshen up and then went in search of the forest officer to get his permission to trek to the Kudremukh peak.. We purchased the remaining necessary items for the trekking en-route to the starting point of the trek - Navoor. We also got hold of a guide named "Nemi" from the same place.. So, there it began, at least 3 hours late, at about 12:30pm – the 33km trek which promised to bring along a lot of adventure..

We were taking turns to carry the tent that was quite heavy when compared to the usual trekking tents.. The trek path was quite arduous and since there were a few first timers in the group, the pace was considerably slow.. Our first destination was a water stream where we could re-fill our water reserves although we had enough reserves to last for a day.. The journey went on for hours, with small breaks at times, but otherwise against a steep path that was taking us slowly towards the peak of the Kudremukh range.. To make up the delay in reaching the top, we chose to trek through the pathways made by the rain water down the hill, as they formed short-cuts.. The catch with these paths however was that they were just too steep and also irregular plus there was dense vegetation just next to the paths, which many a times was that of a thorny creeper.. The afternoon sun was blazing hot and we had a really tough time to get acclimated to this hostile environment..


Still a long way!!

Those anxious moments…

A few hours passed by in the same manner.. I was leading the path, as I usually prefer this position while trekking.. However, my friends from Mysore were left behind by a big margin.. To catch up with them, I decided to wait while the rest of the group kept marching along.. After a brief period of time, my friends finally made it to the point where I was waiting for them.. I took the tent from them so that they could travel faster and walked a few paces assuming that they would be following me soon.. But, after a few minutes, I turned back to find that there was just no one in the trek path till my eyes could see.. Ahead of me was no different.. I thought that my Mysore friends were taking a break at the place I was waiting for them and continued waiting for them.. Few more minutes – still no sign of them.. I felt something must have gone wrong.. I started shouting their names.. No response! I went back a few paces to find them but they were nowhere! They had just vanished in to thin air, or so I thought.. At that point, I heard a faint voice from somewhere above my head.. I looked up and discovered a small path above made by the rain water.. It didn’t take a lot of time for me to figure out that my Mysore friends had taken that path – which meant, I was stranded right in the middle of nowhere – no one behind me and no one closely ahead of me! I tried taking the rain water path but the tent was just too heavy to be dragged upwards all alone.. The sun-light was also dipping each moment.. I started screaming all the names I could! I had no weapon either to counter any animal attack.. My worst fears had come true – being lost in the middle of the forest with no energy to move along.. I would have been a sitting duck for any predator.. That moment of anxiety, well, is just beyond description.. Even a small ruffle of leaves next to me sent a shiver down my spine.. Just at that moment, my phone started ringing! It was Varun calling from the top of the rain water path.. They had reached a dead-end and since they couldn’t find me at the top, they were also looking for me.. What followed was an extremely anxious period of 20 minutes after which Amit, Varun and Baskar caught up with me.. I couldn’t explain how much relieved I was to see them again! After lambasting them a bit for leaving me alone, we took the regular trek path to catch up with the remaining members of the group who had went past that point a good 30 minutes ago..

About 20 minutes later, we were a group of 14 again sitting next to a water stream.. We filled our water bottles and again continued our trek, which just never seemed to end.. The guide kept promising that the place to pitch the tent was just 2km away and this he started saying right from the beginning.. Probably he knew no number beyond 2! Alright, we kept trudging along.. Night fell soon enough to add to our woes and we continued marching with our torch lights.. In any direction the eyes could see, it was nothing but a thick vegetation of grass and other thorny bushes along the surface and a few evergreen trees.. I simply couldn’t imagine how we could ever find a flat surface where we could pitch-in our tents in that thick forest cover.. Besides, the end of winter season is known for the forest fires in Kudremukh and all along the path we had seen vast amount of areas charred by the forest fires.. And exactly in front of us was a hill, the top of which was caught by the forest fire and the flames were heading downhill slowly but steadily.. It was a race against time and the latter had gained a head start..

