Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 1 (25/12/2014):-
After a long over night journey from Majestic Bus Terminus we stopped at Jog Falls which was our first destination. We freshened up ourselves there and enjoyed the scenery there. After a while we ate our breakfast at a small restaurant nearby the Jog Falls. Our breakfast was either Rice Baath or Paratha. Then we started our journey to the beach at Hanover from where we were to start our beach stroll of a total of 40kms. The destination for today was Marudeshwar where we decided that we would camp. We distributed the food amongst ourselves and started our journey with high hopes. After a while we stopped at a fisherman’s rest house built along the coast. Once everyone reached the rest house we continued our journey towards Marudeshwar. After walking for a while we were shocked to find out that we had a hill to go across. This hill was known as Apsarakonda. Once we reached the foot of the hill we stopped for lunch which was Khakhara. After eating and freshening up we began climbing the hill and after a while reached a spot where we found out the presence of a small waterfall. We all took a dip in the water and continued our journey. Once we reached the top of the hill to our shock we found out that we had 5 more hills to go across to reach a coast. We didn’t stop till we got down off the 5th hill. We had reached a very beautiful beach where we planned of stopping for the day but found out that it was a private beach. So we just took a dip in the beach and before starting our journey it began becoming dark. When we started climbing the final hill we had to take out our torches so that we could see where we were going. It began to grow immensely dark, when, to our relief we had reached Monkey Beach which had become our destination of the day. After stopping few of the people had chapathis with various side dishes such as palak panner and channa while the others had gone to a nearby restaurant for dinner. After everyone had regrouped we had moved into a small front yard of a fisherman’s house where we slept for the night.

Day 2 (26/12/2014):-
Got up at 6:00 in the morning after a good night’s rest. Completed all the morning work freshened up and then continued our journey without Ajay, Ravi, Anala and Tushar. After walking for about 2kms we stopped at the foot of a hill where we were supposed to wait for the other four who were bringing our breakfast. After an hour or so they had caught up with us and we ate our breakfast which was Idly and Vada with Chutney plus Sambar. Then we all took a dip in the beach. After two hours of a break we continued our journey. After we reached the top of the hill we could see the Shiva Temple at Marudeshwar which was at an approx. distance of 1.5kms from the present place. We started walking towards Marudeshwar and about 0.25kms away from Marudeshwar we got stuck as we found ourselves on one side of a river. We could to cross the river only in two ways, either go back a kilometer and cross from over a bridge which a few people opted while the majority opted to cross the river by going into the water and crossing it. The water was chest-deep. So we had to lift the bags on our heads, watch our step and proceed to reach the other side of the river. After crossing it we reached Marudeshwar and stopped for lunch there. The guys who opted the way around had reached only after we finished the lunch. So we had to wait for them also to finish the lunch. This left us at a fallback of our plan of reaching Bhatkal. So after lunch we rapidly increased our pace in an aim to reach Bhatkal by evening at any cost. This aim also decreased our frequency of breaks to almost nil. Finally after walking 5kms we stopped to find ourselves again at the bank of a quite broad river which had no route to cross apart from the boat service. So we had given up all hopes of reaching Bhatkal on foot and instructed our van to come and pick us up at the place where we were stuck. In the mean while we had got into the beach and enjoyed the flabbergasting view of the sunset. We boarded the van and reached Bhatkal in about an hour and a half. After reaching Bhatkal we had our dinner at the respective Veg. or Non-Veg. restaurants. Then we boarded the bus and reached a wide open space where we slept for the night.

