Seeing the picture of KP in trek invite mail from CTC got excited and applied enthusiastically. Not sure if I will be selected, was very happy seeing my name in short-listed names. With one month time I promised that i will prepare well to ensure i wont fall much (though not fully i did reduce the number of times i fell).
17thSep Ganesh Chathurthi pooja was finished much earlier than usual because i had to leave for the 1:30 train. In my long list of prayers to ganesh ji included, successful & careful completion of the trek too... hogged few modhak and rushed to the station. Guess his blessings were there - with no traffic reached on time. Thanks to earlier mails most of us were in same coach, found my place and the KP group. Being my second trek all were new faces. Made self intro some hi hello and conscious mixing of names by Arun as Praveen and Praveen as Arun (I realised who is who only after a dayL).
Then i settled in my place to find Ganesh – the Air Force guy sitting next to me. He was my companion for next 6 hours because i didn’t budge from my place and he did not know Tamil to join others. After both of us realised language was our common ground i started chatting, actually shooting questions. After all how many times will i meet someone from Air Force.
Our train got late to reach Blore and with hungry stomach we reached. Then came the broken leg hero.. nah villain. That was how we newbies saw him. Four to five people helped him inside the van and have “window seat” too. Thanks to Uma, she enlightened me about this prank.
Van took off to KP, all old friends were having good chit chat – i was silently listening and enjoying some of the conversation and dozed off. Had dinner at dhaba where we came to learn about Mr. Raja – The unimaginably educated person. All of us were awed by what all he has studied and many still could not digest the fact HOW DOES HE DO IT?
Day 1 – Start from Base
Reached KP earlier than scheduled, we stretched our legs for some more time, freshen up, had tea took our bags few snaps near the bus, breakfast at the hotel and the team of 32 started for the trek.
There was a small confusion with the trail at the start, but later sorted and all of us were clear with one thing, the organisers decide and we follow. This was the trend throughout. Battar Maan – our two day Annapurna is our destination 1. Enjoying the surroundings and jabbering we were on our trail. It drizzled now and den. Taking in the beautiful landscapes now and then, admiring natures beauty, struggling on some steep climbs and with constant encouragement from Raja i kept moving on. We halted at one point for break where most of the team climbed a small hill while few tired souls like me took rest, admired the beauty from where we were.
The silent kisses– eeks from “leaches”. How can I not mention them? Now and then when we were halting my first job was to push leaches away from shoes, socks and legs. Like we were told in the mail KP leaches are small & friendly. End of two days leaches were no more an issue because we got so used to it. I started removing them with my hand also. They did create few beauty spots on our legs about which we girls were proudly talking about on our return journey ;).
Battar Maan – Our food source during the two days. A beautiful hut amidst the hills with loads of open space around, fresh cold clean water flowing in small pipes (with taps which don’t closeLan unapproving sight for me being Chennaite).
We reached a bit early I guess, our lunch was not ready. While organisers and a few were discussing the next agenda, etc. some of us got busy removing the leaches and refreshing. As there was ample time we decided to take the peak right away and have a late lunch or early dinner. The next confusion was with forest office. Kannada expert of the group Varsha stepped in and despite all her efforts the officer guy did not allow us to camp on the way to KP.
So it was lunch at Battar Maan – hot rice with pumpkin sambhar, pickle and buttermilk. My tummy got happy once filled.
As per the finalised plan for the eve we were to explore all small hills around the forest office. The explorers split into small groups and started conquering the many hills around us. Climate was perfect after a good rain, with beautiful shades of lush green grass every hill was so welcoming. We took some lovely group and solo pics. Thanks to Sundar here. Loads of chit chat, about earlier trips, places they visited, teasing each other and yeah Yoga class..JJwhich was lotta fun. Sinking in the beauty around, enjoying the sunset in the half cloudy sky, chilled winds, breezy movement of grass with heavy hearts we returned to forest office before it got dark.
Slowly the entire team got together. Very quickly it got dark after that. Thanks to the forest office we could take bath after which had snacks fruits and were chit chatting. Our chef of the eve Varsha Vignesh made yummy corn soup. Savouring every bit of the hot soup in the cold night enjoyed it thoroughly with priyanka. I was waiting to go to one of the sitting spots near the forest office. A beautiful high raised platform with cement benches on all sides. There were many think alike. The moment I was mentioning heard Ganesh calling as a group was already on the way. I rushed to take my torch and along with priyanka joined others.