Action in the dark…

The light from the forest fire dimly lit the top of the hill as the flames were slowly spreading downwards.. The pole star twinkled along, forming the only source of direction on a moonless night.. With each passing minute, the hopes of making it safely out of the woods was crumbling down.. We braced ourselves for whatever that was coming ahead and kept marching down the thorny dark forest cover.. The rucksack was weighing too heavy on the shoulders as they were in that position for more than 8 hours in a row.. We repeatedly kept squalling the head-count to ensure everyone of us were still in the group, lest some wild animal pull one of us out and we continue trekking unnoticed.. The 3 torch lights, although didn’t suffice, were leading us along.. Soon, we encountered a small bridge – two wooden planks tied loosely across a deep crevice – which had to be very carefully traversed, only one at a time.. Few of us had crossed to the other side and we were waiting for the rest of the group to cross the bridge, as we watched one of the guys from the group, trying to balance himself on the bridge against the shaky planks and the cold wind.. All of a sudden, we heard some ruffle of dried leaves just right next to us, which was followed by a series of noises of the twigs breaking and dried leaves being crushed down under heavy footsteps.. Our torch lights were flashed across frantically in the direction of the noise but the darkness of the dense woods held an upper hand.. We all stood standstill in shock and horror with the torch lights held against the growing noise.. The crunching noise was headed right in our direction and it was fast approaching..

Still a long way…

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the day…” a high-pitch alarm tone woke us up early in the morning.. First thing – a head count to ensure we were still 14! The experience from the previous night was still very fresh in our minds.. The sudden crunching sound that had left us shell-shocked had almost approached us when all of us had turned into fanatic patriots in an instant! “Bolo Barath maatha ki.. Jai.. Vande.. Maatharam.. Vande.. Maatharam” slogans from 14 contrasting, scared-to-the-death voices had chased “whatever animal/???” away in a jiffy.. The crunching effect had continued.. But this time in a direction away from us.. A moment of triumph!! True patriots never die they say!! Thoroughly shaken but still in one piece, we all had quickly trekked the rest of the journey.. The guide had seemed to have had lost his way twice already but he was our only hope.. A few minutes later, much to our relief, our flash lights fell on a partially broken house in the middle of the forest.. We were at the Lobo’s house..

Lobo’s house…

  

Lobo's house - Not much of a house though! And our Maggi Mania near the camp fire!!


A legend goes among the locals that this very place – Lobo’s house – is a dwelling place for the super-naturals.. Many locals claim to have seen a lady in white garments holding a candle near this house and also they claim that they hear certain strange noises near a fountain that once upon a time was the favorite place for Lobo – a priest who chose to stay in the middle of that jungle during the late 90s.. One can even see the necropolis of Lobo next to the house.. Nevertheless, the same place was our camping site that night.. The condition of the house was just pitiable to say the least.. The roof covering had fallen off.. Not even a single door stayed in its place anymore.. The pungent smell from the droppings of the bats covered the hallway.. The skeletons from the wild animals laid strewn along the floor.. We somehow managed to enter into this very place, placing our legs in between the dusty wooden planks, carefully so as to not to disturb snakes, if any, lying between those planks.. We chose a room inside the house to light up our camp fire and to cook some Maggi as we were literally starving.. Maggi and a few fruits formed the dinner that night.. We secured the room by placing the wooden planks across the room’s entrances in X-shape to avoid any man-eaters gaining entry into the room and soon we were lost in the dreamland..

Destination – Peak…

Early in the morning, the delicious Maggi formed the breakfast too! After packing our bags with the most necessary items, we left the rest of our baggage at the Lobo’s and headed for the peak, which was a good 3 hours trek again.. The early morning breeze was heavenly and the surrounding mountain ranges glittered like gold in the dawn.. We sighted a black-buck and also a herd of deers en-route.. Soon enough, the group was split into 2 sub-groups as each group aggregated a different speed to trek.. We at the helm, after a while, waited for the second group to join us but never did that seem to happen.. We understood that they must have returned back to Lobo’s house and we again continued on our journey to the peak..


One of the dried up water falls.. Now just a stream..


We went past several streams in-between and a few water-falls, so water was never a problem all along.. Although we had unloaded the extra luggage at the Lobo’s, this surely was an uphill task and the path was getting steeper by the moment.. A few hours and a few more guys decided to call it a day.. Ultimately, only 9 of us continued on our mission.. We went through the Shola forests and also saw the ruins of a Church that belonged to the British era.. Fortunately, the last 20 minutes of the trek was through an almost flat surface..

Edgy affair..


Jai Ho!! At the peak..


