Day - I
It was very well planned for booking train and bus ticket for Kumara Parvatha by Chennai organizer – Raj and Bangalore organizer – Arasu. I was sick just 3 days before the trek, took 2 sick off days for recovery and approached Doctor to cure my viral fever ASAP (before Friday) for getting ready to the trek, doctor must be thinking that I’m a crazy guy who is serious to recover from the fever just for the weekend trek but I know Nov 2nd week is something very special than any other week end because of KP trek with my lovable CTC friends who is already known and many unknown friends. Yes, Even if people are not known each other, I know that they will be my friends because of CTC – Like minded People. We three guys reached Tidel park station to catch train @ central. While most of the guys carrying laptop bad @ Tidel Park station, I could see couple of guys were carrying sleeping bag/Mat which is easy to spot the Ctcians. We introduced each other. After a fine lunch, a group was gathered near allocated coach and handshake ceremony among us before boarding train. Raj must be the tensed guy who faced drop out from the time of ticket booked ( 1 month back ) to 1 hr before boarding the train but he is our captain cool carrying smiling face , It sounds he is ready to expect the unexpected that is what he is an organizer.
Train journey is always fun but with CTC friends it is Funnnnnnn with lot of mokkais,comedy tracks and eating all types of IRCTC food item by sharing among the group and making noise with unusual laughing sounds and playing with Kids. 2nd class compartment is designed for 3 people to have seat but we 6 people will park our seat on this when a camera man is trying to shoot a photo. Our passengers were really jealous about our enjoyments throughout the journey. One passenger told Arun that you guys are enjoying with any stop, Are you guys from same College? He replied that we are all from same school. He might have meant we are all from school of Trekking.After a fun filled journey, we reached Bangalore majestic station. Breezing air and traffic road welcomes us , we had dinner before moving to the bus stop. As usual, round of handshakes with Bangalore friends before boarding the KSRCTC bus. Conductor is the happy person who will have not much work to do as 30+ people are from same group in the bus. It is been told that 8 hr journey to reach Sowampet. After a chit-chat at the bus, everybody started sleeping after closing the window tightly to rescue from Bangalore Fogs and chilled air. Now nobody can escape from the cold because bus got punctured at back wheel around 3 am and of course conductor, driver had to work much to replace the tyre. Most of the guys came out from the bus and discussing about fun events happened during recent past treks. After 1 hour of repair work, we resumed our journey but the beauty here is some guys never know that vehicle had stopped for puncture work and waited for 1 hr. They got into deep sleep before getting tired in the trek.
We reached the destination – Hill station bus stop around 6:30 am and we had to take another local bus to reach the base station, we all quickly finished the breakfast and got ready for the bus. The local bus was crowded like anything becoz of our boyz. It was very nice experience to travel in the Hill station along with nice sceneries, nice view point from the road. This must be first bus for the day which is going from main village to other places because conductor has to do lot of work like delivering Newspaper while bus is going on and had to deliver chicken/other material to villages. It was nice to see multi personality on him. Local villagers are really very kind in helping us, Bus is crowded with innocent school boys and girls while they were on the way to their school. Bunch of girls said “Thanks Uncle” to Arun and “Simple Thanks” to me for carrying their school bags with us. I’m sorry Arun; you must know that you are getting old.
We are all dropped Pushpagiri – Last stop. Arasu took the charge of sharing food materials and common items to all guys. Here is our best friend “Leeches” saying “Hello” to all by finding O +ve blood at my foot then most of the guys started preparing for it. Every individual had their own remedies such as tobacco powder, Neem oil, tobacco water, Leech socks and etc…, we walked about 5 km on the road to reach the forest check post, and there was a halt for clearing few formalities that helped SLR camera Men to click nice snaps. After a while, we actually started our trek towards the Pushpagiri Peak. You never know that Western Ghats will not allow you to trek without spending time on long living trees with natural design and greenish plants with sun light. It was beautiful sceneries all over place and nice to enjoy the bird’s rhythm. We stopped at one point to dive into water, It is an beautiful and chilled water falls, WE felt that legs and fingers are freezing after coming out from the stream, There are lot of differences b/w Western and Eastern streams. I think people whosever didn’t take bath here is really missed a big refreshment, Next is photo session because the only time our face will be looking pretty is after taking bath so it is important to capture our faces with lot of refreshment.