Day 3 (27/12/2014):-
Woke up at 6:00 to a very windy morning. We found a huge H written quite close to the place where we were asleep. Only in the daylight could we make out that we were sleeping next to a Helipad. We immediately distributed the food amongst ourselves and continued on our journey to the foot of the Kodachadri hill. After travelling for about an hour we stopped at a distance of about 0.5kms from the foot of the hill. We started walking and after a distance of 200m we found a small river running. We stopped there, freshened ourselves filled our water bottles and were ready to start our trek. Our aim was to climb and reach the peak of the highest of the 7 hills present ahead of us. We started our trek. After walking for an hour and a half we stopped at a Y-junction where we had our breakfast which was bread with jam. Once we finished eating, we continued our trek. We were facing continuous dangers of leeches, animals and also falling of the slope. After a rigorous and long trek we stopped at around 3:30pm for lunch along a stream. We began collecting wood so as to start a fire for cooking. After lighting the wood we began cooking noodles in a large vessel for all the 23 of us. The noodles got cooked in about 15 minutes. We ate the noodles which was very tasty too and freshened ourselves and continued our trek. The pace was rather slow due to dimming sunlight. In the late evening we found a flat empty place quite near the peak where we decided to stop for the day. But the place was filled with leaves and wood twigs. We split ourselves into three groups – one for clearing the place of leaves, another for collecting the wood for the campfire and the last one for building a suitable campfire for cooking lunch and keeping the animals away. We had cooked Aval poha for the night which was very tasty and filling thanks to Naveen sir. After eating we had decided on who is going to patrol the camp site every one hour over the night. This was the catchy and fun part. It was rather interesting to wake up and talk to your friend sitting next to a campfire which was very soothing amidst the chillness all around. This ended the day.

Day 4 (28/12/2104):-
We got up today at 7 in the morning and after freshening up started our trek. The plan was to reach a nearby stream and follow it all the way to the foot of the hill. We had reached the stream that we planned on but it was tough to follow it as the slope was very steep. We had taken the risk and had begun the trek. After two hours we had reached an open place where a large artificial lake was built. We had stopped there for breakfast which was again bread with jam. After having our breakfast Ajay, Gaurav, Ravi and Hari had gone further to check whether the route was available to exit from the hills. In the mean while we got into the lake where we had our dip. After an hour the route was confirmed. We packed up, got ready and began on our way towards the way out. After two hours of risky walking along steep hills we reached the dam which was where the van was to meet us. We stopped at a hill near the dam where we could get a lot of shade. We stopped there and ate our lunch which was weird dishes such as channa aval, palak panner aval and aval mixed with milk powder. Apart from these we also had noodles and soup. After lunch few of us got into the water while others had chosen to rest. We packed up after half an hour and began moving to the dam. In themean while, when the van was reaching we had taken few group pictures. Once the van had arrived we had boarded and began travelling to Bangalore. On the way we had stopped at Shivappa Naik’s fort. Here we had witnessed an awesome sunset. After this we continued our journey. At around 10:00 in the night we stopped for dinner at a dhaba. We had sumptuous dinner and continued our journey to Majestic Bus Terminus. We reached the terminus at 6:00 in the morning. We waved our goodbyes to everyone and departed in our own ways.

I shall remember this event for quite a long time for so many beautiful and awesome reasons. Not only, as a team, did we get a chance, to watch and walk along, some of the splendid beaches but also found time to explore a unknown trail leading to Kodachadri peak. In the end we did not make it to Kodachadri peak, but we came out as a proud and happy team.
We had all kinds of adventure during these 4 days and even while returning to Bangalore our vehicle ran out of fuel, when the driver managed to refuel it, the battery just went kaput. In the end, the team members had to push start the vehicle. All this happened at 3 am in the morning. Having such a motivated and high class team was very special indeed.

24 December 2014.
It all started one day before Christmas, when we were told to assemble at the Bangalore railway station by Ravi. We managed to get there and group overselves right on schedule. But there was a delay, the vehicle arrived a bit late and we managed to leave Bangalore around 11 30 pm. It was then a smooth drive along the road leading to Shimoga. 

25 December 2014.  

7 AM - 11 30 AM
We could manage to reach Jog falls at around 7 AM in the morning. Being a holiday there were lot of visitors. We managed to freshen ourselves up (opposite to Jog falls there are public washrooms) and after few clicks at the Jog falls, we made a move and headed towards Honnavara. In the middle found a junction, where we saw few hotels and decided to stop for breakfast. The options in one hotel were Kerala Laccha paratha, and a rice item. Few of us who chose to have idli opted for another hotel. Completed breakfast in about 45 minutes and then proceeded with the journey. It was a slow descent, along the not so wide road leading to Honnavara. Managed to reach Honavara at around 11 AM. While on the highway we could locate a store, where we purchased the cooking utensil and then started towards Kasarkod beach, which would be our starting point of the trek. 
11 30 AM - 2 PM 
After reaching the Kasarkod beach, we found shade under few trees over there, and started distributing the common food items amongst ourselves. Apart from the regular stuffs each one carried, each one of us had to carry along few other common items like, 250 gms of milk powder, 1 packet of ready to eat food (Khakra or chapathi), a 250 gm dates packet, poha,jam, knorr noodles or soup, ready to eat curry packets. 
Took another 30 minutes to sort these things and one person also had to carry along the cooking vessel. Not sure who started the trek with the cooking vessel, I guess it is Veeranna or Mahesh or Arun. Also found a neighboring home who was willing to provide us drinking water. Each one of us got water over there and started the trek only by 11 40 AM.

Initial stretch was along to beach to Apsarakonda beach under the scorching sun. After few minutes a major chunk of guys went ahead into the shade instead of walking along the beach to avoid direct sun. We four people Tushar, Pooja, Gokul Shivanand and me managed to stay along the beach itself. I personally felt walking bare foot along the shores with waves turning up, to be the pretty soothing experience (minus the sun of course).  
In the middle managed to reach a small fisherman's hut kind of thing which provided temporary shade for all of us for some time. Meanwhile the other group came out of the shade and joined us. Soon we could see the Apsara konda beach and made a quick move towards it. On reaching Apsara konda beach we took some time off under the shade of the rock, clicked few pictures and then headed a nearby shade under the trees where we found a stall selling few sweetened drinks. Over here completed our lunch. Incidentally we had brought along few packets of ready to eat Chapathi. Unfortunately these were half cooked and we chose to eat Khakra instead. We also met the other group of travellers (Durai and friends) from Chennai who were on a roadtrip. It was Durai who voluntarily agreed to drive to a nearby hotel and get the Chapati's cooked. It was a very kind gesture indeed (and saved few kilometers of walking for some team members during the night's dinner that day, more on that coming soon). 

2 PM - 6 30 PM

After lunch we had an uphill climb in order to visit the Apsarakonda beach. Few of us chose to take dip in the Apsara konda fresh water fall, while few of us chose to visit a small cave nearby. It was difficult to continue along the beach and along the rocks, instead we chose to climb the small hillock kind of thing in order to avoid that difficult stretch. We continued along the hill for quite some time and then found a place where we could descend. we made our way into a nearby beach. We found few foreigners surfing over there along with some guys building a hut or a shelter. We later found out, this was kind of private property and as a result we had to move on instead of camping over there. It was turning dark, but we managed to move along, not before taking quite some nice pictures and few of us including me had a nice dip in the water. It was pretty awesome indeed. The waves were just fantastic. I wish I had been in the water for some more time, but we had to move along to a different camping spot.

6 30 PM to 10 30 PM. 

So once again, we chose to climb uphill, instead of negotiating the rocks along the beach.This time we walked covered quite a lot of ground that too in the dark under the moon. It was pleasant and a nice experience indeed. We encountered couple of people who guided us too. But overall it was GPS tracking all along the way. After an hour of walking in the dark, we finally found a stretch of road, which a passerby told would lead to Manki village which was our camping spot for the night. It was a sweet news. As we made our way to Manki village we could spot a nearby church. Being Christmas there was a programme going on. People were in a festive mood and seemed very happy. Seeing them happy made us happy too. As we entered the village, few strangers even  guided us on places where to camp couple of guys even provided their contact numbers voluntarily, requesting a callback if we needed some kind of help/support for camping/water.  

Sometimes, its these kind of gestures to total strangers which is so much touching. I knew nobody in the village, yet I met 3 people who willingly shared their numbers and asked for callback in case of any help needed and one person (stranger) even accompanied us to the main road, when we lost our way in the night. 
We traced our way to the beach and sat for some more time looking at the waves. It was pretty rough that day and locals told there were chances of water level rising. Hence chose not to sleep on the beach side, instead chose a house opposite to the beach to sleep. The house belonged to a fisherman and had ample space in the front (in the compound below the trees) to accomdate 30 people. Durai and friends also caught up with us over here.  

Once reaching the beach, few of us chose to eat Chapathi's that were pre-heated along with the ready to eat Curry. Rest of us made our way to Bhatkal - Honnavara highway in search of hotel which was a good 2 kilometers away. We made our way in 2 groups, the first group, Sai and few others quickly made a move towards the highway, in the right direction. The second group comprising of Gokul, Gokul Shivanand, Kavitha, Nikhil, Tushar, Pooja and me, took time and started in the wrong route and only with the help of a local we got back to the correct path. This costed us an additional 1.5 kilometers and loads of extra time trying to negotiate our way through Manki village in Bhatkal.  

Finally we found the proper road and one local even gave Gokul Shivanand a lift towards the main road, just to check if the hotel was opened or not.(Which was open for our luck). After 45 minutes of walking we finally hit the highway and landed at the hotel, where Sai and other guys had completed their dinner and headed back!

Dinner available was Chicken Biryani and Kushka rice for vegetarians. Completed dinner quickly and started towards beach. Once again over here a local guided us with the shortest possible route to the beach and we were back by around 10 40 PM odd. Then it was sleep time. An eventful day came to a close!  

26 December 2014 

7 AM to 8 30 AM.

Woke up in the morning, freshened up, drinking water was available at the fisherman's house. We decided to make a move towards Murudeshwara  along the beach. The team started out in two groups. First group was lead by Naveen and the second group comprised of Ravi who took additional load of getting packed breakfast for everyone. (Thank you Ravi & Anala). 

8 30 AM to 10 15 AM

Though on an empty stomach, we started walking pretty quickly. Early morning walk along the beach, seemed such a breeze. Watching the fisherman, sorting out their early morning fish catch, watching their multi-colored boats (and paintings on them), made a wonderful sight indeed. Wish we could have spent some more time just amidst these guys. But we had to move on. Quickly we managed to reach a place where once again we had to negotiate rocks in order to continue along the beach. 

Over here we took a break. We managed to eat the ready to eat Khakra and also dates. Meanwhile after 20 minutes Ravi and Anala brought along the packed breakfast for all of us and we managed to eat that too. Then it was time to take a dip in the water. Waves were nice and it felt really good indeed.Few of us were very tentative in getting into the salt water thinking of an itching after effect. I had a little itching after yesterday's dip, but that did not stop me from entering the salt water again!

10 20 AM to 1 PM

After around 20 minutes in water, we started again to walk, after a short uphill climb and descend we could manage to reach the beach again. Now the big statue of Lord Shiva was visible to us at a distance. Yep, we were nearing Murudeshwar. But this stretch was pretty tough, the sunshine was getting stronger by the minute and it was making the walk a little difficult. The entire group now got split into smaller groups as each one of us were walking at different pace and were also taking a breather at different places altogether. I managed to have Veeranna for company for much of the journey after which I found Nikhil, Kavitha and Vijay for company as we managed to reach Murudeshwara. There was a huge crowd in Murudeshwara beach too as well as the town, courtesy the 4 day holiday.

1 PM - 3 PM

The smaller groups started to have refreshments in Murudeshwara one by one as they arrived and finally at 1 PM we regrouped hoping to finish lunch at a nearby hotel. (Yup only hoping). But finding a comfortable place to sit and eat was difficult as there was so much crowd, each hotel was full. After walking some distance, we once again split into smaller groups and we each went to a different hotel. Completed lunch and were back and took a break.

3 PM - 5 40 PM.

Starting the last section of the beach trek took quite some time and by 3 PM we were ready to make a move towards Bhatkal. This time, it was not that scorching heat, but still it was humid a bit. From here on we walked continously, in different smaller groups, with each one having their own pace. Sai, Jayant were pretty ahead. For once, I thought they would stop only when it turns dark and I would lose one last chance to get into the water. But luckily these guys stopped at a place called Ilvekodi, where the river meets the sea, thusrequiring a ferry to crossover before we could continue the trek. 