What followed was a brief period of excited shouts and screams plus the flash lights from the multiple digi-cams and the N-series phones, for having achieved the mission we had set out for.. The adrenaline dosage had suddenly hit a peak and we all were celebrating the feat.. We were at the helm of the highest point in the Kudremukha ranges and the feeling at that moment is simply unforgettable.. We took snaps in all angles like the models of a fashion event, most of them being posed at the edges of the cliffs and on top of the huge boulders.. We cooled our heels for a while at the top and after carving our names on one of the boulders, knowing that we still had 8kms of trekking left to head back to the civilization, we started our journey back to Lobo’s house assuming that our friends who had returned back would be safe and sound at the camp site..

Mullodi…

We caught up with the guys who had chosen to stay in the mid-way.. We also called up the village-head of an adjacent village called Mullodi to prepare the lunch for us.. An hour later, we were 14 of us again, sitting by the camp fire at the Lobo’s house to prepare Maggi yet another time!! After a sumptuous lunch, we packed up all our tents and set out for another grueling journey of 6km..


On the way to Mullodi village.. 


This path was extremely muddy and dry.. Shoes, bags and a large part of our legs were covered by mud by the time we reached Mullodi.. A few moments later, we were all feasting on a delicious supply of sambhar and rice.. Even though there was hardly any space in the stomach as we hadn’t found a place for our morning ablutions, we still managed to fill ourselves with as much food as possible.. The feast ended with a rich and delicious cup of butter-milk after which we found it pretty tough to even get up from that place!

Hornad…


The group at Hornad..


The jeeps rattled along the muddy road to the nearby town called Sundarnagar. We had called up for those jeeps while we were having our lunch at Mullodi.. On the way, the driver of the jeep was kind enough to tell us some more stories related to Lobo’s house and the super-natural theory associated with it, which made the journey quite interesting.. He even had a theory that his fore-fathers knew a ‘Manthra’ that could cure any disease! Hmmm.. Interesting.. Anyways, we reached Sundarnagar and we enjoyed some nice Kudremukh tea.. Soon, we were headed towards Hornad – a place of Pilgrimage, the abode of Sri Annapurneshwari.. We refreshed ourselves and after a reinvigorating hot water bath, we took the blessings from the goddess and also completed our dinner at the same place.. Next, it was all the way back home..

Home beckons…

After spending more than 36 hours away from the civilization, we were thoroughly eager to get back home to get some nice cozy place to rest.. Our swaraj mazda however had different plans.. It broke down on the way and we had to take a KSRTC bus from Belur to reach Bangalore.. We all got some much deserved rest in the bus and once here, the Monday blues continued.. :)

On contemplating about the trip, it might not have been the toughest of the treks that I have done, it might not have been a trek where-in I would talk about the leach-bites and the heavy rains, it not even might be a trek with my regular trekking group – still, this very trek had everything in it that I’m sure, we will all remember for ages to come.. The strong emotions that came along – when chasing away the animal in the dark, while eating the same old Maggi for the 3rd time in a row without a sniff of sadness, when drinking the water from the stream flowing down the rocks, when I heard the talks from Amit and Varun approaching me while I waited for them all alone, the looks on the face of Krishna after having known we were completely lost in the dark, the looks on Zulfi’s face as we flashed light on the walls of Lobo’s house in the dark, the guide’s impressive mathematics of 2km becoming 3km after walking a certain distance.. the light-weight feel at the top of the peak.. the ‘what-am-i-doing-here’ expression from Baskar when he was told he had to trek 4km more.. the way our faces lit-up on seeing the Mullodi village from the top.. the feel good factor that one gets at the abode of goddess Annapooneshwari – just everything will linger behind for a long time.. The 14 of us, we bid goodbyes to each other after those 2 days of bonding.. Now when I stare for a full minute at those pics of the trek group at the peak, I certainly do miss them all.. May be, it will be so till we all spend another of our trekking nights at those peaks, braving against all odds..

   

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 24th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
This trek was an experience i ll cherish for a long time..
bolo bharat mata ki.. jai !! :p

nice write-up buddy :)
rebornsrks
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
U bet on that.. :) We sure will! :)

Thanks Zulfi.. I'm sure it is u.. :)
pronker
Feb. 24th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
... what a fascinating trip ...
Probably he knew no number beyond 2!