We resumed our trek by crossing dense forest with natural beauties; there were many SLR cameras in this trek to capture single moment of forest, Everybody was trekking very cool and took many snaps while passing , It was looking like photography trek for some time. WE could spot few view points in the middle, that was looking very beautiful and there were no evidence about civilization from there. We have to trek 4kms more to reach the peak. Excitement was going high but stamina level was going low because of bag weight. You can’t take rest in a place for long time because of Leech Attack. Keep moving, Keep Trekking for some time to reach the steep rock. Some private trekkers were there at the spot who were struggling to go up. They were trying a path one side of the rocks. I and Raj climbed the rock straightly without pushing hard. We made it easily. We CTC folks always different in following path/trail and eager to have adventures often
After moving some distance, it was completely wide open forest with big Rocks and it is the best time to eat chocolates, oranges. We captured few snaps to make our Face book audiences happy and then trekked again. Finally we reached the Pushpagiri Peak, trekked 8.5 km in total. Now we are on the top of Kumara Parvatha Hill. Everybody is started relaxing in the fresh air and enjoying a spectacular view of KP.Now the time is 2:15 pm, we finished our lunch packets. Just want to recollect the trek title “Sunrise @ Kumara Parvatha”. Somebody raised question that Are we going to stay here till tomorrow morning? It will be boring to stay at the same place. So shall we climb down and try Ombattu Gutta? series of questions was asked to captain cool Raj, the answer was positive but we need to travel 22 km to climb down and only brave hearts are allowed to move because it is going to be long distance to cover before night time. So it is time to resume the trek, we are real trek hungers, never be satisfied with view points, sun rise sceneries. We wanted to have more joy, more adventures and challenges too.
We started climb down on the other side of the Hill to Kukkai, stopped in the middle to handover food items to the guys who are staying back at the peak. Now what will happen to the trek title “Sunrise @ KP”, there is small change “Sunset @ KP” now. Our plan is to reach base station by 7:30 pm. After crossing leech forest which is really dangerous in Monsoon because leeches even will fall from trees but this time it doesn’t have big impact. We reached a peak where you can see the entire KP hills with lush green sceneries. I couldn’t believe my eyes with wonderful view. So there is a halt to capture the green land and also noticed that trail somehow that goes from the peak to Mandappa (the place is to take rest for trekkers and taking food) but the distance is looking very long, we have long way to go. Initially I pushed myself hard by running and trekked fast to descent each of the Peaks. It is such awesome feeling to cross each small peaks and cover nature in my eyes. It is visual treat to my eyes. These peaks are usually be covered by Karnataka Cinemas where Heroes will run behind heroines in duet songs but they must have spent more time to come here. We CTC real heroes are to dare to cover the KP range in single day where as initial plan were to cover it in 2 days.
The whole 14 members was fast in climbing down but myself ,Prem,Sankar,Arun was faster than them and was ahead one or 2 peaks from them. While looking back, they were looking like Ants which crossing the peaks. We waited for some time to re-group the people, I have no water to drink, and throat was completed dry. There are no water bodies at the peak too. Push gave me little amount of water, that rejuvenated my body and ate oranges, energy bars to gain the stamina level. After re-grouping, started the trek again. It is big game-challenge to the legs because all the places were steep descents and moving stones will be disturbing lot so the whole body goes directly to your leg that makes us tired very quickly. Another beauty in KP is , we climbing up/down, we used to think that peak what we were seeing in our eyes will be the last one but while reaching there, you will find new series of Peaks there. Sometimes Life is having same theory whatever we see in front of our eyes will have end but the end will have fresh start. (What a philosophical thinking Masu, It is time to sleep and continue the writing tomorrow)
We could spot a small stream at a peak where we filled water bottles, Walking, Walking and Keep walking, finally we reached Manadappam where we asked food (rice) as we tired enough and we got the food luckily. All of us had a nice meal; it is another unique experience to eat rice at the Hills in CTC trek. Now the time is currently 5:30 pm, we have still long way to go to reach the base station. Do we able to reach the base by 7:30 pm? The challenge starts here, started the trek again to descent the Hill and the same steep descents, moving rock but this time it is closed forest.We could enjoy the sunset at KP in the middle. We prepared our legs with leach remedies as we are going to enter the closed forest and light is going dark. LED torch is on, camera is off, but action is started to experience the night trek, because it was complete dark after the sunset.