5 40 PM - 9 PM 

It was turning dark and I took a dip in the water. Soon Ravi caught up with us and told, we would make a move towards Kodachadri hence had to stop the beach trek and Ilvekodi. Meanwhile I could salvage few more precious moments playing in the water enjoying the sunset and taking pictures. Once done, we managed to locate a nearby road and called our vehicle to pick us at Ilvekodi Sri Durga Parameshwari temple entrace. Things worked out pretty soon and we were on our way to Bhatkal for dinner. Reached Bhatkal, found a decent place to have dinner. Ravi and Naveen took up the task of getting bread for the next couple of days. And then we made a move towards the place of our night halt.

9 PM - 10 30 PM.

Reached this place where Ravi had located a flat piece of land next to a helipad, where could lay the tarpaulin and sleep for the night. There was cool breeze throughout the night, with few vehicles passing and less disturbance.  

27 December 2014 

7 30 AM - 9 30 AM. 

We managed to reach the village which would lead us to the Kodachadri peak. There was ample time to freshen up next to a small stream on the way to the peak. But we did not complete breakfast, instead chose to have breakfast along the way.  Breakfast was simple bread and jam which we purchased the day before at Bhatkal. Filled up our water bottles at a nearby house and started with the trek. 

9 30 AM to 2 PM. 

We had chosen to trek to a nearby waterfall before making our way to Kodachadri, but, since we were running a bit short of time, we dropped the idea of water fall instead chose to reach Kodachadri peak directly. This exploratory trek was not so easy. There was slippery trail on many places, plus the route was loaded with thorny bushes. Each one got their fair share of thorn pricks. My sleeping mat took a brunt with it getting torn in multiple places. But it was fun, in a way different from what we had done over the last couple of days. We had covered less distance but the exhaustion was bit higher owing to the trail, thorns and the ascent. After sometime, Ravi found a water source and decided to pursue the peak trail along side the waterfall itself. It was a nice idea. But there was a catch to it. It was bit slippery and had some climbs too. Each one of us had few slips, but yep, it was fun.
Around 12 PM odd Ravi decided to break for lunch and found a place to cook the noodles which we had been carrying for the last couple of days. Ravi, Anala and Mahesh I guess took turns to cook up the noodles and it turned out perfect. After 45 minutes of lunch break, we proceeded towards the peak.  

3 PM to 6 PM.

We carried along, parallel to the water source for quite a long time and finally the water source turned into a huge waterfall and the climb parallel to the waterfall became near impossible, (though Damodaran, Ajay and couple of others managed to climb it). We took a deviation and proceeded into the dense forest yet again. This time around Mahesh, Ajay were in the lead and it was almost sunset time and the guys were quite enthusiastic considering the fact that, we would be reaching the peak in a short time.

But, Ravi stopped us and told us that we had headed in the wrong direction and we had to back track in order to reach the peak. Soon we chose an alternate path and it turned dark. We had no choice but to trek in the dark, for some time at least. Then encountered a flat piece of land, where Ravi chose, few of us, would go ahead and check if a way exists to the peak or not, while rest of us would wait over here.

They came back within 15 minutes time and told this flat piece of land would be our camping place for the night as finding a way through the forest in the night would be troublsome. The place was a boon indeed, it was a flat piece of land, the forest was not that dense over there, we could clean the place quickly, and we could find loads of firewood nearby, thus allowing us to keep a running fire throughout the night.

Once the cleanup had happened, Ravi, Anala, Naveen, Hari, Mahesh, Ashwin, Arun took up the cooking task. This time the dinner was Poha. It turned out to be very nice, meanwhile everyone got ready with their sleeping bags, Naveen and Ravi decided the shifts for nightwatchman. Yep, throughout the night 3 people would be awake at any time, taking turns to keep the fire running and watching out for any wild animals. I started out with 11 - 12 shift while Hari Ajay and Ashwin gave company. Ajay played his guitar while Gaurav and me took some pictures of the bonfire. This experience was unique. Everyone took turns to keep the fire running and soon it was daylight again!