Haha! and this trip sounds so spiritually refreshing, too. One to remember always.
rebornsrks
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
Re: ... what a fascinating trip ...
He he.. We dealt with some spirits also at the Lobo's house.. So, sure was a spiritual one!! :D
And after our visit, I hope they are refreshed!! :D

Hey! Thanks for dropping by.. :) Pleasure to have u here..
mamtanaidu
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
Long time no see!!!!
Nice report!!! Hoping to see more of 'em...

rebornsrks
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Hmmm.. Things weren't particularly pleasant in the recent past.. Not that it has gotten any better, just that I have got used to it now.. So, trying to be myself again.. :)

Thanks Mamta madam.. Did go through your blogs after a long break.. Not that you have written too many urself of late!! Too busy urself, ha!
inspirethoughts
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
Hey,,Welcome back! Long time no see.

Wow! What an experience! And you have certainly pictured it in your words here very well.
rebornsrks
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
Yeah.. Had taken a small break.. :) Thank u, thank u.. Glad to see good old friends again.. ;)

Yep.. Truly fascinating.. :) How many would have gone so close to a tiger/lion (or watever) in the wilderness?! :D
inspirethoughts
Feb. 25th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
You are welcome!

I am sure it must not be the white-garmetn clad candle-holding ghost who was just rumbling down by you. LOL! JK!

Exciting though!
newlifz
Feb. 24th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Fabulous piece of writing.... Not seen frequent posts these days! Keep them coming. Just love your blogs bro! :)
rebornsrks
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Hey thanks a ton buddy! Will surely try to get back to my usual stride.. Keep dropping by.. :)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 25th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
Superb!
Your description simply takes the reader through the whole experience. The explanation of the Lobo's house is so very fantastic that I thought I was inside it myself as I read. Hats off buddy. You have this talent make use of it well. :) :)

Cheers,
pramod
rebornsrks
Feb. 25th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Re: Superb!
Pramod from GGVP?? Hey, good to see u here man.. :) Long time!

He he.. :) Now that I have taken u through the trip, share the expenses also.. Please drop a DD to my address for 1K.. ;)

I'll sure try my best dood.. :)
pun_princess
Feb. 27th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Boi! thats some fun trip you had. All i am reading today is bout adventure and so darn J ! :(
rebornsrks
Mar. 1st, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
Hey! Thanks for going through such a lengthy post.. Fun?! Yeah I can barely say so now.. Surely wasn't so when we were lost in the dark! :)
pun_princess
Mar. 1st, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
The lengthy post was very well written. It didn't let my interest waver and hence it was a breeze.
No issues at all :)
spiceangel
Mar. 1st, 2009 08:33 am (UTC)
Hey!!!!! Where had you disappeared? What an enthralling post this was! It was like a mystery novel till the end. Simply brilliant as usual. Keep posting :)
rebornsrks
Mar. 5th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Hey! Thats really some compliment! :) Thank u..
mamtanaidu
Nov. 12th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
Many Many Happy Returns Of The Day!!!!!
Have a spectacular year ahead!!!
rebornsrks
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Hey Mamta.. Hope you are doing good out there.. Thanks a ton for the wishes.. :)

Cheers,
Srikanth
sarinalinda
Nov. 26th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
share my experience also
Whenever we go for adventure, it gives an unforgeable memory to us. I never forget trekking bangalore tour. It was amazing. One day I will surly share my experience.Thanks


rebornsrks
Mar. 31st, 2011 06:37 am (UTC)
Re: share my experience also
Sure. Post me the link to your blog when you do. Cheers!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
Just thought I would comment and say great theme, did you code it for yourself? Really looks excellent!.
rebornsrks
Mar. 31st, 2011 06:34 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks. Nopes. I didn't code this theme. Just selected one of the available themes on linkedin.
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rebornsrks
Mar. 31st, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: Buy Alprazolam Online
Thank you! But, your products aren't my interest!
(Anonymous)
Mar. 19th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
it was very interesting to read. I want to quote your post in my blog. It can? And you et an account on Twitter?
rebornsrks
Mar. 31st, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)
Sure. Anytime. :)

Nopes.. I don't tweet.. Yet..
(Anonymous)
Jul. 18th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
Nice Post
Pleasant Post. This record helped me in my university assignment. Thanks Alot
(Anonymous)
Dec. 23rd, 2012 08:23 am (UTC)
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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )