TREK ON TRACKS - Sakleshpur, March 27, 28, 29th 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009
Peter, the Tiger had mentioned few times to me.. “Indira, you should arrange some treks now”...I was wondering how to do it. To begin with, I thought the best was to assist anyone who ever is arranging a trek..

There were some mails from core members planning a Sakleshpur trek..lo..I was so excited ..I immediately wrote to Ramki that whenever he is doing this, I will help him. By then, I was eagerly looking forward for kolli trek...Then I get a mail from Ramki that sakleshpur is planned for 27,28, 29th of March...same time as kolli.? ! choice..I had to opt for Sakleshpur..Then every day, Ramki and myself exchanged few mails regarding arrangements to be, tickets, and so on..Then I had to visit twice the railway booking centre and did block booking ...almost 4 times I had to stand in the que as block booking wont be done under tatkal was a pain in the neck...but anytime and anything for CTC..:)...Then, almost 20 - 30 mails we exchanged..I even told him my weakness of being non computer savvy ...He told…no probs..for every one there is a first time and they learn ...and suddenly a thought came to my mind when i was chatting with Ramki,,,hey ramki...btw, do i know you? ctc’s will know each other very soon!...we were chatting as if we knew each other for a very long time..Ok..Then, as we moved close to the departure date, there were many queries from new trekkers...Do we have bath rooms there..Do we have separate sleeping place for girls,...Where do we sleep,...and so on...for everything, I had only one answer...ALL under the

well..25th march...I went for shopping ketchup, sandwich paste,...then few personnel items..started packing my back pack..I was so excited and had to do so many last minute things as I had to leave my family for 3 days..I had to fill up groceries, cook and dump in fridge for 3 days, make arrangement for my son, maid, dog......Thus every time before the trek, I land up having back pain:)

26th march - All set..I had requested Shiva to pick me up from my house. Then we went together in a call taxi along with 2 others to central and we were there by 2.45 pm..One by one landed and there was one girl Arpita..very cute..She had come with her friend srijith , who also joined the trek and her mom had come to see her off and making sure she was safe with right people...She asked me few questions…Aunty, where do I sit, what is my seat number,.. where do i keep my bags,.....which made me feel I was a school teacher………Then, few calls were made for those who were bit late..surprisingly there were no last minute cancellation this time...all 18 were there...and by lalbagh express, we started out at 3.30 pm…oh god!..I really missed my trek mates then..hmm..but Thank god!.. Kannan and Bala were with me..There were few guys from cognizant, who were having their own fun...we attacked almost everything that were passing by us...tea, coffee, soft drinks, vada, cutlet, masala dosa,...:)...Then I started clicking few photos for my story.."Trek on tracks"...

We reached banglore at 9.45 pm and walked towards Bangalore bus stand as planned earlier and met Ramki and co who immediately started distributing the food packets to us..Maggie, Teplas, few junks, fruits, jam, ketchup, Aloo, Beans, Onion,….6 others joined us from Banglore..and that made the total number 24.......ha!..I was happy to meet my old friend Subramanya alias subbu after a long time..thanks to net..I got in touch with him and saw that he joined me for this trek..When I gave him his food packet, he said he already had dinner, he doesnt need it..but I told him this food packet was not for dinner but was for the next 3 days !!...:) :)'s eat less, trek lots..:)

Then few of us boarded the bus at 10.45 pm to shiradi ghats..Few others were supposed to take 11.30 bus… I couldnot sleep in the bus...Arpita was busy talking in her sleep...asking her friend to put off AC….lol...:)....hmm...She is fun to be with J

We got down around 4.30 in the morning at the road side Muthappeswara temple..some of us rolled sleeping mats and slept...others were chatting….some were busy clicking photos...But the most happiest person was our photogarapher Subbu I guess...he got his model for the day..Arpita:)...almost half an hour they had profile shoot just behind the temple at the stream:)...By then, others who had left bangalore by 11.30 bus also landed..Some went to brush, some to bathe, by the time we started , we were late by an hour or so..We started slowly by 7am towards Donigal railway station..Weather was nice, pleasant..

We all assembled at Donigal station,.. had group photo as usual..Then the trek...TREK ON TRACKS began...initially it was very exciting to walk on those jellikallu( stones that r laid on tracks)...we were all given 3 water bottles each...some of them had already finished 2 bottles in an hours time:)...after an hour or two, as the sun started showing its colours, ...hmm...ayyoda!....It was bit tough to walk in the sun…Sunscreen lotion was applied all over, caps sat on heads, sun glasses on eyes, water bottle in hands,...but legs were on tracks all the time :)….Ramki and few others were quite fast..and so Ramki had to stop now and then to make sure that all of us who were bit behind make up fast…..