The whole group was scattered into 3 to 4 groups, climbed down along with the trail. There were many obstacles, like the tree root, blocks the way, moving stones and irritated me for some time and we got to fall down at many places.Pushparaj torch was not working, so i had to help as well. It was full of pain, walking, walking, but we never reached the base station. There were no stops, halt in the middle for at least one to 2 hours.We were climbing down constantly with normal pace. I could feel that my legs are pushing me to stop for some time and I managed it without any stop. It’s not a idea to take rest at dense forest with dark light too.This is game of winning mind over body, though your body pushes you to take rest, but your mind will move on without respecting the signal. We could feel the power of inner engineering.
We had to pass few places where full moon was visible openly at the forest that gave me a feel, we will complete the mission very soon. But that is not the case, as we returned 1 hour from there.I keep torturing Pushparaj, who already trekked at KP, by asking questions like how long it will take?, but he never gave me a look about getting the base station. At one point of time, I thought we could have stayed at the peak without trying this.but at the same time, i haven’t lost my whole energy, to complete the mission.Keep trekking, keep climbing down; finally we reached the base by 8 pm. It is remarkable achievement by the group to have the KP mission completed in single day. Wooww.Wooww. Great, we made it. We waited another 1 hr at the base for other guys getting reached the camp
B/w scientist pushparaj researched why his LED torch wasn’t working, He found a silly mistake between + , - co-ordination, he paid enough for his mistake. We took rest almost for 1 hour as we lost whole energy and everybody gathered finally. Few of our guys was tired like anything and don’t want to continue further. We all moved to Kukkai murugan temple by walking 1 km from our base station. It was pain to walk each step after taking rest and pushing the relaxed muscle again. We finished dinner there. Arun & co was trying to arrange a cab to travel from kukkai to kundai checkpost from where we need to enter OG forest – the miracle forest. It is 20 kms away from kukkai. It is time to say bye to the guys who planned to leave to banglore. [ 4 or 5 guys left from 2nday mission ] We managed to get a traveler to go checkpost. The moment I took the seat, I started sleeping and didn’t wake up till reaching the destination. It is a special gift to have a nice sleep like this. sometimes we don’t get such a deep sleep in our routine life as same as the current situation to me [ Now the time is 12:15,but I’m writing this blog after watching mokka TV channels which is because of not feeling sleepy ] Once we reached the place, we started looking for a camp where all guys guys can sleep.
There was spacious area just next to the road and there was a mechanic shop on the other side. We decided to sleep there and tarp.sheet made ready. The local shop lady helped us to give nice place under lorry shet where lorry is already parked there but the owner insisted the driver to move the vehicle outside. It was unexpected and timely help to us. We had tea & lime sota at her shop. Do we allow lots of guys to sleep in front of your house? Most of us will really hesitate to allow them but the the lady never hesitated to do it. I’m really happy to meet such a kind hearted people during the trip. Sleeping at road side is something I usually do it during my hostel life, Thanks CTC to make it happen in my life again. At last, we had a very nice sleep though push was making unusual noise but it didn’t disturb me due to tiredness.
