It was another exciting Friday evening and I was all set for an exploratory trek with BASC. With the overwhelming sense of exploration spinning inside my head, I started my experiment to try some new route, right after I left home for our first meeting point Shantala Silk, Majestic. I chose a wrong route and then I was very sure of being the last one to reach the assembly point :D. Felt great to meet some known trekking mates and some new faces with lots of cheers and energy. Few more pickups on the way and we started heading towards the 'mystic’ exploratory trek to lesser known waterfalls of Western Ghats!Ravi, our captain, pulled the trigger for introduction round, which I feel is always one of the funniest moments of any trek. Slowly we all started getting into the comfort zone, with many experiences shared by fellow trekkers and adventurers. Those heavy duty laughter and ragging was ruling the atmosphere gradually and conditioning our minds for more and more fun ahead for two days in the wild!
DAY 1: 25th Jan
We reached a village called Kattina karu in the morning to catch up with our guide who took care of all permissions required for trekking inside a reserve forest in Sharavati Valley, which is constantly under surveillance by the forest rangers. Packing our bags and leaving extra luggage's in the vehicle, we were good to go! Our guide, who spearheaded the trek, was like an ‘alive GPS’ in pursuit to win some kind of Jungle marathon! We could not afford to lose him by slowing down our pace as we had to follow him all the way into the forest. Perhaps ‘Be quick or be dead’ was his mantra that day! We came across a beautiful field and that was an absolutely refreshing take-off spot for the day! Our first halt was a small halli mane on the way. We took rest, refilled water bottles and had little chat with the family about the place and some disciplines of camping in the forest. It was time to get back on trail. The scorching sun started adding bit more fun to the trek ;) and amidst, we sighted some beautiful landscapes which prompted us to have couple of clicks to remember.
We slowly disappeared into the wild and entered the forest to reach Basavana baayi, our first destination of the day. Basavana baayi temple and waterfall. We reached Basavana baayi temple after trekking few miles from the halli mane. There was a statue of Nandi with water coming out from its mouth (Basavana baayi). With few clicks, we left for Basavana baayi waterfall which was very near to the temple. It was a small waterfall, good enough for rejuvenating ourselves and have some fun! After spending some time there, we started our trek to Meghane peak which was the final destination for the day.
The Lunch Point
We followed the jeep track and halted at a village. It was time to fill ourselves with delicious idli, sambhar and cold masala buttermilk (best I ever had!). Other packets of chapathis and chatneypudi was opened up and in a moment we had plenty of options to hog on. With little rest, we packed our backpacks and started marching for the base of the hill.
Meghane Hill Base
The sun was scorching right above our heads which was very tiresome. But for the guide, it was like a pre-marathon warm up session. It was actually a challenge to follow him. Dattatreya could keep up his pace and was leading us. Later the guide realized his alien speed and slowed down a little bit to allow us to catch up with him. The heavy lunch and trekking right after that, was a wrong move! It was a very hot and humid day, which made the trek little tough. Well, that's what made this trek difficult and I had no regrets! Abhilash started feeling sick while climbing up, but after couple of shots of Electrolyte, he was up on his feet again! Finally we made it to a tribal settlement at the Meghane peak by 5.00pm. The place was breathtaking with beetle nut cultivations and lush green fields all around us. Soon we came to know that the sunset point was still way ahead of us and we had not much time. We unloaded our backpacks and carried water bottles few eatables.
The Sunset point
I was skeptical about our timing to reach the sunset point. We started trekking (almost running!) towards the peak. 2 kids from the settlement guided us to the peak and we finally reached well within time, with all juices squeezed out. But finally, that pain was worth the reward! An awesome panoramic view and a very little glance of Arabian sea, made our day . Enjoyed the view for quite some time. Clicking silhouettes has always been my favorite at such locations and we got couple of good shots at the peak. Sun was hiding below the horizon, leaving the sky with colorful hues all around it. The view brought a feeling of contentment in all of us. Perhaps, just to get in this state of mind, we all trekking freaks drag our bums out in the mountains in the weekends and scale it despite all odds! We relaxed for some more time contemplating in the twilight, and headed back towards the camping site.
The camping site
After reaching there, we started unpacking bhelpuri packets and Rekha ji prepared that really well. What a great start to the eve! We all freshened up and started getting ready for the campfire gathering and dinner. Few rounds of dumb charades made the atmosphere alive again. Our head cooks of every trek, Vidyasagar ji and Sudhakar ji, prepared delicious Puliyogare and we filled our tummies more than we could ever do ;). And there was an opportunity I wanted to seize to do stargazing. Away from ever growing city pollution and haze that makes it very difficult to enjoy those stars, the sky here was spray painted with beautiful dim and bright stars and numerous constellations. I was submerged in that feeling and just couldn’t keep my eyes off the sky! Sachin, a very talented all rounder (living up to his name ;)), took out his camera and we did some experiments with star trail photography. Couldn’t get our images perfect, so took Google's help to depict the sky as close as possible, at least to complete the story here ;)
DAY 2: 26th Jan
Next day started by breaking the ritual of early morning coffee/ tea. It was the smoking hot soup this time! A different and yummy way to kick-start the day. We finished our breakfast with bread-jam-cheese and packed our backpacks to start descending towards our next pickup point. The destination was Gudhana Gundi waterfalls. That was a little trek in the dense Jungle with fear of getting lost if one could not stick to the guide’s trail. We crossed small streams on the way and finally reached one of the lesser known waterfalls of Western ghats!
Gudhana Gundi waterfalls
Entry point was a huge beautiful gorge and on our right side was the waterfall. With few clicks near the gorge, I was dying to jump into the waterfall. This was the moment. Few more group snaps and it was time to have some fun in the pool! Ravi gave us enough time to have fun and after finishing our lunch, we headed back towards exit. Few were casually going ahead faster than the guide while being inside the Jungle, and lost their way! It took a while to gather everyone again. The guide was really furious this time :P. Our trek was reaching its end and the feeling of missing the wilderness till the next trek, was creeping in. So, we started the last leg of the event by playing Antakshari in the TT to live every single moment of the day we were left with. Sachin mesmerized everyone of us with his Carnatic music skills and amazing voice. Ashok and Praveen were well versed with Kannada songs. Everyone was singing aloud in unison. This made two strong teams, with Vidyasagar ji and Sudhakar ji having command over Hindi and Kannada both (with complete lyrics). Commendable! On the way to Bangalore, we halted for a break at around 7.00pm and Madhu suggested a Dosa point around. It was a really delicious Masala Dosa with coconut chutney! Now it was time for Ravi’s feedback session. Everyone shared their views and suggestions to the organizer with more hidden stories about their previous trekking experiences, struggles and tricks to come to this trek. It was a great fun to have this in the end!
This trek, with like minded and easy going souls, was truly fun filled. It was one of the most comfortable and jovial groups I have ever trekked with! As this trek happened to be on 26th Jan, so I would love to call it the ‘Republic Day Exploratory Trek 2014’. Thank you Ravi for organizing this event and thank you everyone for making this an amazing trek to remember for life. Hope to see you in the future events! Stay safe and Keep trekking.
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Written by: Abhishek Guptha
Date: 25th & 26th Jan-2014
Composed by: Sana Mysore
Event organized by: Raveendra GN
The Crew: Sudhakar, Abhishek Gupta, madhu KB, Praveen, Abhilash, Vidyasager, Ashok G, Rekha G, Dathatreya S, Sachin Sogal, Karthik K Rao, Raveendra GN.