During the last memorable days of 2007, forming of Trekking Club in the company gave one group of enthusiastic people an official starting for their long-lived interest, Mountaineering. The club started in December 2007, and from there a few treks proved we lived up to the hype. Coming to 2008 the club was all set to start its third and years’ first trek. What better be there than to start the year with one trek, which is classified as of intermediate difficulty, and destined to one of the most famous trekking destinations in Karnataka.
KODACHADRI, the peak that is 1393 mts above sea level, situated 12 kilometers from the town of Kollur and one of the highest peaks in the region. One of the main reasons the spot is often visited because, it provides an enchanting view of sunset and sunrise.
As the official initialization of the trek, everyone got a communication from our coordinator Mr. Gokul. The main subject of the communication was regarding the preliminary requirements for trekking, which adds around 8 kgs of payload to each team members. Initially total headcount of the trekkers was 21 but just before starting two team members dropped out. The rest 19 enthusiastic members boarded a bus to Shimoga in the late hours of 11th Jan Friday from Bangalore KSRTC Bus station Platform number 4.
The bus dropped us off at shimoga @ 4 45 am. After waiting for an hour and a half, which provided us ample time to finish off our morning routines, and a cup of tea; we found the bus to Karikatte, the trek start point. The bus took us through many villages and had to stop at frequent intervals to accommodate commuters, as this was the only bus on that route. As per the information of my co-passenger who is a native to that area, this bus passes through three districts. On the way, we stopped at ribbonpet for breakfast where we had bisibelebath and hot idlis. Just to mention…. The dishes served in hotel were too tasty, that I ordered two or three varieties and finished all of them. Perhaps the best Kannda food I ever had.We also encountered a fort that belonged to “Devappanayaka” and a bridge that was not suitable for carrying the bus with all the passengers and where we stepped down to let the bus pass through.
Team in the trek starting point - Unpacking and distributing pay load....
By 9 45, we reached our trek start point and headed off to Kaka-angadi which was 4 kms ahead. We were running a huge risk of having 10 first timers on the trek and they look like a duck to water owing to the fantastic landscapes. We managed to reach Kaka-angadi by 11 am walking along a jeep track. Kaka-angadi provided us with an ideal place to scrap whatever extra baggage we had, as we were due to return to this very spot the next morning to continue our trek to Arshinagundi falls. After treating ourselves to naturally cold lemon juice, we headed off to the PWD Guest House where we had booked lunch, which was another 5 km trek uphill.
Discussion in the peaks...
We walked through open grasslands and encountered various viewpoints, which gave us a panoramic view of the surrounding hills. An hour into the trek we had our first causality with Ravishankar cramping on his leg and a catch on his thigh. He was terribly de-hydrated due to the scorching heat. Some muscle relaxing spray and glucose did the trick and he got back into action. We had to shoulder the extra responsibility of escorting 2 ladies while we had to redistribute their luggage to allow them to make it to the peak. It was a large group and we had 3 experienced guys leading from the front. Ajay and Gokul had to shoulder the responsibility of pushing the others from behind. Around 1300 hours we spotted a person selling cucumbers and buttermilk.
Business @ peaks....
His shop reminded us mallu’s fast food shop in Moon, virtually isolated in the heights, around 1000 meters above sea level, inside pure jungle. He managed to run his business only with trekkers passing by. This break gave us some respite from the sweltering heat. We munched cucumbers and Govardhan set the record books straight by drinking 10 glasses of buttermilk on the trot. After some encouragement, we managed to drag our asses through the rest of the journey. It was 2.30 pm by the time we reached the Guest House.
A few meters before the guesthouse is the famous
Once we reached the PWD Guest house, everyone got an open-air bath in the chilly freshness of mountain water jetting out of a huge plastic pipe. Lunch was waiting for us as we changed. Everyone treated themselves to whatever they could possibly eat. After lunch, we immediately packed and headed off to the peak, as we were 30 minutes behind the schedule. We should not miss the sunset after an enduring 5 hr climb. We were quick to scale the peak inspired by the Shankaracharya, trying to emulate him by equipping ourselves with a staff. The path to the peak is breathtaking with a stunning view of the linganamakki dam across the river sharavathi being the highlight. The peak hosts a shrine dedicated to the great shankaracharya called “sarvagna peeta” The shrine is thronged by devotees who walk for an hour from the guesthouse, which is accessible, by a jeep track from Nittur to view sunset and to obtain blessing from the lord.