28 December 2014.

6 AM to 8 AM

Started the day with coffee and instead of chosing to reach the peak and exit, we decided to make a move towards a dam, hoping that, by following its backwaters would lead us to the exit. And believe me it did.

8 AM to 10 30 AM.

But even before we could reach the backwaters, we once again had to move through dense forests, cross dried up water streams here and there and encounter some thorny bushes as well. Finally we were able to descend right next to the dam backwaters, but the dam was nowhere in sight. Its over here, Ravi decided a search team comprising of very quick members (Ravi, Gaurav, Hari, Ajay) would move first to figure out if a way exists to get back to civilization. Rest of the guys would wait over here for them to either come back or a signal for clearance to proceed. We found ample time to get into the water, freshen up complete breakfast.  Breakfast was bread which was left over in adequate quantity.

11 30 AM to 3 PM.

After an hour and half we got to make a move. Incidentally, Ravi and few others made a loud call from the other side of the dam backwaters. Though we did not understand what they were trying to convey, we felt, since they did not return and instead chose to call, was good enough for us to proceed in that direction. We sorted and managed to carry their luggage too and proceeded walking along the backwaters. Almost an hour into the walk, we met Hari, who told us the road leading to the exit was nearby. We also caught up with Ravi and Gaurav. Over here, few of us got into the water while rest waited while Arun cooked up nice noodles/soup, poha mixed with ready to eat curry. Almost after 1.5 hours of break and rest we finally decided to draw the curtains on the fabulous 4 day trek. It was a fantastic experience. We walked a kilometer towards the dam, where our vehicle would pick us up.

3 PM to 6 PM.

Upon completion of the trek. we managed to drop Aswin and Gaurav to a nearby bus stand where they would go to Mangalore to catch their train. Rest of us proceeded to Nagara fort built by Shivappa Nayak. Took some time out to explore the fort as well as take some pictures (as a group) as well.

6PM - 9 30 PM

Next it was time to proceed towards Bangalore. Stopped for evening tea and snacks at Hosanagara, where we consumed some fried items like padoka and drank loads of tea as well. All in all a pleasant experience. The return journey was where we bonded together even better courtesy some interesting conversations. We had missed out healthy discussions on general topics over the last 4 days, as each one of us was always occupied with either cooking, finding root, taking a dip in water, or other activities. But this route from Hosanagar to Birur had loads of interesting conversations too courtesy Ravi, Anala, Navin, Hari, Nikhil, Gokul, Gokul Shivanand, Sundhari, thanks guys, I enjoyed speaking and bonding with you guys.

We decided to cross Shimoga and then stop for dinner. We were right on time and proceeded towards Birur where we found a Dhaba, where we could stop for dinner. The group was split into two, vegans occupying one table and the non vegetarians occupying another table.

After dinner we started with the return journey and everyone was off to sleep. All was well till 2 45 AM in the morning, when all of a sudden the van run out of fuel. The driver had  failed to refuel at Shimoga, hoping there would be a gas station somewhere on the way. But to our luck, he crossed 29 gas stations and none of them were open!.

Now even the driver and cleaner were clueless on how to proceed. They tried to stop ongoing vehicles hoping to get a lift to the next fuel station. But none of them stopped. Luckily couple of policemen on night patrol, told us about a fuel station, 0.5 kilometers away. The driver and cleaner proceeded by foot to the gas station and came back quickly in an auto with around 10 liters of diesel fuel. Managed to refuel the vehicle and the driver began the attempt to start the vehicle. Soon the vehicle ran out of battery power trying to start the vehicle. I was curious as to how the battery ran out after driving 150 kilometers. Then the driver told me, he uses 6 headlights and told it has used up a chunk, out of the battery. But we were able to push the vehicle and get it started all again. One last team effort by this great team and alas we were able to reach Bangalore by 6 AM. Hopefully Chennai guys were able to catch their train on time.

Overall the event experience was fabulous, team work was phenomenal, each one of the individual was thorough professional. I did not know, how four days just flew by, in all you guys' company. Loads of reasons to remember and cherish this trip for many more years to come.

Hopefully we shall catch up sometime in future too.



Copyright © 2015 • The Chennai Trekking Club