Well..Tracks were pretty simple…straight, some turns now and then…poking stones, lots of tunnels — measuring 100 ft to 500 mts, human wastes here and there, beautiful bridges, 2 to 3 stations, …

Trail… full of trees, shrubs, wild flowers,. …some times huge rocks on either sides,…at some places, few constructions were happening…layers of mountains, lovely valleys, beautiful streams, deep gorges, scary tunnels, soothing sound of birds whistling, various shades of green tress, plants all over, dense forests, few bones here n there,….well…exciting indeed…of course it would have been more exciting if the mid sun was more kind to us..

Few pro - trekkers trekked enjoying the mother nature in spite of scorching sun…few complained, ..few thought they didn’t expect this kind of trail and that trek would be only on tracks like this…few wished it should have been more exciting….well..i told Ramki…..Ayyo…when is this track going to end ? !..The big mistake I did was not to read the mail sent by Ramki which described the trail. As I always look forward to surprise elements when I trek, I usually don’t read these mails that describe the trail…on every trek, on the first day, I always have this thought..” what am I trekking here for? .It is better dancing than pulling myself all along this trail” ..:)…hmm…those who were ahead of us had breakfast at a nice stream. Those who were little behind had to satisfy their hunger sitting on tracks and have breakfast..

Resting often now and then, unable to bear the hot sun, leg slowed down its pace…eyes were eagerly looking forward to some big stream…Lo…there we got a big, long bridge under which beautiful stream flowed dancing between rocks..Immidiately subbu, ramki and myself got down and joined others - kannan, gaurav, bala, and rakesh, who were already having a nice Jacuzzi….We changed into swim trunks and jumped into the stream..Ahaaa..Awesome..This is what our body required at this point of time …great rejuvenationJ…From stream, we could see the bridge high above us.. Few walking across, trains crossing,…When we saw few others crossing the bridge, we shouted at them to come down…but whether they heard us or didn’t want to come down, what ever the reason. Those who missed this really missed the fun…Then, we had lunch and climbed up to the bridge and again our trek on tracks started…Few meters ahead, we met other guys n gals who were resting…Then, we all started our journey again in our own pace..

When I trek, I realized most important thing is one need to walk at their own pace and take deep breathe two three times when ever you are tired... Never take big breaks. It is difficult otherwise to get back to pace. Secondly, you should carry sufficient water. You should never empty the water until you fine the next stream. Water should be sipped now and then, little by little. I usually carry a waist pouch which will have Glucose water in a Tupperware bottle, Dates, Badam, few candys, So that I need not take out my back pack for every little thing and I could keep on walking and energizing myself simultaneously. Then my waist pouch also has suntan lotion to apply often, knife, and lip-balm too. Another important thing is to carry as minimum luggage as possible. just 2 pairs of dress, food, a towel, knee cap, emergency medicines, crape bandage in case you have any ankle injury…that’s itJ…Carry light is the key word J

Then, we crossed many tunnels…sometimes goods trains passing us in and out of the tunnels. We reached Yedukumeri station and thought that was the camp site….but Rakmi had his own plans…he said NO…Ayyo…again our legs started.. right left right left…marching on the tracks !..but now sun had settled down a bit. Lovely views on both sides…it was pleasant finally. But legs really needed rest. It felt like as if we had acupressure of our life in one single day ..:)….Now, the chirping of birds became more ….and suddenly at sunset time, God gave us a great treat to our eyes…Lovely formation of clouds..dark and light..superb colours .. orange, yellow, golden.. peeping through clouds…It was so true at one point when we saw a beautiful silver lining around the cloud..”Every cloud has a silver lining” was perfect ! and made sense…my camera just could not stop clicking these clouds and trees at the sunset time. It was amazing…suddenly I felt all energized and thanked god for making me go through all the pains since morning and giving a wonderful feast to the eyes and ears in the endJ

Most of the time while I trekked, I wanted to be with myself. Lot of questions, and many answers to life’s questions,…hmm..all one can find when we are one with this beautiful mother nature! I guess..

Finally God was kind enough and gave some gyan to Ramki too to end the day’s trek at the end of 21 kms stretch!and pitch a tent next to a tunnel…WOW !…my happiness knew no bounds…ramki, shiva, kannan, bala got busy in pitching up tents. Few went to fill up water bottles from nearby stream, and few other guys went to collect some woods to make camp fire. but alas! started pouring!...So, what do we do for food?...hmm…should we finish up teplas, junk food?..ayyo..what about noodles and all the vegetables that we carried to make vegetable noodles? !…All plans went down the drains..:(…..Then we all sat in the dark tunnel wishing for rain to stop and suddenly we heard the train entering the tunnel…With supers speed, we all got up and what ever bags we could collect, we took it and put it in a safe place and stood safely and allowed the train to pass smoothly..:)..Suddenly we realized three guys had not come still..They had decided to stay back at yedukameri..!..So 21 of us were left…….