We lay down for a while resting our tired legs as the first timers got themselves trained on the basics of pitching a tent and a few wandered around in their quest for firewood and managed to bring along them enough firewood to keep us warm through the night. After a brief discussion, a few of us decided to head to another peak, which was a few hundred meters and promised a better view of sunset. We raced to the spot right in time for the spectacle to unfold and we were all happy we had taken the right decision to view the sunset from this peak. What was about to unfold was one of the best sunsets I have witnessed in all these years and I was glad it had come at the right time. We waited anxiously as the sun went down, a little at a time. It is said the
Once we returned to the camp, we started preparing our dinner, which consisted of veg salad, corn soup, chapattis, groundnut chutney pudi, curd, shrikand, pickle, sweet. Now if you are wondering as to where we were, we were the only 19 on a deserted peak with no civilization in sight. Yes, we had everything carried to the peak, a real mountaineer team isn’t? It was a banquet as some lit a fire to celebrate. By the time we started attack concentrating on our appetizers, the naughty wind started playing night’s play upon our poor tents. It started lashing so hard it threatened to take some tents away with all our baggage in it. One tent even flew some meters out of place. Anil,
No one was in a mood to get up at 4.30am as planned, but Gokul managed to wake everyone from their slumber at 5.30 as a streak of pale yellow started showing across the horizon. We relit our fire and waited for the sun to rise. Its started showing up after an agonizing wait of 45 minutes. However, against our expectations the event hardly lasted a minute and was a tenth as beautiful as last evening’s sunset.
Mountain beauty in its utmost....
We had to get to Bhattaramanae for breakfast, which is right next to the
We reloaded our bags with whatever luggage we had left the previous day and continued through the impenetrable jungle into Arshinagundi falls. The name is derived from the colour reflected when the water hits the rocks below, and what a pleasant sight it was when we witnessed it later. From Kaka-Angadi we took the help of one Mr. eeru who is famous around trekking circles and people who trek this route who used to avail his services more often. We retraced our path halfway to out start point and headed east through the thick jungles. It was difficult negotiate with the amount of baggage we had. Nevertheless, it was one of the best parts of the trek. The route took us through unknown paths and rivulets flowing through these vast expanses of land. We climbed down a canyon trying to imagine what the falls would look like. None of us had seen it before in real time and Anand and Gokul were the only two people who seen it in some Photos.
After walking for about 2 hours, we reached our final destination. The falls is a magnificent beauty. Water dropping down from over 300 feet onto a lake which is equally deep. No words can describe the feeling we underwent after seeing this marvel. As everyone stripped and cooled ourselves in the lake, some braved the odds and swam to the waterfall across the lake. We were running out of time as we unpacked and had lunch consisting of, chapathis, mango pulp, pickles, plum cakes and biscuits. We had to reach the main road by sun fall as the last bus was due at six and the main road was another 150 min hike, another 5-7 kilometers across similar terrain. As we trudged along the path as the usual banter continued. it was getting a bit dark and people were already thinking of a fallback plan in case we get lost in the jungles or not make it to the road in time. We were surprised to find we had run out of our emergency food. The Maggi we had with us somehow got misplaced.
We increased our pace as the sun went down. It was 6.15 by the time we reached the road, our worst nightmare had come true. The last bus was on its way to Kollur. We had to walk to Kollur as 4 members boarded an auto and we dumped all our luggage into it. We walked till Kollur, another 2 kilometers, which made our total trekking distance to 38 kilometers. The cost of time lag was too high as many lost darshan at the famous Mookambika temple. We were all present at the bus stand right in time for its departure as it took us to Coondapur for our dinner. We woke up in the early hours on Monday morning to see the roads engulfed in cloudy mist. As we made decisions as to where everyone had to burning the thought of today’s work and the fact that we had to report to our bosses crossed our minds. What more does one need to wake up? Most of us alighted 2 kms before the bus terminus and took autos. We had ended the mighty third clubs treks successfully and what a memorable journey it had been.