Like I thought it was indeed beautiful place to spend time. Was just wishing for a campfire that will make the eve perfect. Again my wish got fulfilled. Arun Praveen & Co got logs for campfire. What more, my happiness was beyond limits. When the fire was in the making noodles were ready. All of us rushed down. Even though I took small portion it was yummy. Another hour few of us were going to have dinner at Battar Maan.
Most of the team then got together around the camp fire and then split into groups to sleep at three different locations. I proudly picked my new sleeping bag had dinner at the hut and chose campfire location to sleep. The tarpaulin was nicely tied and arranged by Ganesh, camp fire perfectly set by Sridhar, like Arun had mentioned – what else can be a better place than sleeping in the open sky, perfectly made camp fire and a camp fire man to ensure fire was perfect ;)... smiling to myself i started sleeping in my new cosy bag. When everything was going well... grrr it started to rain. We hid ourselves in the tarpaulin. Rain showed no mercy. With great difficulty we stayed till four after which i along with Arun Praveen and Ganesh rushed to forest office. Somehow made place there and i slept for an hour.
Day 2 – The peak
Everyone assembled for the next trail sharp by 5:30. After my gud one hour sleep i joined the team. Advice of less water points and to carry sufficient food provisions was given. We started before 6.
Beauty of KP was unleashing as we were climbing the hills. It was beautiful walking into the mist.
We reached Mantappa – Destination 2. Took a short break some good pics there and moved on.
The next trail was getting more and more steep. But worth the effort. View from here was breathtaking. Stood now and then and was enjoying the drizzle in the fog (still unsure if it was coming from the valley or drizzling).
Final trail was even more beautiful. Getting down the hill the trail was fully covered with trees and roots sprawling over the floor and stream flowing on one side. Beautiful photo spots, but the more time we stand the more are the attacks by leaches (Grrr....).
Next feat was Bahubali/Ravanan movie type rock with a thin waterfall. Watta scene. But the problem is none of us were either Prabhas or Vikram. With help of Sundar and Naga i climbed up and Sridhar i climbed down. So they were my saviours hereJJ.
Oh Yeah!!! Made it to KP...JJJ.
The trial down to the hut was the same way. Best part was with sun coming up and trail getting clearer the sceneries were photo perfect. This was the longest for me. Totally exhausted tired and dried up with patient Praveen beside me and climate staying good even during mid day i reached ate and slept. After half hour break we all started to go to the base.
Villan turned Hero – I started with the first group so that this time there is no lagging. But somehow others were faster (guess I should have had another round of sambhar rice ;)). This time Sridhar – the broken leg villain too joined me at the end. After a while he was not happy with the pace and so was in the mood for hill run. He asked me to join him, enthusiastically I held his hand and took him down. I should say, quite fast we were. After passing half the team Sridhar was exhausted and so I let him join the rest. By the way I am mentioning Sridhar schartz her ;)
Tri leg Hero – Like I was asked to mention he is Karthikeyan Veeran. The second part of trail down was with Karthik. With loads of inputs on how human are blessed with limbs to walk or run 200 Kms and the law of mind over body, the need to bend knees and run or walk etc. the best solution he concluded was to give me the support with his trekking stick and of we were on the trek trail at almost running speed.
I met the team below well before others (thanks to Sridhar & Karthik). We took a sooper group pic.
Just when we were to start for the last 1.5 Kms walk a carrier auto uncle passing by stopped at our request. Dozens of thanks to him. With happy faces all of us pushed into the carrier.
Hot coffee, hot bajji and after good bath we started our way back to Bengaluru. Had dinner at a restaurant on the way and reached station by 4.
With thanks and bye and cya on next trek to Blore team Chennai team waited and boarded our train.
More than half my journey sleeping reached Chennai. Happy for experiencing a wonderful trek bid bye to the many frnds I made and thanks to organisers.
Special Mention –
Thanks to Arun – who was encouraging for everything – be it when i was doubtful about joining trek or to sleep near the camp fire
Thanks to Praveen – Damn patient on the way back to Battar maan
Thanks to our chef – yummy soup and noodles
Thanks to Raja – accountant of KP
Thanks to photographers – to help us cherish these wonderful moments
Thanks to Sridhar & Karthik – hill run and third leg ;)
Thanks to the team – for the best of time, fun, photos, everything...