DAY - II
It is sun rise @ Sunday morning, woke up with fresh mind, we all had refreshing tea to wake up all of our body, why should we restrict ourselves with single tea ? We had countless no of tea by tasting black tea & white tea. It is good there is a river flowing near to the area we stayed. After finishing morning kasamusas, we planned to buy food items for lunch @ OG forest. It is obvious that everybody will say OK for chicken but no shop is opened at that time. Though one shop is opened, he was not ready to chop chicken completely. Once again helping hands from the local family to buy chicken. Arun,Prem took jeep to travel about 5 kms to get raw chicken. Vegetarians kept saying, requesting and shouting to have separate food item for them but I’m not sure how many of them took it seriously. It is planned tomato rice + chicken for Non vegetarians and tomato rice – chicken for vegetarians. We chose a shop to take breakfast we ate square shaped idlies . I don’t know why they add sugar to sambar but they are really sweet guys in serving food and responding in friendly manner. The whole group was waiting for arun,prem but they didn’t turn back. We didn’t want to waste time by sitting in the small wall. So, why don’t we become camera man ? we took so many snaps and didn’t miss anything near the place . Few of them took soda bottle with sun light, black tea with sun light, tea shop and dusty road. Thanks Kasuhik for SLR lessons. Somebody [ I think Manimaran ] bought special tirunelveli Halwa , all hands fought together to get piece of sweet and tasted with fun.
It was been long wait to Arun,Prem. Finally they were back after killing 2 or 3 hens. 3 and half chicken was ready for lunch. Meanwhile I was buying tomatoes and other food items and kept with me [ This point needs to be underlined, let me tell you why in the later notes ] We started 2nd day mission around 9:30 am ,started walking about 2 to 3 kms to go inside the misery forest. Raj was carrying rice and other stuff. I was carrying onions & tomatoes. Myself ,raj,nagin,push & Venkat started with a pace, we had to overtake Arun & co team and also overtook loudspeaker gayathiri team, why loudspeaker ? She never close her mouth at any circumstances [ Mokka podurathu ] .now we became first batch walking towards the jeep trail. It is been told that 8 kms walk to reach the OG river which we set as destination. It was a clear jeep trail that moved without any deviation, we started marking our foot marks by walking so that animals would scare about us [ hee.hee] . After walking for some distances, It looks like dense forest with calmness and long living trees and of course our friend ‘leeches’ started doing natural therapy at our foots. I don’t think we walked fast on the jeep trail or next batch may be slow enough to reach us.
We stopped in a place where there was a deviation that went to river. Nagin went inside and confirmed that no trail there so the next batch won’t confuse on it and walked further on the jeep trail. There were many manmade obstacles in the trail to stop elephants if you get a chance to chase with them. The chilled air, colorful trees, rhythmic sounds by birds and small streams crossing on the way gave us pleasant feeling to move further on the trail. We got a scaring location where we spot an elephant foot mark in a mud and looked like the jumbo played with bamboo trees. At one point, we didn’t hear any loudspeaker sound so realized next batch was very slow in walking. We found a small stream at right side and not seen any trail there, there were no path at left side or straight way. Raj just followed the stream at right side and found the continuation of jeep trail there. We just went right side and stopped there to re-grouping because this would really confuse the next batch. It is time to remove leeches from our foot and got time to relax too, we started asking questions why? What? Whereabouts next batch? We waited for long time ( 30 mins ) but no clue about our boyz. After sometime, we heard a sound very close to us,were happy and cool that guys reached our place. So we replied with big sound , whistles but some point of time, there were mute sound from where the sound came from. We just went back near the stream and searched our boyz but no clue. The misery OG forest started playing its game. So we kept waiting at the same place, How long we can seat the same place ? Leeches were allowing to seat there. Venkat got big bites at back bone area, his t-shirt was full of blood at back side. He never know when actually it started injection and taking out blood. No luck after waiting for long time, so we confirmed that we scattered into two groups. Our group – Raj,push,nagin,myself,Venkat. Other group – 9 members. We never know who actually missed in the forest. We followed the correct trail and waited for long time but they didn’t come our way so they are lost from us. From their perspective, we went in jeep trail, should have reached the river by this time so they must have thought that we are lost from them. We guys thought to push further on the jeep trail and reach OG river. Expert nagin stopped us by asking few questions, why should we move further without seeing other batch ? we started thinking and analyzing the scenarios where they have gone ? One thing,we were suspecting was, they could have seen the elephants and turn back to village without coming further. Other was., they could have taken different path without following jeep trail.