By then, rain had stopped. We saw that inside the tunnel, there was a safe place where 5 - 6 guys could sit and cook…heyyyy….so, bala got into action. He was the chef of the day!...We collected all soup and noodle packets. Few got into cutting vegetables, few were lazing around, few were resting….But my mind was all into soup soup soup..Hot hot soup !…so, I immediately rushed to the kitchen place..Sat there..entertained the cooks with few songs…warewah !.. Soup was ready!..Soup was a combination of tomato and sweet corn J..Ladies are always served first in CTC…real gentle men styleJ!!...So, I got the first taste of hot patience at all…just put it in my mouth….oops!..burnt my tongue badly…no issue.. so what.. sip sip some more.. Burnt more..s o what.. Some stomach was really satisfied with 2 cups of awesome knorr soup. Then my mind started thinking..”My god! Why are guys grumbling to walk on tracks?..It is so beautiful, great views,.More than anything you should have great attitude man! Common!...LOL ..:)….Then soon noodles were ready too…All of us had nice veg noodles …stomach too truptiJ highly satisfied..:)…by then it was 10 in the night, and Ramki told we all had to get up at 5 and start the trek latest by 6 !

Some of us inside tents, few others outside tents…either way.. all slept well…suddenly I hear a scream..who is that?! …Arpita!..she had dream again!! seems the train ran over her in the tunnel…;)…comedian of our group!:)…hmm…the next moment..all grr..zrrr…

2nd day morning, few guys woke up early, finished their morning jobs, packed…one by one we started our march on tracks..R L R L R L…!…This time, I had Subbu to trek along with me. He started the day with nice song and explanation to it…He has a way to tell stories..It was so nice to hear him reciting shlokas, stories,…Got some good gyan!..So, this was my break fast J..Since Subbu had already finished all of his food on first day breakfast time itself!, I shared my food inexchange for his storiesJ…We stopped at few view points, drank the beauty of the layers of mountains, sat ..Had some fruits, exchanged each others life stories too..As we walked along, we met few guys who were working along tracks and came to know that there was a nice stream just after tunnel 82…so, we hurried there in anticipation..WOW!..there....put down our bags, changed and trekked uphill to find a small little water falls…Kannan was there with Bala enjoying it ,,,I had to wait for 10 mts for my turn to stand under the falls which I did patiently..It was superb!..…what else a trekker can ask….water water water!....Then other trekkers followed us and had good bath, breakfast,…it was 12 noon by then..Subbu and myself started again our journey further…Ramki had told that we are supposed to trek 18 kms that day and stop at Siribagilu..Just after an hour of walk, we see the board, Siribagilu!!!...My eyes could not believe that we had already reached..Kept looking at the board to make sure I was not reading it wrong…NO..I wasn’t!!…yee…we were the first to be there…and those who followed later were surprised tooJ…

Siribagilu is a small station in front of a beautiful peak..A station master is there with few assistants..But sadly no coffee, no teas available. Atleast, we were happy that we reached very early there…took good rest under the trees and waited for all others to join us…Through enquiries, we came to know that there is jeep track adjacent to the station which leads to the kukke road..All of a sudden, my brain started working..Ha!..why should we again keep walking on the tracks till tunnel 92..why not take the jeep track , hit kukke road, and go to gundiya check post, have fun in the river and get back to blore…By then subbu already made up his mind to trek along this jeep track and go to bangalore and rest well the next day before he hits office on monday..He immediately packed his back pack, and bid bye bye to us…Then it was turn of Shiva and co to follow subbu…But 7 of us ramki, kanna, bala, rakesh, srijith, arpita and myself were in no mood to go to bangalore…so, we decided to take the same jeep track…

All 20 of us started slowly enjoying the dense forest…it was a beautiful and little scary trek …here and there we could listen to the streams flowing..lot of dry, wet leaves all over the track…At one point, I did not see any one in front of me and when I looked back, no one there too! heart started thud thud thud !… problem,… my mind started working faster than my legs…what if some animal comes,.. how do I react..what do I do…so on.. lol…!..For half hour I almost was all alone…no fear?..NO..:)…Then litlle ahead, I saw kannan, bala ramki waiting…then rest of guys behind me also joined…then the group of 14 went to banglore and 7 of us went back the trail for a kilomitre and jumped into the stream….

Trek is no fun without water!..absolutely true!...1 ½ hour we enjoyed … just 7 of us had the whole stream for ourselves. By 5.30, we packed and started to walk towards the main road that joins Anila bus stand on kukke road….Wait !....ayyo!…leech !, there,…no.. one more here..ayyo..hmm…15 mts went in driving away those leeches….Anyway, we continued further down the tracks,..and there….ROAD !!....yippi yippi ..ya ya ya..It was 6 pm by then..found a tea shop right there where the bus stops..dumped all our backpacks…gave the tea shop guy some ginger and requested him to make ginger tea. Thoroughly enjoyed 2 cups of tea each of us…then it started drizzling!..hey.. Why not take a walk in the rain??!,,,, ya.. why not ?...ok.. Now, we set a deal with the tea shop guy..decided to stay there that night..He agreed to give his gas and cylinder for us to cook.. …great!...Rakesh stayed back at shop…, Arpita was busy taking snaps with the new hat that she found in the shop..The hat was made of Arichnut tree leaf....very artistic indeed..20/- per hat. ….Slowly then we got ready for rain trek.. Guys removed their shirts..It was already getting a bit dark and we got on the road….wow!!…no words to describe that beautiful walk in the rain! once I thanked god for bringing me and showing me and giving me such wonderful experiences…No regrets of having stopped performing dance!…

The road was simple superb..well laid, nice winding roads, bamboo trees on both sides, and weather!. Very pleasant,.lightning now and then, good breeze, great company..What else you need?..!! became pitch of the guys had a brilliant idea..he told..”Hey!..all of you look up…stretch your hands, close your eyes…now feel the rain, feel the breeze…now walk quietly! “..adada..ahaha…Awesome man!!..We were KIDS there..!!....We didn’t feel like stopping our walk at all..We sat on a bridge there on a pitch dark night looking at vehicles passing in great speeds…good.. Relax!… Then, we started to walk back to the tea shop..

Arpita and srijith had found a great treasure for all of us!!…we had to sit on the road and observe the vehicle light that was coming from a distance..WOW!! was like seeing in a movie where when the god or some great power arrives, u see slowly the rays of light coming and spreading all over!...oh my god !..u will pay anything to watch this sceneJ ..amazing!!!..can u believe we sat there almost an hour just watching these rays of lights!... some moments cant be erased from our memory at allJ…Simple things in life bring great joys in our life..Isnt it??!...Enjoy life guys..enjoy nature..enjoy treks…! ! !

Back at tea shop, we had hot omlettes, bisi bisi bisibelebath, sambar rice, Tea,.. …yummy yummy..had great dinner that day and rolled our mats, crashed to bed. One or two guys started snoring!..grrr grrr….Ayyo…arpita and myself couldnt sleep at all…It was around 12.30 midnight I guess..Both of us woke up and stood on the road… our hairs were left was pitch dark.. We sat on a kutti stone watching all vehicles passing by…many of them for sure had looked at both of us…But none dared to stopJ.. no one wants to risk their lives with ghosts…isn’t it?? …

That was an experience!.Later, both of us got back into our sleeping bags…r.rrr…rr..

3rd day – Sunday..early morning 6.30, we woke up, brushed , then packed our bags, and started to walk towards gundiya check post..Scenic roads, great weather,..had some fruits, clicking now and then on our way…and around 8 am, we hit the Nethravathi river bridge close to check post..We got down the bridge, got into the river..

Nethravathi was beautiful but muddy, flowing gently, and dancing sometimes in between rocks…We kept our bags under a huge tree..We all freshened up there…Till 9.30, had great luxurious bath and came to check post.. We had Dosas, uttappam, coffee, tea…and boarded a bus to Dharmasthala..There Ramki went to bus stand to cancel others tickets and 3 of us srijith, arpita and myself climbed Ratnagiri hill to have a look at Gommateswara…Bala, rakesh and kannan who were supposed to look after our bags were happily snoring at the bus stand itself !..They were woken up by arpita’s kicks and we then moved to the new bus stand..boarded the bus to bangalore…Before that , we had nice badam milk, spicy butter milk, lemon soda,…and quenched our thirst for trekking :) :):)………….

Written by: Indira Kadambi

Organized by: Ramki / Indira Kadambi

Image Galleries:
Kannan K


Bendz on: April 7, 2009 at 8:36 PM said...

Nice snaps. Super places.

Vincent D' Souza on: May 7, 2009 at 3:11 PM said...

Good effort Indira at writing a travelogue. Take some time to sharpen the skills and we should have some great writing here on trekks.
For, for those of us who cant trekk reading abt them would be a nice treat

veda on: July 21, 2009 at 3:15 PM said...

Interesting and inspiring enough for non trekkers like us to break a leg!!



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