We assumed the ourself that sound what we heard was from local villagers [ may be elephant hunters, who knows ? ] Raj proposed a plan to go back atleast, push & myself will stay on the same place but Nagin simply rejected because he didn’t want to have any more scattering. We young blood guys were not ready to seat idle but nagin is an aged person with same young blood plus experience who didn’t allow us to explore more options in the deep and dense forest. OG is well known for missing souls because of confusing trails. Now the time is around 12o clk, great time to prepare lunch but I had rice,oil,masala,salt and vegetables , other group was having only raw chicken, 1 small chicken masala. So now the dream is broken, No chicken….[ Enna Koduma sir ethu ] . Sad thing is I was cutting onions during the idle time assuming we would meet the group for sure but it didn’t happen. We had an idea to cook veg-rice where we stayed for long time but our mind was set to take non-veg so not very much interested to cook the veg.rice. The only thing we were happy about other group was it had expert trekkers with them which didn’t make much concern about their safety. We started walking back from OG without completing OG mission and also assuming other group would haven’t come to forest due to disturbance of wild life. While trekking back to base, we stopped at each deviation and whistling for long time and tried to find them but no luck. We haven’t found any clue about them,was researching foot path and haven’t find any clue but confusions remains same. Nagin was teaching lession how to handle wild life and making sound from the plate to get away animals from our path. In the middle, we stopped at OG river near the road, had a nice bath for long time. Our trek and mission was over once we touched the road and filled stomach with coconut water.
Being more interest on chicken, we took heavy meal in a hotel with fresh piece of fishes and stomach was full of fishes. We went to forest guest house building and had a deep sleep till evening outside the building.This is what the other group had to say, Where did you guys go ? why did you guys didn’t come the destination ? and series of discussion/questions once we met up. Nagin had to say one line “I was thinking that you guys had to reach back the base safely so you guys did that. So no more questions, Lets go and the cool Man Raj had nothing much to discuss/questioning. This is what we call it as “EXPERIENCE” . He offered so many teas,coffee, lime juice to the group. It seems other group had lots of fun and thrilling moments at the forest, they shared their experience with cup of tea. They spot furious animal in the world which is none other than “Human” with big,strong guns to hunt elephants, this kind of human is most dangerous than wild life. Our boyz bit scared to see them inside the deep forest. They had great fun time by cooking raw chicken without salt and not enough curry powder. Chicken is the only item they had to eat for lunch; I couldn’t imagine how they finished 3 and half kg chicken without salt. [terror boyz ] , Vegetarians ate raw noodles without cooking. [What a tough time to veg. folks ] .
We all finished our dinner with group by hearing all these stories from them and had to wait for our bus in the check post. The guys whoever tired much had occupied the tea shop to have power nap. Our banglore boyz started in the bus from Kukkai murugan temple and alerted us to wait near the check post. Good feeling with nice memories, we had to get in the bus. All family members of tea shop came out and gave farewell by saying bye to whole CTC family. We left OG and reached Banglore next day morning. The 2 days of joyful trip ends with same round of comedies in AC chair class train and round of vada,dosa & snacks. Thanks to Prem who did TTR job to make the seat arrangements to CTC folks and negotiating with public.
Sad to miss Kumara paravatha and Ombattu gunda forest. Thanks Raj and Arasu who gave us these wonderful days to our life. It was great to see the girl gayathiri’s spirit towards trekking. She is the only girl among our group who accomplished the mission and she didn’t show any hesitation at any place. It is really commendable job. Special thanks to Banglore friends who bought food items for us and Thanks to all SLR camera men to cover the journey beautifully. Very BIG thanks to whole team who made these days as most memorable days of my life.